‘Do you know why you’re here?’: Obstetric framings of large pregnant bodies

“Discourse and Health Research Group” 9th April 2018, School of Health in Social Science, University of Edinburgh

Sue Chowdhry Ph.D Nursing Student presents her research on ‘Do you know why you’re here?’: Obstetric framings of large pregnant bodies


‘Do you know why you’re here?’: Obstetric framings of large pregnant bodies In this presentation I discuss some of the findings from my PhD study investigating maternal healthcare in the context of maternal obesity discourse. In Western societies, medical and cultural representations of people labelled as ‘obese’ have been implicated in the Othering of larger people (Puhl & Heuer, 2009). Larger women’s pregnancies are labelled as ‘high-risk’ pregnancies, and consequently, involve higher levels of medicalisation than ‘low-risk’ pregnancies. Obstetricians therefore, play a significant role in the medical governance of larger women’s pregnancies; and yet, there is a gap in knowledge about how they construct this aspect of their work. The research findings I present are based on interviews with five Scottish obstetricians about their management of larger women’s pregnancies. The research data was analysed using a narrative structural approach to examine the ways obstetricians, obstetric practices, and larger women were framed in the stories obstetricians told about this aspect of their work. The findings provide a context for further discussion with which to examine the Othering of larger women in the context of maternal obesity policy: providing a focus on which to improve maternal healthcare experience, and a context for further examination of the medical management of larger women’s pregnancies in the context of neoliberal public health policy and anti-obesity discourse.

Dr Anneke Sools

Affiliation: University of Twente

Anneke Sools is Assistant Professor at the department of Psychology, Health and Technology at the University of Twente (Enschede, The Netherlands). She is also Program Director of the Storylab (Dutch expert centre in the area of narrative psychology, health, and technology connected to the University of Twente). Sools is the recipient of the 2018 Early Career Award from AERA (American Educational Research Association) Narrative SIG (Special Interest Group). Her PhD dissertation at the University of Humanistic Studies in Utrecht concerned narrative research methodology in the context of health promotion. She received a MSc Degree in Psychology of Culture and Religion from the University of Nijmegen. Her MSc thesis was awarded the Professor Halkes Thesis Award in 2001. For some years she has been a member of the advisory board of the Centre for Narrative Research (University of East London) and a member of the science committee of the international conference Narrative Matters. In 2010 she founded the Network for Narrative Research Netherlands together with Floor Basten from Campus Orléon. Her current research focuses on the construction of alternative future stories in the face of uncertainty, precarity, and possibility-reducting circumstances.

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Dr Sofie Bager-Charleson

Affiliation: Metanoia Institute

Sofie Bager-Charleson is a Senior Fellow and the Director of Studies (Management) on the MPhil/PhD in Psychotherapy at Metanoia Institute. She has published widely in the field of research reflexivity, including the text book Practice-based Research in Therapy: A Reflexive Approach (Sage, 2014). She is the founder of the Metanoia Research Academy, and the cofounder of IMPACT, a research network at the Metanoia Institute aimed to encourage the generation and exchange of ideas and knowledge within and beyond the Institute. Sofie also practises as a UKCP and BACP registered psychotherapist and supervisor, with a PhD in narrative research into family attachment (Lund University, Sweden). Some of her recent publications are:

Bager-Charleson, S., du Plock, S., McBeath, A (2018 in press) “Therapists have a lot to add to the field of research, but many don’t make it there”. A narrative thematic inquiry into counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ embodied engagement with research. Journal for Language and Psychoanalysis, 7 2018
Bager-Charleson, S., Dewaele, J., Costa, B. & Kasap, Z. (2017) A Multilingual Outlook: Can Awarness-Raising about Multilingualism Affect Therapists’ Practice? A Mixed-Method Evaluation. Language and Psychoanalysis, 2017, 6 (2), 56-75.
Bager-Charleson & Kasap, Z. (2017a) Embodied Situatedness and Emotional Entanglement in Research. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 190– 200.
Bager-Charleson, S. (2017b) Countertransference in Research: An intersubjective reflexive approach. In Valeri, P. Introduction to Countertransference in Therapeutic Practice: A Myriad of Mirrors pp. 167-185.
Bager-Charleson, S. (2015) Relational reflexivity in therapy-based research’, In Goss, S. and Stevens, C. Making Research Matter. London: Routledge
Bager-Charleson, S. (2014) Practice-based research in therapy – a reflexive approach. London: Sage

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Email: sofie.bager-charleson@metanoia.ac.uk

Dr Sylvia Jaworska

Affiliation: University of Reading

Dr Sylvia Jaworska is an Associate Professor in Applied Linguistics at the Department of English Language and Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading. She is interested in contemporary discourses around health and illness, also in context of food communication and parenting, and explores those areas using linguistic methodologies including corpus linguistics, discourse and narrative analysis. She has published work on discourses of perinatal health and postnatal depression across medical, media and lay contexts as well as pain narratives (please see her publications here). Currently, Sylvia is involved in an interdisciplinary project on the multimodality, perception and understanding of health claims on food packing.

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“Language and Psychotherapy – Knowledge Transfer Group”

We will be hosting a series of seminars relevant to the topic of language in psychotherapy and patient-centred communication. The aims of the seminars are to transfer knowledge that complements the development of professionals (e.g., academics, practitioners and post-graduate students) working in the field of counselling, psychotherapy, clinical psychology, nursing, psychology, education and other disciplines with an interest in the use of language in therapy and patient-centred communication. The seminars will be also reaching out to NHS staff and therapists working across all three sectors: voluntary, statutory and private.

The seminars will encourage collaborative work and the development of skills for language-based psychotherapy research, and also to develop greater awareness of person-centred communicative processes within the psychotherapeutic context.

ALL ARE WELCOME but spaces are limited. Please contact laura.cariola@ed.ac.uk to reserve your place for the KE seminars. All seminars will take place at the University of Edinburgh, School of Health in Social Science, Teviot Place, Old Medical School, Doorway 6, Edinburgh EH8 9AG.

10th November 3-5pm, Room 4.01 “Second-language use in psychotherapy” by Dr. Lorena Georgiadou

19th December 3-5pm, Room 4.01 “Subjectivity in psychotherapy from a perspective of enlightenment and critical rationalism” by Prof. Matthias Schwannauer

 24th January 2-4pm, Room 4.01 “Power and narratives in psychotherapy” by Mr. Seamus Prior

16th February 4.30-5.45pm, Room 4.01 “Autoethnography: a ‘close up’ research approach” Dr. Jonathan Wyatt

 9th March 3-5pm, Room 4.01 “Phenomenology and minority experiences” by Dr. Billy Lee

 6th April, 3-5pm Room 4.01 “Metaphors in psychotherapy” by Dr. Laura A. Cariola

See you at the seminars!

Funded by the Researcher-Led Initiative Fund


Prof Michael Buchholz

Michael Buchholz

Affiliation : International Psychoanalytic University Berlin

Prof. Dr. Michael B. Buchholz, Dipl.-Psych., Professor for Social Psychology at the International Psychoanalytic University (IPU), Berlin (Germany), head of the Dissertation Program at IPU. PhD in Psychoanalysis 1980 (Frankfurt), Habilitation in Social Sciences 1990 in Göttingen; Psychoanalyst and Training Analyst in the German Psychoanalytic Society. Editorial board of “System Familie”, “Psychotherapie und Sozialwissenschaft”, “Psychosozial”, “International Forum of Psychoanalysis”, „Language and Psychoanalysis“. More than 150 publications. Qualitative studies: analysis of a 30 session short-term therapy (1996), scenarios of contact (1997), sexual offenders in group therapy (2008), empathy conversations in psychotherapy.

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