Michelle N. Lafrance, PhD Professor of Psychology, St. Thomas University, Fredericton, NB, Canada

My research interests have always been rooted in the everyday realities of women’s lives as I’ve explored their challenges around depression and distress, stigma around mental illness, (lack of) leisure and self-care, and experiences of sexuality. Across these projects, I have also maintained a focus on resistance and women’s efforts to overcome challenge and live well. The quality of this work has been recognised internationally, including by the British Psychological Society (Citation for Excellence), the (American) Association for Women in Psychology (Distinguished Publication Award, 2016), and the Canadian Psychological Association (Certificate of Academic Excellence).

My most recent research project is on informal (unpaid) caregivers of older adults in New Brunswick. This research is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (Insight Development Grant) and is being conducted with the dual aims of contributing to the scholarship in the critical social sciences, and providing evidence-based directions for social and political change. In beginning this research, I interviewed informal caregivers of older adults ‘aging in place’ across New Brunswick. The process of conducting these in-depth interviews enabled me to ground my developing research ideas in the concerns and experiences of the very people I hoped the research would benefit. Moreover, it illuminated the need to expand my methodological expertise beyond discourse and thematic analyses. In listening to the accounts of informal caregivers, I came to appreciate the need to more fully capture the complex interplay between the psychological, social and political – in particular in relation to institutional policies and practices. Further, I developed an appreciation of informal caregivers as a critically important, but often invisible and marginalised population within the health system. Consequently, I became intrigued by the unique potential offered by the Psycho-Social Ethnography of the Commonplace, a methodology that was developed by the two Co-Investigators, Lynne Gouliquer and Carmen Poulin. The P-SEC methodology is perfectly suited to this project as it centres on the perspectives of marginalised groups and aims to develop social and political change strategies to benefit these groups and thus society. Collaboration with Gouliquer and Poulin will be invaluable in scaffolding my expertise to include this innovative methodology.

Publications & Presentations

Books:

McKenzie-Mohr, S. & Lafrance, M.N. (Eds.) (2014). Women voicing resistance: Discursive and narrative explorations. East Sussex: Routledge.

Lafrance, M.N. (2009). Women and depression: Recovery and resistance. East Sussex: Routledge.

Selected Journal Articles:

McKenzie-Mohr, S. & Lafrance, M.N. (2017). Narrative resistance in social work research and practice: Counter-storying in the pursuit of social justice. Qualitative Social Work, 16(2), 189-205.

Wigginton, B., & Lafrance, M.N. (2017). Researching stigma in online and offline spaces: Methodological lessons and challenges. Sage Research Methods Cases: Health. DOI: 10.4135/9781473996618

Wigginton, B., & Lafrance, M.N. (2016). How do women manage the spoiled identity of the ‘pregnant smoker’? An analysis of discursive silencing in women’s accounts. Feminism & Psychology, 26(1), 30-51.

Wigginton, B., & Lafrance, M. N. (2014). ‘I think he is immune to all the smoke I gave him’: How women account for the harm of smoking during pregnancy. Health, Risk & Society, 16(6) 530-546.

Lafrance, M. N., & McKenzie-Mohr, S. (2013). The DSM and its lure of legitimacy. Feminism & Psychology, 23(1), 119-140.

Lafrance, M. N. (2011). Reproducing, resisting and transcending discourses of femininity: A discourse analysis of women’s accounts of leisure. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise, and Health, 3(1), 80-98.

McKenzie-Mohr, S., & Lafrance, M. N. (2011). Telling stories without the words: ‘Tightrope talk’ in women’s accounts of coming to live well after rape or depression. Feminism & Psychology, 21(1), 49-73

Lafrance, M. N. (2007). A bitter pill: A discursive analysis of women’s medicalised accounts of depression. Journal of Health Psychology, 12(1), 127-140.

Lafrance, M. N., & Stoppard, J. M. (2006). Constructing a non-depressed self: Women’s accounts of recovery from depression. Feminism & Psychology 3(16), 307-325.

Book chapters:

Lafrance, M. N., & McKenzie-Mohr, S. (2014). Women counter-storying their lives. In S. McKenzie-Mohr & M.N. Lafrance (Eds.), Women voicing resistance: Discursive and Narrative explorations (pp. 1-15). East Sussex: Routledge.

Lafrance, M. N. (2014). Depression as oppression: Disrupting the biomedical discourse in women’s stories of sadness. In S. McKenzie-Mohr & M.N. Lafrance (Eds.), Women voicing resistance: Discursive and narrative explorations (pp. 141-158). East Sussex: Routledge.

McKenzie-Mohr, S., & Lafrance, M. N. (2014). Women’s discursive resistance: Attuning to counter-stories and collectivizing for change. In S. McKenzie-Mohr & M.N. Lafrance (Eds.), Women voicing resistance: Discursive and narrative explorations (pp. 191-205). East Sussex: Routledge.

Lafrance, M. N., & Stoppard, J. M. (2007). Re-storying women’s depression: A material discursive approach. In C. Brown & T. Augusta-Scott, T. (Eds.), Narrative therapy: Making meaning, making lives (pp. 23-37). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lafrance, M. N., Zivian, M. T., & Myers, A. M. (2000). Women, weight and appearance satisfaction: An ageless pursuit of thinness. In B. Miedema, J.M. Stoppard, & V. Anderson (Eds.), Women’s bodies/ women’s lives: Health, well-being, and body image (pp. 227-236). Toronto: Sumach Press.

Encyclopaedia entries (All Invited)

Lafrance, M. N. (2016). Depression. In N. Naples (Ed.), Encyclopaedia of Gender and Sexualities Studies. Wiley-Blackwell.

Lafrance, M. N., & McKenzie-Mohr, S. (2014). The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Overview. In T. Teo (Ed.), International Encyclopaedia of Critical Psychology (pp. 501- 506). New York: Springer.

Lafrance, M. N. (2014). Postpartum depression. In T. Teo (Ed.), International Encyclopaedia of Critical Psychology (pp. 1458-1460). New York: Springer.

Presentations:

Invited Presentations

Lafrance, M .N. (2017, November). Informal caring and aging in place. Summit of the Collaborative for Healthy Aging and Care. Fredericton, Canada.

Lafrance, M. N. (2016, April). Deconstructing psychiatric diagnosis: The promises and perils of the DSM. O’Donaghue Speaker Series. New College of Florida, Sarasota, USA.

Lafrance, M .N. (2016, April). Narrative practice/Narrative possibilities: Explorations in storying the self. O’Donaghue Speaker Series. New College of Florida, Sarasota, USA.

Lafrance, M. N., & McKenzie-Mohr, S. (2016, March). Counter-storying our lives: Women voice resistance. Distinguished Publication Award Address, Association for Women in Psychology Conference, Pittsburgh, USA.

McKenzie-Mohr, S., & Lafrance, M. N. (2015, November). Women voicing resistance: Discursive and narrative explorations. Lunch and learn series Muriel McQueen Fergusson Centre, Fredericton, Canada.

Lafrance, M. N. (2013, July). Taking it to the streets: The challenge for critical health psychology. Invited “five minute challenge” presentation, International Society for Critical Health Psychology, Bradford, England.

Lafrance, M.N. (2011, May). Invited discussant. Gender and critical psychology research group. University of Auckland, New Zealand.

Lafrance, M.N. (2011, May). Invited discussant, ‘Discourse Analysis’. Critical and discursivepsychology research group. Massey University, New Zealand.

Lafrance, M.N. (2011, April). Speaking of sadness/ Disrupting discourses. Paper presented at the University of Western Sydney, Australia.

Lafrance, M.N. (2011, April). Invited discussant, closing panel. International Society for Critical Health Psychology, University of Adelaide, Australia.

Lafrance, M.N. (2010, December). Women’s distress and wellbeing: Discursive challenges and Possibilities. Paper presented at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.

Lafrance, M.N., & McKenzie-Mohr, S. (2010, June). ‘Tightrope Talk’ in Narrative Practice: Supporting Women’s Stories of Coming to Live Well after Depression or Rape. Paper presented at “Winds of Change 3: The Maritime Collaborative Therapies Conference.” Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

Selected Conference Presentations & Posters

Lafrance, M.N. (July 2017). Building local networks of critical psychologists: Supporting students/Supporting ourselves. Paper presented at the International Society for Critical Health Psychology, Loughborough, UK.

Thomas, E.J., Lafrance, M.N., & Stelzl, M. (July 2017). Lost in translation: Navigating resonance and resistance in media dissemination of feminist research. Paper presented at the Psychology of Women Section, British Psychological Society, Windsor UK.

Thomas, E.J., Stelzl, M., Lafrance, M.N., & Cozzi, D. (2016, June). "It was consensual but...": Negotiating (non)consent and (non)desire in women's sexual encounters. Poster presented at the Sexual Consent Conference, Trent University, Peterborough, Canada.

Wigginton, B., & Lafrance, M. N. (2014, July). “I don’t talk about it so I’m not judged”: Negotiating the good mother discourse in discussions of smoking in pregnancy. Paper presented at the meeting of the Australian Motherhood Initiative for Research and Community Involvement, Melbourne, Australia.

Lafrance, M.N., & McKenzie-Mohr, S. (2014, June). The importance of counter-stories in critical health psychology. Paper presented at Narrative Matters, Paris, France.

Lafrance, M.N. (2013, July). Talking back: Women resisting biomedical discourse in their stories of sadness. Paper presented at the International Society for Critical Health Psychology, Bradford, England.

Lafrance, M.N. (2012, May). Women re-storying the self through suffering: The obstacles of hegemonic discourses of femininity. Paper presented at Narrative Matters, Paris, France.

Lafrance, M.N., & McKenzie-Mohr, S. (2011, April). Listening between and beyond words: Disrupting discourses in speaking of sadness. Paper presented at the International Society for Critical Health Psychology, Adelaide, Australia.

McKenzie-Mohr, S., & Lafrance, M.N. (2011, April). Taking up tools for narrative repair: Women's navigation of the post-rape process toward living well. Paper presented at the International Society for Critical Health Psychology, Adelaide, Australia.

McKenzie-Mohr, S., & Lafrance, M.N. (2010, May). The murky spaces of narrative repair: Listening for ‘tightrope talk’ and other narrative acts of insubordination in women’s stories of living well after challenge. Paper presented at Narrative Matters, Fredericton, Canada.

Lafrance, M.N. (2009, July). Balancing acts and tightrope talk: Constructing an agent-patient identity in narratives of recovery from depression. Paper presented at the International Society for Critical Health Psychology, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Lafrance, M.N. (2009, July). Mothers, tomboys, and wilderness women: Reproducing and resisting discourses of femininity in women’s accounts of leisure. Paper presented at the International Society for Critical Health Psychology, Lausanne, Switzerland.

McKenzie-Mohr, S., & Lafrance, M.N. (2008, May). Telling Stories without the Words: Women’s accounts of moving out from and beyond rape or depression. Paper presented at the Narrative Matters Conference, Toronto, Canada.

Lafrance, M.N. (2007, July). “It’s just like diabetes”: A discursive analysis of medicalized constructions of depression. Paper presented at the International Society for Critical Health Psychology, Boston, USA.

Lafrance, M.N., & Stoppard, J.M. (2005, March). The ‘good’ woman and the healthy woman: A contradiction in terms? Paper presented at the International Society for Critical Health Psychology, Sheffield, UK.

Lafrance, M.N., & Stoppard, J.M. (2004, June). Recovery as resistance: Women talk about their experiences of recovery from depression. Poster presented at the Convention of the Canadian Psychological Association, St. John’s, NFLD, Canada.

Lafrance, M.N., & Stoppard, J.M. (2004, May). ‘Real-izing’ depression: Negotiations of legitimacy in women’s accounts of depression. Paper presented at the Qualitative Analysis Conference, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada.

Lafrance, M.N., & Stoppard, J.M. (2001, May). Women overcoming depression: Negotiating identities. Paper presented at the Qualitative Analysis Conference, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

Stoppard, J.M., Guptill, A., & Lafrance, M.N. (2000, November). Understanding depression from the standpoint of women. Paper presented at Feminist Utopias: Redefining Our Projects, inaugural conference of the Institute for Women’s Studies and Gender Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

Lafrance, M.N., & Stoppard, J.M. (1999, May). Mental health professionals’ understandings of empowerment: An analysis of discourse. Paper presented at the Qualitative Analysis Conference, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada.

Lafrance, M.N., & Stoppard, J.M. (1999, May). Understandings of empowerment among female mental health professionals : A thematic analysis. Paper presented at the Section on Women and Psychology, Canadian Psychological Association, Halifax, Canada.

Lafrance, M.N., Zivian, M.T., & Myers, A.M. (1997, November). Women, weight and appearance satisfaction: An ageless pursuit of thinness. Paper presented at the meeting of the Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, Fredericton, Canada.