1st Edition

Autoethnographies in Psychology and Mental Health New Voices

Edited By Alec Grant, Jerome Carson Copyright 2025
    344 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    344 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This autoethnographic volume gathers a multiplicity of different voices in autoethnographic research from across psychology and mental health disciplines to address topics ranging from selfhood, trauma, emotional understanding, clinical psychology, and the experience of grief.

    Edited by two leading figures, this volume broadens the concept of psychology beyond its conventional, mainstream academic boundaries and challenges pre-conceived and received notions of what constitutes ‘psychology’ and ‘mental health’. This book collects new autoethnographic writers in psychology and mental health from across as diverse a range of disciplines and in doing makes a strong case for the legitimacy of subjectivity, emotionality and lived experience as epistemic and pedagogic resources. The collection also troubles the related concept of ‘mental health.’ In contemporary times, this is either biomedically over-colonised (welcomed by some but resisted by others), often regarded by lay and professional people alike in terms of an ‘ordered or disordered’ binary (comforting for some but associated with stigma and othering for others), or, at worst, is reduced to a set of hackneyed memes – the stuff of Breakfast television (well-intentioned and undoubtedly reassuring and helpful for some but patronising and naïve for others). Overall, the volume promotes the subjective and lived-experiential voices of its contributors – the hallmark of autoethnographic writing.

    Autoethnographies in Psychology and Mental Health will be of interest to psychology and mental health students and professions with an interest in qualitative inquiry as it intersects with autoethnography and mental health.

    List of Contributors

    Arthur P. Bochner and Carolyn Ellis


    01. Introduction: The Importance of autoethnography for psychology and mental health
    Alec Grant and Jerome Carson

    02. Us and Them
    Kevin Acott

    03. The Shackles of Lupus, and the Redefining Path of Faith and Positive Psychology
    Ijeabalum Asike

    04. Tell Fear, No: The Hope Is You (An Autoethnographic Account Of A Male Sexual Violence Survivor’s Journey Through An Academic Psychology Education, To Understand How To Bring Himself And Others Home Safely)
    Rob Balfour

    05. Autistic, and Challenging the Neoliberal Academy in Hong Kong
    Yulin Cheng and Alec Grant

    06. My Changing Journey
    Amanda Costello

    07. My Life with Dyslexia: An autoethnograpy
    Nicola Cross

    08. Laughter, Joy, and Mental Health: An autoethnographic case study of Joe Hoare
    Joe Hoare and Freda Gonot-Shoupinsky

    09. A Grief Odyssey
    Robert Hurst

    10. Cultural Impact on Professional Identity: Struggling to connect with professional titles
    Adeela Irfan

    11. A Conversational Autoethnography on Experiencing Loss and Grief
    Marcin Kafar and Justyna Ratkowska-Pasikowska

    12. Pandemic Detectives: A phone corpse on the university campus”
    Dariusz Kubinowski and Oskar Swabowski

    13. A Phoenix Rising: Journeys through childhood trauma
    Kirsty Lilley

    14. Catching ‘Sliding Door’ Moments: Finding purpose in life, and Maintaining love, compassion and mental wellbeing
    Mats and Irene Niklasson

    15. Building Resilience from Bad Experiences: An autoethnographic account
    Nawal Saleh

    16. Locating and Decentering Professional Expertise as a Feminist Critical Psychologist in India
    Sonia Soans

    17. Mental Health and the Body: An autoethnography of neuralgia, migraine, and insulin resistance
    Colette Szczepaniak

    18. Spurious Emotional Understanding: What do ‘ordinary’ people know about entrapment in the bubbly, fizzing, ‘hung-before’ feeling?
    Siw Heidi Tonnessen

    19. Dropping the Autoethnographic Seeds in the Soil
    Marianne Trent



    Alec Grant, PhD, is visiting Professor, University of Bolton. He was the recipient of the ICAE Inaugural Lifetime Contribution Award in 2020 and is widely published in journals such as Qualitative Inquiry, The Qualitative Report, and the Journal of Autoethnography.

    Jerome Carson, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Bolton. He did his Psychology degree at the University of Reading and trained as a clinical psychologist at the University of East London. He was awarded his PhD by King’s College London in 2005.

    What are the possible scenarios when bringing several voices together to make up a book? The voices might form a melodious and soothing harmony. An undisturbing treat for the mind and soul. Alternatively, the voices may collide in a cacophonic noise battle. A discordant attack on the senses and thoughts. This book and its voices offer the best from both these scenarios. Put together, these new, creative, and bold voices make up a polyphony. Each voice offers something on its own terms, each chapter lingers on as an individual melody that showcases how subjectivity is key to developing knowledge about human experiences. And yet, when played together as a polyphonic orchestra, the individual melodies also offer something much more. As a whole, the book offers harmony and cacaphnoy. Could you ask for more?

    - Professor Trude Klevan, University of South-Eastern Norway