Participants’ Reflections on Participating in the Mmogo-method: The Example of Mental Health Workers’ Coping Strategies
When using the Mmgo-method, researchers create context for optimal and active participation by introducing group norms. Following an open-ended prompt, participants use unstructured materials to create visual representations, which serve to stimulate individual and group discussions. The unstructured nature of the materials and the non-directive prompt may elicit personal and group experiences of which participants may not be aware. They are therefore invited on completion of data collection to reflect on their participatory experience for debriefing purposes (Phase 4). This chapter describes mental health workers’ reflections after taking part in a study using the Mmogo-method to explore coping strategies they applied in their occupation of dealing continuously with children (younger than 18) suffering severe abuse. Mental health workers (MHWs) (9 females and 1 male, aged from 26 to 57 years) were purposively selected. All participants are employed at Childline Gauteng, a non-governmental organization (NGO) which supports traumatized children in South Africa. The participants reflected on the research context, which they experienced as supportive, and on the research process, which they compared to a therapeutic experience. They became aware of their coping strategies, rediscovered previously acquired knowledge and indicated how they would henceforth adapt their behaviour to their social environment, thereby suggesting the potentially transformative value of the Mmogo-method. Participants’ reflections referred to the value of the group as a supportive interpersonal environment which contributed to new awareness and broke their isolation. Specific aspects relating to the material were mentioned, particularly how working with clay contributed to relaxation and maintaining the focus on the research topic.
KeywordsAwareness Coping strategies Group processes Interpersonal relationships Mmogo-method Visual data-collection method Transformative Trauma Stress
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