Beyond the text : voices of self in aphasia : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
This thesis is about the stories people with aphasia tell about self and identity. it is also a story about the process of research with people with aphasia. It is about narrative and self-construction and it is in itself a narrative. While there has been much discussion about the need for interventions which take into account self and identity in aphasia and innovative pioneering work on therapies addressing identity, there is, however, still little specific reported research in aphasiology that addresses these issues. This applied project sought to further understand the impact of aphasia on the construction of self by exploring self and identity using a narrative approach and using a more participatory approach to research. It was grounded in narrative and relational theory and this led to exploring self and identity through life stories. Eight people with aphasia took part in a life story interview. These were analysed using the voice centred relational method which culminated in eight interpretive narratives. The main findings of this qualitative inquiry were support for the notion that biographical disruption is not the only response to aphasia, support for a relational approach to self and identity and support for inclusive research practices in aphasia research. The strengths and limitations of the project were examined and implications for research and practice were developed.