LEISURE CONNECTIONS AND HEALING FOLLOWING TRAUMA: CONSTRUCTIVIST AND EXISTENTIAL REFLECTIONS AND THEORIZING
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Trauma can have lasting effects on health (CAMH, 2010; DSM-IV, 1994; Lazarus, 1966), negatively influencing meanings and experiences of leisure in relation to health (Griffin, 2002, 2005; Meister & Pedlar, 1996). This interpretive grounded theory explored understandings of leisure during Leisure Connections and how Leisure Connections provides a context for healing from trauma. Data included observations, interviews with six participants, and reflection cards. Nine themes emerged: responding to trauma in leisure, letting go of familiar coping patterns and opening to joy, being in the moment of small steps and simple things, changing understandings of self, reconnecting with the body, shifting to internal motivation, choosing, reconnecting with others in leisure, balancing life with leisure, and growth and connections. Leisure Connections supported participants to explore leisure and its benefits as issues arise, to understand and respond differently. Leisure Connections provides boundary situations critical for existential growth and opportunity to change coping patterns.