7. Using Autoethnography to Explore the Experience of Spirituality in Epilepsy

Spirituality and Wellbeing - Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Religious Experience and Health - Bettina E. Schmidt

Louise N. Spiers [+-]
University of Northampton
Louise N. Spiers is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Counselling at the University of Northampton, UK, where she is a Doctoral candidate researching transpersonal understandings of spiritual experiences in epilepsy. She is interested in exceptional human experiences and their phenomenology and research methodologies that enable this. She is passionate about the use of autoethnography as a qualitative methodology for researching experiences that are otherwise pathologized or silenced. An Integrative Psychotherapist & Counsellor (UKCP, MBACP), Louise works as a transpersonal psychotherapist in private practice in London, where she uses therapeutic methods which include the use of creative expression, dreams and archetypal symbolism.

Description

This chapter introduces the use of autoethnography as a means of exploring spiritual experiences. Autoethnography is a qualitative research approach where the researcher identifies with, or is a member of, the group being studied - a so-called ‘anthropological-insider’ (Hayano 1979). Its meaning comes from the conjunction of auto (I), with ethno (culture) and analysis (graphy) (Ellis 2004). In autoethnography, the autobiographical voice is given primacy, reflexively acting as a critical mirror of the culture within which the individual lives. Focus is placed on evoking the nature of the experience and its impact on the life of the experient. Autoethnographers present first-person data using narrative, poetry, dance and the visual arts which is ‘layered’ alongside a discussion of relevant literature. This embodied and non-linear approach is unique. Although there is analysis of the material presented, in autoethnography there is an emphasis on showing, rather than telling. The autoethnographic approach suggests that in gaining a deeper, more empathic response to the subject-matter, the reader will have a deeper and richer understanding of the subject matter. Autoethnographic methodology is employed here as a narrative that provides an insight into the phenomenology of spiritual experience in epilepsy, through the lens of the researcher’s personal experience.

Notify A Colleague

Citation

Spiers, Louise. 7. Using Autoethnography to Explore the Experience of Spirituality in Epilepsy. Spirituality and Wellbeing - Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Religious Experience and Health. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Feb 2020. ISBN 9781781797655. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=38838. Date accessed: 23 Aug 2019 doi: 10.1558/equinox.38838. Feb 2020

Dublin Core Metadata