Title

‘From the Edge of the Abyss to the Foot of the Rainbow’ – Narrating a Journey of Mental Health Recovery

Location

1049

Format Type

Paper

Format Type

Paper

Start Date

12-1-2017 3:40 PM

End Date

12-1-2017 5:00 PM

Abstract

Service users are continually asked to ‘tell their stories’ within clinical settings as a tool for diagnosis, formulation and treatment plans. There is little evidence that narrative development is used systematically within an NHS therapeutic setting.

Developing a personal narrative is one way of reframing and making sense of ‘the illness’ experience - integrating it with the identity and experiences of the individual ‘beyond the illness’. My research explores the process of developing a personal narrative and its possible contribution to mental health recovery.

My research uses a three-phased approach, where the emergent themes inform subsequent phases. Phase 1 involved developing and analyzing my recovery autoethnography. Phase 2 used Participatory Action Research. Co-researchers (who had developed their personal narratives) were recruited to focus groups to discuss their process. In Phase 3, we will develop a Personal Narrative workshop programme using the themes and issues generated in Phases 1 and 2.

My autoethnography is fundamental to my research. I wrote this version of my personal narrative as a set of 54 vignettes. A process diary was also written to capture my process.

Using extracts from my vignettes, I will:

Reflect on my process as a ‘wounded researcher’

  • It was a ‘visceral’ experience
  • Difficulties of developing an on-going narrative

Discuss the role and difficulties of ‘the voice of others’ in my/our narratives. Each vignette was based on something that was said to me - the starting point of each vignette was the ‘voice of another’ within my own narrative.

Share my emergent process. What I have learnt from my process that will be used in developing the personal narrative workshops.

Comments

I am a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Southampton. i am also a mental health trainer and consultant (local government, NHS, education and the Third Sector). I am also a mental health activist and a mental health survivor.

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Jan 12th, 3:40 PM Jan 12th, 5:00 PM

‘From the Edge of the Abyss to the Foot of the Rainbow’ – Narrating a Journey of Mental Health Recovery

1049

Service users are continually asked to ‘tell their stories’ within clinical settings as a tool for diagnosis, formulation and treatment plans. There is little evidence that narrative development is used systematically within an NHS therapeutic setting.

Developing a personal narrative is one way of reframing and making sense of ‘the illness’ experience - integrating it with the identity and experiences of the individual ‘beyond the illness’. My research explores the process of developing a personal narrative and its possible contribution to mental health recovery.

My research uses a three-phased approach, where the emergent themes inform subsequent phases. Phase 1 involved developing and analyzing my recovery autoethnography. Phase 2 used Participatory Action Research. Co-researchers (who had developed their personal narratives) were recruited to focus groups to discuss their process. In Phase 3, we will develop a Personal Narrative workshop programme using the themes and issues generated in Phases 1 and 2.

My autoethnography is fundamental to my research. I wrote this version of my personal narrative as a set of 54 vignettes. A process diary was also written to capture my process.

Using extracts from my vignettes, I will:

Reflect on my process as a ‘wounded researcher’

  • It was a ‘visceral’ experience
  • Difficulties of developing an on-going narrative

Discuss the role and difficulties of ‘the voice of others’ in my/our narratives. Each vignette was based on something that was said to me - the starting point of each vignette was the ‘voice of another’ within my own narrative.

Share my emergent process. What I have learnt from my process that will be used in developing the personal narrative workshops.