Author

Julie Irvin

Date of Award

Spring 2003

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Rhetoric & Comm Studies

Abstract

Under the premise that human beings are natural storytellers, narratives are an essential part of our lives and the way we shape and form our stories impacts our daily activities. When life struggles transpire, we typically make sense of our world through narratives, which is why therapists sometimes draw upon narrative therapy. By exploring different types of narratives-the basic genre of a life-story, testimonio, literary narrative, ethnography, and auto-ethnography-the mode that presents itself as a viable means of intrapersonal communication, possibly producing change, is auto-ethnography. Examining the need for narrative within the conditions of eating disorders, the question arises as to how auto-ethnography can be used to help produce change. Through examining the different ways to "tell" a story, the present understanding of eating disorders, and the beliefthat narrative can be therapeutic, it will be depicted that writing and/or reading a type of narrative, specifically auto-ethnography, can be therapeutic as well as communicative, thereby leading to personal change.

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