Graduation Year

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Communication

Major Professor

Carolyn Ellis, Ph.D.

Keywords

Systems theory, Dialectical tensions, Dialogue, Wraparound, Mental health communication

Abstract

This research examines the social construction of hope in a community mental health system of care. Groopman (2004) defines hope as the elevating feeling we experience when we see a path to a better future. A year-long ethnographic study of a children's mental health system of care team found that members of the mental health care team construct hope for themselves and for the family they're helping by cycling through the dialectical tensions of hegemony and equality, marginalization and normalization, relating and othering, empowerment and disempowerment, and control and emotionality. They reconcile these tensions in dialogic moments of empathy toward the family and other team members, engagement of all team members in the process, creation of a human connection within the team, vulnerability to each other, creation of possibilities for themselves and for each other, social support, and blended voices.

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