LUNCHTIME SEMINAR – 30TH MAY – KATRINA LONGHURST (UNIVERSITY OF LEEDS)

Katrina Longhurst

This paper discusses some of the opportunities and dilemmas inherent in co-produced autobiographical narratives of mental illness. It takes Lauren Slater’s second memoir Welcome to my Country as a case study to explore the ethical complexities of using other people’s stories as means by which to tell your own illness narrative. This text, reminiscent of Oliver Sacks’ The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, is a compilation of tales, each centred on the relationship between Slater, in her role as clinical psychologist, and a patient. Whilst each tale focuses on the experiences of a patient – in some cases a specific person and in others a composite entity – Slater argues that the text is a memoir on the basis that so much of her exploration of self emerges through the connections with another in the therapeutic encounter. This paper will think through the various implications of different versions of collaborative storying by drawing upon the concepts of relationality, encounter, reciprocity, and interdependence.

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