Narratives by survivors of abuse offer compelling entries into the experiences of abuse and its effects on health. Reading such stories can enlarge the clinician's understanding of the complexities of abuse. Furthermore, attention to narrative can enhance the therapeutic options for abuse victims not only in mental health arenas, but also in other medical contexts. In this article we define the genre of survivor narratives, examine one such narrative in particular (Push by Sapphire, 1996), and explore the clinical implications of narrative in abuse victims' clinical care.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Akhmatova, A. (1967). Poems of Akhmatova. (S. Kunitz & M. Hayward, Eds. and Trans.). Boston: Little, Brown.
Allison, D. (1993). Bastard out of Carolina. New York: Penguin.
Allison, D. (1995). Two or three things I know for sure. New York: Penguin.
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Adolescence. (2001). Care of the adolescent sexual assault victim (RE0067). Pediatrics, 107, 1476–1479.
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. (1999). Guidelines for the evaluation of sexual abuse of children: Subject review (RE9819). Pediatrics, 103, 186–191.
American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Hospital Care and Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. (1998). Medical necessity for the hospitalization of the abused and neglected child (RE9737). Pediatrics, 101, 715–716.
Brody, H. (1994). My story is broken, can you help me fix it? Medical ethics and the joint construction of narrative. Literature and Medicine, 13, 79–92.
Carter, M. A., & Robinson, S. S. (2001). A narrative approach to the clinical reasoning process in pediatric intensive care: The story of Matthew. Journal of Medical Humanities, 22, 173–194.
Charon, R. (2001). Narrative medicine: Form, function, and ethics. Annals of Internal Medicine, 134, 83–87.
Charon, R., Brody, H., Clark, M. W., Davis, D., Martinez, R., & Nelson, R. M. (1996). Literature and ethical medicine: Five cases from common practice. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 21, 243–265.
Cheung, K. M. (1997). Developing the interview protocol for video-recorded child sexual abuse investigations: A training experience with police officers, social workers, and clinical psychologists in Hong Kong. Child Abuse and Neglect, 21, 273–284.
Classen, C., Field, N. P., Atkinson, A., & Spiegel, D. (1998). Representations of self in women sexually abused in childhood. Child Abuse and Neglect, 22, 997–1004.
de Young, M., & Corbin, B. A. (1994). Helping early adolescents tell: A guided exercise for trauma-focused sexual abuse treatment groups. Child Welfare, 73(2), 141–154.
Douglass, F. (1995). Narrative of the life of Frederic Douglass. New York: Dover.
Draucker, C. B. (1998). Narrative therapy for women who have lived with violence. Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, 12(3), 162–168.
Erickson, M. J., Hill, T. D., & Siegel, R. M. (2001). Barriers to domestic violence screening the pediatric setting. Pediatrics, 108, 98–102.
Frawley-O'Dea, M. G. (1997). Transference paradigms at play in psychoanalytically oriented group therapy with female adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 47(4), 427–441.
Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum.
Hanson, R. F., Saunders, B., Kilpatrick, D., Resnick, H., Crouch, J. A., & Duncan, R. (2001). Impact of childhood rape and aggravated assault on adult mental health. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 71(1), 108–119.
Harrison, K. (1994). Exposure. New York: Warner.
Higgins, G. M. (1994). Resilient adults: Overcoming a cruel past. New York: Simon & Schuster.
Kakutani, M. (1996, June 14). A cruel world, endless until a teacher steps in. The New York Times (Weekend Desk). Retrieved October 31, 2001 from http://www.nytimes.com/
Kaplan, S. J., Labruna, V., Pelcovitz, D., Salzinger, S., Mandel, F., & Weiner, M. (1999). Physically abused adolescents: Behavior problems, functional impairment, and comparison of informants' reports. Pediatrics, 104, 43–49.
Klein, I., & Janoff-Bulman, R. (1996). Trauma history and personal narratives: Some clues to coping among survivors of child abuse. Child Abuse and Neglect, 20(1), 45–54.
Kozol, J. (1996). Amazing Grace: The lives of children and the conscience of a nation. New York: HarperPerennial Library.
Laird, S. (1998). Recapitulating? Philosophy of Education Society—Yearbook. Retrieved November 4, 2001 from http://www.ed.uiuc.edu/EPS/PES-Yearbook/1998/laird.html
Lawson, E. J. (1998). A narrative analysis: A black woman's perceptions of breast cancer risks and early breast cancer detection. Cancer Nursing, 21(6), 421–429.
Limbos, M. A. P., & Berkowitz, C. D. (1998). Documentation of child physical abuse: How far have we come? Pediatrics, 102, 53–58.
Macfie, J., Toth, S. L., Rogosch, F. A., Robinson, J., Emde, R. N., & Cicchetti, D. (1999). Effect of maltreatment on preschoolers' narrative representations of responses to relieve distress and of role reversal. Developmental Psychology, 35, 460–465.
McCourt, F. (1996). Angela's ashes. New York: Scribner.
Miller, L. (1996). Interview with Sapphire. Urban Desires, 2(4). Retrieved October 31, 2001 from http://desires.com/2.4/Word/Reviews/Docs/sapphire.html
Morgan, T., & Cummings, A. L. (1999). Change experienced during group therapy by female survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67(1), 28–36.
Morrison, T. (1994). The bluest eye. New York: Penguin.
Orbach, Y., & Lamb, M. E. (2000). Enhancing children's narrative in investigative interviews. Child Abuse and Neglect, 24, 1631–1648.
Parker, P. (1999). Movement in black. Ithaca, NY: Firebrand.
Penn, P., & Frankfurt, M. (1994). Creating a participant text: Writing, multiple voices, narrative multiplicity. Family Process, 33, 217–231.
Quindlen, A. (1999). Black and blue. New York: Dell.
Rich, M., Lamola, S., Amory, C., & Schneider, L. (2000). Asthma in life context: Video intervention/prevention assessment (VIA). Pediatrics, 105, 469–477.
Sacks, O. (1973, 1990). Awakenings. New York: HarperCollins.
Sacks, O. (1983). The origin of Awakenings. BMJ, 287(6409), 1968–1969.
Sacks, O. (1993). Narrative and medicine. The Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine, 60(2), 127–131.
Sapphire. (1996). Push. New York: Random House.
Siegel, R. M., Hill, T. D., Henderson, V. A., Ernst, H. M., & Boat, B. W. (1999). Screening for domestic violence in the community pediatric setting. Pediatrics, 104, 874–877.
Smyth, J. M., Stone, A. A., Hurewitz, A., & Kaell, A. (1999). Effects of writing about stressful experiences on symptom reduction in patients with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized trial. JAMA, 281, 1304–1309.
Spiegel, D. (1999). Healing words: Emotional expression and disease outcome. JAMA, 281, 1328–1329.
Toth, S. L., Cicchetti, D., Macfie, J., Rogosch, F. A., & Maughan, A. (2000). Narrative representations of moral-affiliative and conflictual themes and behavioral problems in maltreated preschoolers. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 29, 307–318.
Truth, S., & Gilbert, O. (1997). The narrative of Sojourner Truth. New York: Dover.
Tyson, A. A., & Goodman, M. (1996). Group therapy for adult women who experienced childhood sexual trauma: Is telling the story enough? International Journal of Group Psychotherapy, 46, 535–542.
van der Kolk, B. A., Pelcovitz, D., Roth, S., Mandel, F. S., McFarlane, A., & Herman, J. L. (1996). Dissociation, somatization, and affect dysregulation: The complexity of adaptation of trauma. American Journal of Psychiatry, 153(7), 83–93.
Vanzant, I. (2000). Yesterday I cried: Celebrating the lessons of living and loving. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Weingarten, K., & Cobb, S. (1995). Timing disclosure sessions: Adding a narrative perspective to clinical work with adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Family Process, 34, 257–269.
Willie, C. (Ed.). (1995). Mental health, racism, and sexism. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Wright, R. J., Wright, R. O., & Isaac, N. E. (1997). Response to battered mothers in the pediatric emergency department: A call for an interdisciplinary approach to family violence. Pediatrics, 99, 186–192.
About this article
Cite this article
Bhuvaneswar, C., Shafer, A. Survivor of That Time, That Place: Clinical Uses of Violence Survivors' Narratives. Journal of Medical Humanities 25, 109–127 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOMH.0000023175.21955.dc
- survivor stories
- narrative therapy
- pediatric sexual abuse