By the time you have reached this point in the book, you should have just completed a narrative psychological analysis of your own autobiography. Over the course of the next two chapters, we will be looking at further application of the narrative psychological method. In particular, we will focus on two of the main types of materials to which a narrative psychological style of analysis is most applicable. These include texts such as published autobiographies, biographies and diaries, and life-history-type interviews. More specifically, Chapter 6 shows how a narrative psychological approach can be used to analyse published autobiographical accounts such as those written by 'survivors' of childhood sexual abuse. Chapter 7 then goes on to show how the same approach can be used with interview material, in this case from interviews conducted with HIV-positive individuals.
Chapter 6 draws on previous research I have conducted in relation to autobiographical accounts of childhood sexual abuse written by female 'survivors' (see Davies 1995a). This research took place in the context of a rapidly proliferating collection of personal accounts of incestuous abuse and the need for testimony in relation to traumatic events more generally. Indeed, some authors such as Frank (1995: 71) have argued that this need to 'find one's own voice' is not just limited to traumatizing experiences, but that it is a feature characteristic of postmodern contemporary culture in which subordinated peoples (such as women, the working class, ethnic minorities, disabled people) have been 'written on from the outside' and have therefore 'lost their voices'. Hence, 'speaking in a voice recognisable as one's own becomes increasingly difficult', 'speech proliferates in search of that voice' and 'self stories proliferate' (Frank 1995: 71; see also Priest 1996).
One of the predominant themes in the literature of various kinds of trauma is the 'urge to bear witness', of the need for 'survivors' to testify to