Rhetorical Strategies of Trauma Bloggers and What Counts as Evidence

As I struggle to find the sample set (representative trauma blogs) for my dissertation, I have been able to separate the bloggers into three categories based on their rhetorical strategies for dealing with trauma. One set of trauma bloggers discuss the intimate details of their traumas, clearly focusing on the internal struggles of PTSD.  The other set of bloggers seem to externalize their trauma by focusing on the political aspects of post traumatic stress disorder without revealing a large amount of personal information. There is a third set of bloggers that I situate between the other two.  These bloggers have situated themselves as therapeutic experts in the sense that they provide a healing plan based on their own process of healing.  Most of them are careful to note that they are not trained professionals and that their advice should not be taken in lieu of seeking professional help.  Still, their strategy is an interesting one because it positions them as expert, helper, and survivor/victim.  To some extent these are the most complex.  They implicitly argue for the value of personal experience by positioning themselves as a form of expert.  This, of course, is not unusual in the blogosphere.  Bloggers typically position themselves as authorities based on their experience.  This is necessary to establish an ethos with their audience.  Productivity blogs are particularly focused on this, because, like trauma bloggers, they are presenting a kind of self-help regimine based on the strategies that have worked for them.

The rhetorical strategies of these bloggers raise interesting questions regarding standards of evidence.  In academia, personal experience, while not entirely eschewed, is not valued as highly as other forms of research.  Experience is not considered rigorous in the ways that quantitative and other forms of qualitative data are.  Thus, while situating one’s research within a personal context is acceptable, using personal experience as theory or evidence is not.  Rather than increasing one’s ethos, the academic who focuses on personal experience will most likely have their research regarded as spurious at best.  I realize that we are talking about very different genres with distinctly different audiences and that these are not necessarily comprable.  However, I’m interested in exploring this further.  Given that there are many academic blogs that contain a mixture of experience and theoretical discussion, might there be an opportunity for a hybridization of scholarly genres?  Could this provide inroads into increasing the valuation of experiential evidence?

One thought

  1. What if a blog has documented evidence of their path with evidence from highly praised therapists. I would be interested in how many therapists have multiple strategies in their bag of tricks or set expectations. Do therapists give a handout for practice. Do therapists filter out people who will not take action so they can focus on people who have a chance to heal.

    What happens between therapy session? people heal outside the therapists office in the days between therapy. What resources are available? Not many.

    Most discussion boards are filled with resentful victims, projecting their trauma to others. Suicide posts and poor me runs rampant. A positive voice is attacked.

    Why doesn’t our professional therapists instill a process in our public schools to prepare us to know what is happiness and where we can be found. Complex PTSD and childhood abuse is epidemic. Suicides have outnumbered deaths in soldiers from battlefield deaths in 2008 and 2009.

    The magic of who am I has been defined in Buddhas Brain by Rick Hanson. The mechanism of PTSD has been define through functional MRI’s research. Who am I is constructed Ou of past memories weaves together into a scenario. Emotions are shared by all not something to fear.

    Trauma thoughts or memories are delusional and powerless. They have no power on their own but disordered so thoughts stored in the amygdala are linked and can turn the switch tom our flight or fight drugs.

    If I claim t o be symptom free then my amygdala Must be empty now since the wold has not change but my reaction has.

    interesting topic. I think you are on tomsomething.

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