A Qualitative Exploration of Facilitators' Experiences of Using the Tree of Life Methodology within Global Community Contexts
The Tree of Life methodology (ToL) is a Collective Narrative Practice developed to support communities to respond to collective hardships and trauma from a place of strength. In seeking more culturally-appropriate, localised, community-centred approaches towards global mental health provision, ToL has great potential. However, whilst there is a growing knowledge base regarding ToL, there is a sparsity of empirical literature. In particular, little is known about what leads practitioners to use ToL and how they experience the possibilities of its use in community contexts, both important knowledge(s) to support the understanding, deconstruction, improvement and future uptake of the methodology. Using semi-structured interviews, this inquiry sought the experiences of 19 practitioners, who work(ed) across 16 different countries using ToL in community contexts. The inquiry aimed, specifically, to understand the personal and professional impact of this work, the opportunities and challenges afforded by ToL, whether the practice differs from other practices, and what leads people to use ToL within community contexts. A Reflexive Thematic Analysis of the conversations with practitioners constructed three main themes: ‘Encountering Possibility’, ‘A Contrasting Way of Being and Doing’, and ‘Shared Humanity’. Eleven respective sub-themes were constructed, and together the analysis told a story that practitioners experience the methodology as one of ‘possibility’, different to other approaches in the way practitioners are able to work and be alongside others, sharing their stories in an authentic way and contributing to a joint humanity that leads to both connection and action. Implications for practitioners, the continued use of ToL, clinical psychology and the wider context were outlined. A critical appraisal and several possibilities for future inquiry were presented.
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