When the Foundations of Life have been Upset…. An Integrated Clinical and Experimental Study with Refugees and Asylum Seekers
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Research Unit in Clinical Psychology
University of Luxembourg Research Unit LSF
Submission date: 2013-04-02
Acceptance date: 2013-05-27
Publication date: 2013-06-25
Corresponding author
Lony Schiltz   

Research Unit in Clinical Psychology, 10 Rue Gabriel de Marie, L-2131 Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Arch Psych Psych 2013;15(2):53-62
Aim of the study:
Recent research results in clinical psychology, health psychology and neurobiology underline the relationship between dissociative states, complex posttraumatic syndromes and borderline functioning . Our study is meant to investigate the traumatic hypothesis of borderline functioning and to develop appropriate psychotherapeutic measures based on artistic mediations.

Subject or material and methods:
We undertook an integrated clinical and experimental study with a sample of 73 refugees and asylum seekers. In a second stage, those who suffered from PTSD or complex post-traumatic states were offered to attend arts psychotherapeutic sessions.. We combined a semi-structured biographical interview, a projective test, i.e. the Sentences Completion Test , for which we developed a new manner of interpretation , and psychometric scales, i.e. the HADS and the Index of Wellbeing . Furthermore, we analysed the artistic production with the help of original rating scales .

With the help of non parametric multidimensional statistics, we extracted two profiles of personality functioning, linked either to repeated breaks, negligence and maltreatment from the beginning of life, or either to a recent external catastrophe, interrupting a continuous life course. Through the evaluation of the arts therapeutic sessions, we could note the first signs of resumption of the blocked process of subjectivation.

The results of the study support the traumatogenic hypothesis of borderline functioning, as well as current clinical considerations concerning the defensive role of dissociation in complex posttraumatic states.

The study opens tracks for future research concerning an in depth investigation of the arts therapeutic process with traumatized people.

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