Volume 32, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1387-6740
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9935
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This psychobiography study looks into one aspect of Frida Kahlo’s life, her relationship with Diego Rivera. It attempts to solve the puzzle of how Frida managed to reconcile her dedication to Diego, whose behavior was hurtful, with her rebellious character and ideology. Adopting a narrative/dialogical theoretical lens and employing the narrative inquiry method of languages of the unsayable that analyses narrative form, we examined her essay . We triangulated findings with letters, diary and paintings. We found that Frida used languages of the unsayable as narrative strategies to manage inner conflict and reconcile dedication with character and ideology. She kept voices of anger and resentment from gaining strength, and downplayed their emotional impact in favor of voices of devotion and despair. The findings point to the importance of looking into both the and of autobiographical narratives. Limitations and clinical implications of the study are discussed.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Androutsopoulou, A.
    (2011) Red balloon: Approaching dreams as self-narratives. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 37, 479–490.   10.1111/j.1752‑0606.2011.00236.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1752-0606.2011.00236.x [Google Scholar]
  2. (2015) Moments of meaning: Identifying inner voices in the autobiographical texts of ‘Mark’. Qualitative Psychology, 2, 130–146.   10.1037/qup0000028
    https://doi.org/10.1037/qup0000028 [Google Scholar]
  3. (2019) “My broken chrysalis”: Narrative processes in Woolf’s autobiographical writings of sexual trauma. Qualitative Psychology. First published online.   10.1037/qup0000139
    https://doi.org/10.1037/qup0000139 [Google Scholar]
  4. Androutsopoulou, A., Dima, E., Papageorgiou, S., & Papanikolaou, T.
    (2019) Constructing “Georgia”: Love, play, work as a central theme in O’ Keeffe’s early and late memories. InZ. Kövary. & C.-H. Mayer (Eds.), New trends in psychobiography (pp.325–342). Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑030‑16953‑4_18
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-16953-4_18 [Google Scholar]
  5. Androutsopoulou, A., Rozou, E., Vakondiou, M.
    (2019b) Voices of “hope” and “despair”: A narrative-dialogical inquiry into the diaries, letters and suicide notes of Virginia Woolf. Journal of Constructivist Psychology. First published online.   10.1080/10720537.2019.1615015
    https://doi.org/10.1080/10720537.2019.1615015 [Google Scholar]
  6. Androutsopoulou, A., Thanopoulou, K., Economou, E., & Bafiti, T.
    (2004) Forming criteria for assessing the coherence of clients’ life stories: A narrative study. Journal of Family Therapy, 26, 384–405.   10.1111/j.1467‑6427.2004.00290.x
    https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6427.2004.00290.x [Google Scholar]
  7. Bakewell, L.
    (1993) Frida Kahlo: A contemporary feminist reading. Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies, 13 (3), 165–189. www.jstor.org/stable/3346753
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Bauer, C.
    (2014) Frida Kahlo. Prestel.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Brigley Thompson, Z.
    (2017) Still devouring Frida Kahlo: Psychobiography versus postcolonial and disability readings. InB. Martín-Lucas & A. Ruthven (Eds.), Narratives of difference in globalized cultures: Reading transnational cultural commodities (pp.57–80). Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑62133‑3_4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62133-3_4 [Google Scholar]
  10. Bruner, J. S.
    (2004) The narrative creation of self. InL. A. Angus & J. McLeod (Eds.), The handbook of narrative and psychotherapy (pp.2–14). Sage.   10.4135/9781412973496.d3
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412973496.d3 [Google Scholar]
  11. (1990) Acts of meaning. Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  12. Crowther, B.
    (1999) Writing as performance: Young girls’ diaries. InR. Josselson & A. Lieblich (Eds.), Making meaning of narratives. The narrative study of lives (pp.197–220). Sage.   10.4135/9781483348933.n8
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483348933.n8 [Google Scholar]
  13. Feldman, G. C.
    (1999) Dissociation, repetition-compulsion and the art of Frida Kahlo. Journal of the American Academy of Psychoanalysis, 27, 387–396.   10.1521/jaap.1.1999.27.3.387
    https://doi.org/10.1521/jaap.1.1999.27.3.387 [Google Scholar]
  14. Fivush, R.
    (2010) Speaking silence: The social construction of silence in autobiographical and cultural narratives. Memory, 18, 88–98.   10.1080/09658210903029404
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09658210903029404 [Google Scholar]
  15. Gergen, K. J.
    (2014) Pursuing excellence in qualitative inquiry. Qualitative Psychology, 1, 49–60.   10.1037/qup0000002
    https://doi.org/10.1037/qup0000002 [Google Scholar]
  16. Hermans, H. J. M.
    (2004) The dialogical self: Between exchange and power. InH. J. M. Hermans & G. Dimaggio (Eds.), The dialogical self in psychotherapy (pp.13–28). Bruner-Routledge. 10.4324/9780203314616_chapter_1
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203314616_chapter_1 [Google Scholar]
  17. Hermans, H. J. M. & Dimaggio, G.
    (Eds.) (2004) The dialogical self in psychotherapy. Brunner-Routledge. 10.4324/9780203314616
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203314616 [Google Scholar]
  18. Hermans, H. J. M. & Gieser, T.
    (Eds.) (2014) Handbook of dialogical self-theory. Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  19. Josselson, R.
    (2007a) Love in the narrative context: The relationship between Henry Murray and Christina Morgan. InR. Josselson, A. Lieblich, & D. P. MacAdams (Eds.), The meaning of others: Narrative studies of relationships (pp.21–50). American Psychological Association. 10.1037/11580‑002
    https://doi.org/10.1037/11580-002 [Google Scholar]
  20. (2007b) The ethical attitude in narrative research: Principles and practicalities. InD. J. Clandinin (Ed.), Handbook of narrative inquiry (pp.537–566). Sage Publications. 10.4135/9781452226552.n21
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781452226552.n21 [Google Scholar]
  21. Kahlo, F.
    (1995a) The letters of Frida Kahlo: Cartas apasionadas (M. Zamora, Ed.). Chronicle Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Kahlo, F. (with Fuentes, I.
    ) (1995b) The diary of Frida Kahlo: An intimate self-portrait. Abrams.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Kozloff, J.
    (1978) Frida Kahlo. Women’s Studies, 6, 43–59.   10.1080/00497878.1978.9978464
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00497878.1978.9978464 [Google Scholar]
  24. Kőváry, Z. & Mayer, C-H.
    (Eds.) (2019) New trends in psychobiography. Springer.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Kulish, N.
    (2006) Frida Kahlo and object choice: A daughter the rest of her life. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 26, 7–31.   10.1080/07351690609353110
    https://doi.org/10.1080/07351690609353110 [Google Scholar]
  26. Lieblich, A., Tuval-Maschiach, R., & Zilber, T.
    (1998) Narrative research: Reading, analysis and interpretation. Sage.   10.4135/9781412985253
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412985253 [Google Scholar]
  27. Lindauer, M. A.
    (1999) Devouring Frida: The art history and popular celebrity of Frida Kahlo. Wesleyan University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Le Clezio, J. M. G.
    (1993) Diego and Frida. Paris: Stock.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. McAdams, D. P., Josselson, R., & Lieblich, A.
    (2001) The narrative study of lives: Introduction to the series. InD. P. McAdams, R. Josselson, & A. Lieblich (Eds.), Turns in the road: Narrative studies of lives in transition (pp.xi–xiv). American Psychological Association.   10.1037/10410‑000
    https://doi.org/10.1037/10410-000 [Google Scholar]
  30. McNamee, S., & Gergen, K. J.
    (1999) Relational responsibility: Resources for sustainable dialogue. Sage. 10.4135/9781452243733
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781452243733 [Google Scholar]
  31. McLeod, J.
    (2001) Qualitative research in counselling and psychotherapy. Sage. 10.4135/9781849209663
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781849209663 [Google Scholar]
  32. (2010) Case study research in counselling and psychotherapy. Sage. 10.4135/9781446287897
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781446287897 [Google Scholar]
  33. Osatuke, K., Gray, M. A., Glick, M. J., Stiles, W. B., & Barkham, M.
    (2004) Hearing voices: Methodological issues in measuring internal multiplicity. InH. J. M. Hermans, & G. Dimaggio (Eds.), The dialogical self in psychotherapy (pp.237–254). Bruner-Routledge. 10.4324/9780203314616_chapter_15
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203314616_chapter_15 [Google Scholar]
  34. Pérez Alonso, L.
    (2014) Frida Kahlo and the improper/unclean: Toward the condition of abjection. Women’s Studies, 43, 407–424.   10.1080/00497878.2014.897165
    https://doi.org/10.1080/00497878.2014.897165 [Google Scholar]
  35. Ponterotto, J. G.
    (2014) Best practices in psychobiographical research. Qualitative Psychology, 1, 77–90.   10.1037/qup0000005
    https://doi.org/10.1037/qup0000005 [Google Scholar]
  36. Ponterotto, J. G. & Reynolds (Taewon Choi), J. D.
    (2017) Ethical and legal considerations in psychobiography. American Psychologist, 72, 446–458.   10.1037/amp0000047
    https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000047 [Google Scholar]
  37. Poppova, M.
    (2016) Frida Kahlo on how love amplifies beauty: Her breath-taking tribute to Diego Rivera. https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/01/22/frida-kahlo-diego-rivera-love/
  38. Raggatt, P. T. F.
    (2007) Forms of positioning in the dialogical self: A system of classification and the strange case of Dame Edna Everage. Theory and Psychology, 17, 355–382.   10.1177/0959354307077288
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0959354307077288 [Google Scholar]
  39. Rogers, A. G.
    (2006) The unsayable: The hidden language of trauma. Ballantine Books.
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Rogers, A. G., Casey, M. E., Ekert, J., Holland, J., Nakkula, V., & Sheinberg, N.
    (1999) An interpretative poetics of languages of the unsayable. InJosselson, R., & Lieblich, A. (Eds.), Making meaning of narratives: The Narrative study of lives (pp.77–106). Sage. 10.4135/9781483348933.n4
    https://doi.org/10.4135/9781483348933.n4 [Google Scholar]
  41. Schultz, W. T.
    (2003) The prototypical scene: A method for generating psychobiographical hypotheses. InR. Josselson, A. Lieblich, & D. P. McAdams (Eds.), Up close and personal. The teaching and learning of narrative research (pp.151–175). American Psychological Association. 10.1037/10486‑009
    https://doi.org/10.1037/10486-009 [Google Scholar]
  42. (Ed.) (2005) Handbook of psychobiography. Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Schultz, W. T., & Lawrence, S.
    (2017) Psychobiography: Theory and method. American Psychologist, 72, 434–445.   10.1037/amp0000130
    https://doi.org/10.1037/amp0000130 [Google Scholar]
  44. Schick Makaroff, K. L., Sheilds, L., Anita Molzahn, A.
    (2013) Stories of chronic kidney disease: listening for the unsayable, Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69, 12.   10.1111/jan.12149
    https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.12149 [Google Scholar]
  45. Siltala, P.
    (1998) I made a picture of my life – a life from the picture: The life of the body in the pictures and writings of Frida Kahlo. International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 7, 133–155.   10.1080/080370698436808
    https://doi.org/10.1080/080370698436808 [Google Scholar]
  46. Sorsoli, L.
    (2010) “I remember”, “I thought”, “I know I didn’t say”: Silence and memory in trauma narratives. Memory, 18, 129–141.   10.1080/09658210903168046
    https://doi.org/10.1080/09658210903168046 [Google Scholar]
  47. Tamboukou, M.
    (2010) Broken narratives, visual forces: Letter, paintings and the event. InM. Hyvärinen, L.-C. Hydén, M. Saarenheimo, & M. Tamboukou (Eds.), Beyond narrative coherence (pp.67–86). John Benjamins. 10.1075/sin.11.05tam
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sin.11.05tam [Google Scholar]
  48. The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica
    The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica (2020) Figure of speech. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/art/figure-of-speech
    [Google Scholar]
  49. Yang, M. Y.
    (1997) Pain and painting: Frida Kahlo’s visual autobiography. Auto/biography studies, 12, 121–133.   10.1080/08989575.1997.10815097
    https://doi.org/10.1080/08989575.1997.10815097 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Frida Kahlo; languages of the unsayable; narrative/dialogic lens; psychobiography
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error