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Exophoric References for Personal Recovery: Insights from Linguistics and Medical Practitioners
Ooi Zao May and Sridevi Sriniwass
Since the early 20th century, there has been a growth in medical genre transitioning from the earlier forms of anonymous accounts to the contemporary, deeply personal forms of authentic narratives. The main objective of the current study is to extend mental health literacy for informing narrative- based interventions by bringing together the insights from linguistics and medical practitioners in treating mental health memoirs as the object of investigation. Previous research has shown that personal recovery experiences which were recreated in various contexts were investigated through various methods. There is a lack of research concerning personal recovery experiences focusing on the use of exophoric references in building meaning relations. There is a need for a deeper understanding of language as a resource in the process of making meaning for personal recovery. A linguistic study is deemed useful to bring out the structure of referential chains in the construction of texts. It can inform us about participant identification in personal recovery narratives. Hence, the current study examined narrative memoirs of medical practitioners. The methodology of text linguistics along with the theoretical framework of Martin’s (1992) Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) theory of referential cohesion was used to investigate Recovery-Oriented Narrative (RON) discourse which contains representational practices from the perspectives of practitioners. The purpose of investigation was to unravel the shaping of narrative identities afforded by the realisation of participants. The results show the sharing of perspectives, the generalisation and the cultivation of personalised connections. The results also show a culture of inclusivity for personal recovery. This discourse contributes to the discursive resources for mental health support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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