Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Edward Bennett

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


The following document details the intellectual and emotional journey I embarked on when I chose to cross the subject-object divide by exploring a phenomenon with which I had direct lived experience. Incorporating feminist multiple interviewing techniques, participatory action learning. and critical autobiography. I sought to examine what it means to be the adult daughter of a woman who has been labelled and treated by the psychiatric profession (i.e., who has been psychiatrized). I begin with an exploration of the “phenomenon” as it is presented in the literature. To orient the reader I offer a description of what I believe are the prevailing and competing paradigms available to conceptualize human health and well being. I then explore the literature specifically addressing the children of people diagnosed and treated within the psychiatric system, with reference to how the research reflects dominant and marginal paradigms in health. The theoretical framework that I drew upon to understand and construct this thesis incorporates aspects of critical social science theory, feminist positionality, theoretical autobiography, and research for social justice. Underlying this “non-unitary" framework is the assumption that all knowledge is situated, partial, and constructed and that the “knowledge creation enterprise” should be aimed at providing space for the articulation and legitimization of marginalized voices. Qualitative and inductive methods privileging the voices of participants were deemed to be the most effective means by which to bring marginalized voices to the foreground. Case-studies. or individual stories form the basis of the research findings, as I offer a series of six personal stories from young women whose mothers have been psychiatrized. These stories are organized to emphasize the chronology of the women’s experiences, their interpretations of those experiences, and the role of their interpretations played in influencing their future choices, self-concept, and behaviour. Seeking to situate the participants’ experiences in the larger social and political context, I also present a detailed cross-case analysis and interpretation of findings incorporating a feminist and anti-oppression perspective. Based on the rich and detailed information that was generated by this project, I developed a model to guide what I call “conscious living.” It offers some conceptual tools for understanding the relationship between individual health and well being and the larger environmental context (i.e., broadly defined). Moreover, within this guide I offer the reader suggestions for intervention at multiple levels within the social ecology. The values, visions, and practice of Community Psychology figure prominently in the guide that I offer.

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