Toward a Phenomenological Psychotherapy for Schizophrenia

Borut Škodlar, Mads Gram Henriksen

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Abstract

During the last decades, research in phenomenological psychopathology has provided a vast array of insights that are invaluable for understanding the experiential worlds of patients with schizophrenia. Precisely, knowledge of patients' experiences is a necessary basis for a sound and thoughtful psychotherapy. This is especially important in psychotherapy for schizophrenia, where patients' experiences may not always be easily accessible or understandable. In the available literature, we found only scattered suggestions for a translation of insights from phenomenological psychopathology into psychotherapeutic practice. The aim of this article is to offer a preliminary translation. First, we outline characteristics of the experiential worlds in schizophrenia, highlighting what we call "core experiences" and "experience-near concepts." Then we explore the psychotherapeutic methods and strategies that can be developed and elaborated on the basis of the accumulated research in phenomenological psychopathology, drawing also on experiences from a phenomenologically informed psychotherapy unit at the University Psychiatric Hospital of Ljubljana. Here, we propose principles of a phenomenological psychotherapy for schizophrenia, dividing them into the following subgroups: (1) overall goals, (2) general attitudes, (3) main domains, and (4) therapeutic strategies. The unique value of phenomenological psychotherapy seems to lie in its ability to capture the heart of the patients' experiences and their inherent vulnerabilities and then use these insights to inform psychotherapeutic interventions.

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftPsychopathology
Vol/bind52
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)117-125
Antal sider9
ISSN0254-4962
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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