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Appears in Collections:Faculty of Social Sciences eTheses
Title: Narratives of sexually abused women in reflexive therapy : intra-personal and public versions of self
Authors: Croll, Marie C.
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: This thesis examines the therapeutic narratives of sexually abused women. It is based on four in-depth case studies and my experience in counselling hundreds of other women. Two opening chapters outline the methodological and theoretical basis upon which these stories have come to be presented. These accounts unfold through a therapeutic facilitation which has been informed by feminist and narrative therapies, Jungian dream analysis, and a vast array of sexual abuse and related literature. My written translation of these experiences, on the other hand, has been shaped greatly by sociological argument. The foremost of these include feminist standpoint theory, reflexive transformation, and symbolic interaction. The bringing together of these fields serves to create two additional and sometimes conflicting voices - therapist and researcher - which are heard in and around the voices of my clients. The main body of the thesis develops, in storied form, clients' attempts to define and reintegrate themselves following sexual violations in light of a lack of self-authority, fears around voicing their trauma, fragmented memories, disassociation from their own language and symbolism, and a general sense of personal invalidity. In the face of these and other obstacles the therapeutically facilitated accounts bring to the fore unique and creative strategies for integrating these similarly dehumanizing experiences. Each narrative also speaks clearly of the need for a perspective outside of the client which will, in reflecting it back to her, hopefully disarm some of its horror for her and eventually allow it to be integrated by her. In addition, popular therapeutic discourse on sexual abuse has inadvertently served to silence many of my clients by removing them from this experience through a reconstruction of it for them in a theory and language that falls short of capturing its essence. These narrative reconstructions alternatively dispense with those and other descriptions of the client's trauma in favour of internally produced symbols and associations. Just as the sexual abuse narrative needs a discourse into which it can flow in order for it to be heard, it needs also to first be made right at the intra-personal level before it can be widely shared. Within the context of this thesis the therapist has mediated the client's story while the sociologist has sought and amplified its social significance.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation
Affiliation: School of Applied Social Science

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