Traces of Traumatizations in Narrative Interviews

Ulrike Loch


Traumatic childhood experiences often lead to the development of dissociation as a defense mechanism, and subsequently to fragmented memories. In narrative interviews this fragmentation is traced in the expressive field of language. In this article a range of case studies are used to illustrate how dissociations, resulting from traumatic experiences in the past as well as the present, may express themselves and how we, as interviewers, can give support to the client in interview situations. Only by understanding the inconsistencies caused by these traumatic experiences, interviewees are able to tell their life histories beyond the collectively effective taboos. By becoming aware of these mechanisms, the researcher can steer clear of reproducing the socially relevant silencing effects, i.e. denial processes, within the context of social scientific research.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0801544


narrative interview; trauma; dissociation; sexualized violence; taboo

Copyright (c) 2008 Ulrike Loch

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