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Title: Psychogenic Illness in Refugee Women: Exploring Their Experiences and Perceptions
Other Titles: Psychogenic Illness in Refugee Women
Authors: Al-Omari, Deemah
Keywords: IPA
Psychogenic illness
Issue Date: 28-Jun-2023
Abstract: This paper is a qualitative study investigating four refugee women’s experiences of psychogenic illness, and their perceptions of their experiences, using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA; Smith, Flowers, & Larkin, 2009). The four participants consist of Afghan and African refugee women in Greece, and have reported psychogenic symptoms. The women are all current or former participants at Melissa Network, a community-based organization for refugee and migrant women in Greece. The goal of this paper is to humanize the participants’ stories, capture the essence of each woman’s experience, identify possible culture-bound beliefs, and to use their stories collectively in order to identify shared patterns of meaning. Factors that alleviate the women’s psychogenic symptoms and help them build resilience are explored. Results yielded three themes: Experiences of Trauma, The Mind and Body, “Like Brother and Sister’, and Finding Sanctuary. The first theme focuses on how the women experience, define and make sense of trauma. The second theme explores how the women perceive the mind-body connection, their symptoms, and relevant cultural beliefs. The third theme is dedicated to what helps; their experiences with psychological support, and how they found sanctuary – an environment where they can process unresolved trauma and address their psychogenic symptoms. The findings of this paper shed light on the significance of context, and how a contextual approach is vital to understanding refugees’ experiences.
Appears in Collections:Program in Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy

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