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TRAVERSO-YEPEZ, Martha  e  MEDEIROS, Luciana Fernandes De. Trembling before life: a case study about nerves. Interações [online]. 2004, vol.9, n.18, pp. 87-108. ISSN 1413-2907.

Terms like ‘nerves’ are frequently used in public health services as a reference to a problem that is characterized by multiple complaints such as generalized pain, diffuse body sensations and symptoms of depression and anxiety. The present study was carried out in a health service in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. In order to understand the meanings attributed to ‘nerves’, interviews were conducted with a 38-year-old married woman and mother of two teenagers. The dialogical process developed through this interaction provided the woman with opportunities for talking about herself and her problems, generating narratives in which suffering was progressively related to the social and structural limitations of her life-context. Throughout these interviews, the structuring role of language could be observed in the improved organization of her discourse. The paper concludes by pointing out the relevance of providing opportunities for self-expression, with psychologists acting as mediators and facilitating the construction of new meanings for these experiences through dialogical conversation.

Palavras-chave : Nerves; Meaning process; Narratives; Psychologists role; Case study.

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