Doctor of Philosophy
School of Psychology
Narrative identity reconstruction is complex and a key process in mental health recovery. Recovery processes are individual and nonlinear with unique developmental pathways that characterise this human adaptive growth. The nonlinear dynamic change processes are the least-understood aspects of recovery and the most difficult to harness in recovery-oriented healthcare. A need exists for novel approaches that focus on investigating those processes. As a nonlinear phenomenon, narrative identity reconstruction is suited to investigation from a complex adaptive system (CAS) perspective. The purpose of this thesis is to explore participants’ narrative identity reconstruction as part of their mental health recovery, using a CAS perspective. This research project was guided by a constructivist (interpretive) research paradigm. It uses a conceptual framework that is informed by CAS, the life story model of identity (LSMI), intentional change theory (ICT), and the hero’s journey. These are integrated into a narrative coaching approach. A two-study, exploratory mixed methods design was used to generate knowledge regarding participants’ narrative identity reconstruction in recovery. In Study 1 interviews examined the recovery stories of 17 mental health peer workers in order to qualitatively explore the main elements of their narrative identity reconstruction in recovery. Participants’ self-mastery (as part of personal agency), especially at redemptive story turning points, was found to be a crucial aspect of their narrative identity reconstruction. In Study 2, the findings from Study 1 were operationalised in a narrative coaching serious boardgame designed to improve participants’ sense of self-mastery as a part of narrative identity reconstruction.
Kerr, Douglas John Rennox, The Reconstruction of Narrative Identity in Mental Health Recovery: A Complex Adaptive System Approach, Doctor of Philosophy thesis, School of Psychology, University of Wollongong, 2019. https://ro.uow.edu.au/theses1/824
Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.