Posttraumatic growth as a discursive resource for managing identity after breast cancer : implications for theory, and counselling psychology practice

Hitchins, Jennifer Marie (2015) Posttraumatic growth as a discursive resource for managing identity after breast cancer : implications for theory, and counselling psychology practice. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.

Jennie Hitchins - DProf Full Thesis.pdf - Accepted Version

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Abstract / Description

Previous research conceptualises posttraumatic growth (PTG) as a phenomenon experienced by some people after breast cancer. In this thesis, I consider an alternative understanding of PTG; as discursive identity performance in the context of breast cancer survivorship. First, a critical review of literature on PTG after cancer is presented, with attention to rigour and methodological diversity and also with regard to the fit between existing research and counselling psychology values. It is concluded that much of the existing research is framed within a realist perspective, and accordingly, accounts of PTG are viewed as stable internal beliefs rather than socially constructed ways of managing identity. The social context in which survivorship occurs has not been adequately explored and there is a paucity of work from within the UK, and especially from amongst counselling psychologists, who, arguably, have a significant contribution to make within the psycho-oncology arena. An area for research is marked out, from the epistemological position of social construction, to explore women's accounts of life after cancer, and how they orient to and make use of PTG in this context. Following consideration of the approach taken (a synthesis of two forms of discourse analysis), I present my research with four women who were interviewed about their experiences of life after breast cancer. The analysis highlights the fine grained features of the women's talk as they manage their post-cancer identities discursively negotiating the social and moral obligation to survive well. A number of discourses, including the ‘PTG discourse’ are drawn upon, making a number of subject positions available. Notably, the PTG discourse closes down talk of troubles. Implications for theory, and for counselling psychology practice within psycho-oncology, are discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: counselling psychology practice; breast cancer; breast cancer patients; posttraumatic growth; post-traumatic growth; PTG
Subjects: 600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
Department: School of Social Sciences (to June 2021)
School of Social Sciences and Professions
Depositing User: Mary Burslem
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2015 08:51
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2021 16:03


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