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Making sense of self-injury: A pluralistic case-study

Josselin, D. and Willig, C. (2015). Making sense of self-injury: A pluralistic case-study. Counselling Psychology Review, 30(4), pp. 5-15.

Abstract

Aims: Self-injury is widely seen as a complex behaviour imbued with highly individual meanings. The objective of this paper was to show how research using a pluralistic qualitative approach could inform clinical practice, by outlining how intricate and at times divergent meanings could be attached to the behaviour in the areas of control, guilt and relatedness.

Method: A set of three interviews conducted with a woman with a long history of self-injury were analysed using three different interpretative lenses: interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), narrative analysis, and a psychosocial approach.

Findings: Combining different interpretations of the text brought out the participant’s multifaceted understanding of control, guilt and social connection in relation to her selfinjuring. The behaviour could be seen as a means of control and a sign that one was out of control; as inducing guilt but not responsibility; as a mode of communication steeped in disconnection.

Conclusion: While adhering to a recognised therapeutic model of the behaviour might be of considerable value to the practitioner, there is much to be gained from a careful exploration of the multiple and at times contradictory meanings attached to self-injury by each individual client.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a pre-publication version of the following article: Josselin, D. & Willig, C. (2015). Making sense of self-injury: A pluralistic case-study. Counselling Psychology Review, 30(4), pp.5-15.
Publisher Keywords: self-injury; meaning-making; qualitative pluralism
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > Psychology
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/12890
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