“Rememory” and meaning: the narrative of a mother giving birth to her own subjective identity through weblog writing

Pages 84-94 | Received 16 May 2016, Accepted 11 Jul 2016, Published online: 15 Dec 2016

The narratives of mothers are usually not expressed through cultural and national memories. In addition, the psychological theories insist on defining motherhood and subjectivity from the point of view of the developing child. The term “subjective motherhood” enables us to attempt to describe and theorize maternal subjectivity in this complicated and contradictory sense. The aim of this research is to create a wide enough concept of motherhood subjectivity in order to contain the motherhood experience as a process of creating identity and meaning. The blog “this is the way I am” is the room of Pema, a 49 year old Israeli mother and the author of a weblog. The written narratives in her blog reflect the dialogue between the mental dimensions of rememory and meaning. Through the writing process, Pema is giving narrative birth to her subjective identity as a mother. Writing a blog gave Pema the most precious thing she owns, the story of her subjectivity.

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Unravelling the written word: Expressive Writing, narratives and Counselling Psychology

http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/13840/1/Pavlides%2C%20R.%20%28redacted%29.pdf

 

There is a growing body of evidence supporting the use of Pennebaker’s ‘Expressive Writing’ paradigm as an adjunct to psychological therapy or as a self-help therapeutic intervention. Research, thus far, has predominantly focused on measuring, explaining and analysing the effects of ‘Expressive Writing’ as a therapeutic intervention through randomised controlled trials, paying little attention to the subjective experience of the individuals and the types of narratives people write. This doctoral research approaches ‘Expressive Writing’ from a narrative perspective, which argues that individuals construct their sense of self and create meaning of their own lives through the use of narratives. The aim of this thesis is to explore how people construct their sense of self through ‘Expressive Writing’. Following an adapted version of Pennebaker’s ‘Expressive Writing’ guidelines, six participants were asked to spend 50 to 60 minutes writing about an emotional life-changing event and then share their stories, and their experience of writing about their stories, in an hour-long interview. The study used qualitative methods of inquiry, namely narrative analyses to explore the process of the construction of sense of self in both the written and oral narratives. The emerged findings point to the natural tendency of people to write in a narrative form using culturally available narratives and highlight the dialogical nature of the intervention. Findings are discussed in terms of implications for Counselling Psychology practice, their contribution to theory, and suggestions for future research. Overall, this thesis suggests that Expressive Writing could be a valuable addition to Counselling Psychology practice, when used in line with the ethos and values of Counselling Psychology.