Women's Stories of Emotional Distress, Relational Experiences and Sense-making : Listening in a Different Way

Pettitt, Alice and Hodge, Suzanne and Proctor, Gillian (2018) Women's Stories of Emotional Distress, Relational Experiences and Sense-making : Listening in a Different Way. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

[thumbnail of 2017PettittDClinPsy]
PDF (2017PettittDClinPsy)
2017PettittDClinPsy.pdf - Published Version

Download (1MB)


A meta-synthesis was conducted to examine the impact of maternal mental health difficulties on the mother-daughter relationship. Nine studies were synthesised which resulted in the development of seven themes. The findings indicated the ways in which maternal mental health difficulties can disrupt the attachment relationship between mother and child. Contextual factors relating to shame, discrimination and marginalisation were also identified, but did not appear to hold the same prominence in the women’s stories. As part of the discussion, the author considered how societal expectations about the roles of mothers and daughters might have affected the participants’ experience of relating to their mother. The research project explored the voices of women who have received a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder (BPD). The voice centred relational method (VRM) was used to listen to the many different and co-existing voices the women used to describe their experiences of distress and the ways in which they made sense of it. The ten voices identified highlighted complex relational dynamics linking to power, blame and shame at an individual and systemic level. Suggestions were made for resistance at both a practice and political level, to challenge the abuse of power and the oppressive practices that continue to silence women by invalidating the multiple ways in which they understand their life experiences. Finally, the critical appraisal considered the role of power and reflexivity within the research project. The author reflected on the ways in which conducting this project and engaging in these issues had shaped her current clinical practice.

Item Type:
Thesis (PhD)
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
17 Aug 2017 09:04
Last Modified:
21 Feb 2024 00:20