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"A reluctant Odysseus” An auto-ethnographic exploration of working with asylum seekers living in direct provision

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posted on 2013-07-23, 13:45 authored by Sara Kerwin
Background: An Asylum Seeker is defined as a person seeking refugee status. In Ireland, Asylum Seekers spend between three and eight years living in Direct Provision awaiting this status. Direct Provision provides food and shelter but limits occupational choice. Social policy and health research studies have highlighted the impropriety and multiple challenges faced by Asylum Seekers living there. Persistent denial of opportunities to engage in meaningful and necessary occupations is termed occupational deprivation. Objectives: To explore the experiences of an occupational therapy student during her participation in an occupation based intervention with Asylum Seekers living in Direct Provision. Methods: Auto-ethnography was used to explore the subjective experiences of the student. Her experience is the focus of the research. Journals, self reflections, field notes, semi structured interviews; physical and textual artefacts were gathered, discussed and critiqued by the student for thematic analysis. Results: Four themes emerged: peaks and troughs; an occupational kaleidoscope; growing; and a new lens. The experience was a transformational journey that involved many emotions and challenges but brought awareness and positive change to the student. Auto-ethnography enhanced the student’s reflective practice and understanding of occupation. Conclusions: Occupational Therapists are expertly equipped to advocate for Asylum Seekers in local and political arenas. Auto-ethnography can provide rich insights to the understanding of occupation and should be incorporated into the MSc programme to link fieldwork experience to course work.

History

Degree

  • Master (Research)

First supervisor

Robinson, Katie

Note

non-peer-reviewed

Language

English

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