Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Written in scars : stories of recovery from self harm
Author: Shaverin, Lisa
ISNI:       0000 0004 2738 6257
Awarding Body: University of Hertfordshire
Current Institution: University of Hertfordshire
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This study sought to hear the narratives of individuals that have recovered from self-harming, with the intention of bearing witness to both the narratives and remaining scars in order to better understand and inform clinical practice. A purposive sample of seven individuals was recruited. Participants were asked to photograph their scars and bring them to an interview. Narratives were generated and explored through a relatively unstructured individual interview. Both the images and narratives were analysed using a narrative approach exploring content, performance and structural aspects, emphasising researcher reflexivity throughout. Findings were understood through psychoanalytic theory and highlighted a theme of validation and ‘being seen’, evidenced in stories of past invalidation that had been internalised into the self-structure and defended against by presenting a ‘defended’ self. Self-harm enabled this ‘unseen self’ to be expressed, validated and contained. Recovery was storied in terms of internalising experiences of validation, which enabled integration of the invalidated parts of the self. Many of the participants highlighted how their scars told a story of discovery; of becoming, coping and surviving. In the healing of scars this recovery is evident, but they may also continue to convey the unseen and unspoken experiences of pain, incoherence and invalidation. Self-harm and remaining scars may be understood as connecting, containing and re-embodying the internalised invalidation and ‘unseen’ aspects of the self. These findings are discussed with reference to the clinical implications, strengths and limitations of the methodology and directions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: self-harm ; self-injury ; deliberate self harm ; narrative analysis ; visual analysis ; recovery ; scars ; validation ; being seen ; embodiment ; containment ; internalised invalidation ; recovery narrative