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    ‘The English language enables me to visit my pain’. Exploring experiences of using a later-learned language in the healing journey of survivors of sexuality persecution

    Cook, Sally and Dewaele, Jean-Marc (2021) ‘The English language enables me to visit my pain’. Exploring experiences of using a later-learned language in the healing journey of survivors of sexuality persecution. International Journal of Bilingualism , ISSN 1367-0069. (In Press)

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    Abstract

    -Aims and Objectives: This qualitative study explores the experience of using a later-learned language, English (ELX), in the therapeutic journey of refugee survivors of sexuality persecution, to enhance understanding of the role of language in their rehabilitation. -Design/Methodology/Approach: This is a multiple case study of three refugees, persecuted in their home country because of their sexual orientation, who are regular attendees of a therapeutic community, Room to Heal, based in London. A qualitatively driven mixed-method research design using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) (Smith, 1996) and ethnography was employed. -Data and Analysis: Data were gathered through semi-structured interviews with the first author. They consisted of questions about the relationship between the participants’ languages, emotions and sense of self. - Findings/Conclusions: Participants shared common positive experiences characterised by feelings of the ELX being a liberating tool that empowered them and enabled them to bear witness to their trauma; express their same-sex love more easily; be more self-accepting and contributed to the [re]invention and performance of a ‘new’ self. - Originality: The originality resides, firstly, in the unique profile of the participants –victims of persecution because of their sexual orientation; secondly, in the unique context- a therapeutic community supporting refugees; and thirdly, in the methodology which adopts a qualitatively driven mixed-method design combining IPA and ethnography. - Significance/Implications: The findings support an embodied perspective of languages and highlight the need for therapists to be aware of multilingualism and its effects. The reduced emotional resonance of a later-learned language (LX) may offer its users a way to access trauma and build a new self within the therapeutic process.

    Metadata

    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: Reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Multilingualism, Therapeutic community, LGBTI, emotion, emotional resonance
    School: School of Arts > Languages, Cultures & Applied Linguistics (from 2021)
    Depositing User: Jean-Marc Dewaele
    Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2021 17:00
    Last Modified: 11 Dec 2021 01:10
    URI: https://eprints.bbk.ac.uk/id/eprint/46408

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