Publication Date

Summer 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Kristen L. Cole; Deanna L. Fassett; Matthew Spangler


agency;autoethnography;embodiment;health communication;trauma narrative


Defining and naming trauma is a layered and nuanced process but hegemonic medical and media discourses have forced trauma into a system of binary terms and categories. This study begins with an exploration of how hegemonic discourses define trauma and how focusing on embodied trauma disrupts the limiting language presently available. I use Lisa Blackman’s (2008) work on embodiment to explore how our bodies move, take on, and shed trauma as a form of disruption to oppressive language. Blackman’s theory is used to examine my own embodied trauma through a critical autoethnography using prose and narrative I developed in narrative therapy. Through this exploration, I argue that medical care should move away from measurability and instead focus more on facilitating patient agency through conversation. Keywords: trauma narrative, embodiment, autoethnography, agency, health communication TW: Discussion of sexual assault; medical trauma; abuse; substance use.

Included in

Communication Commons