A Phenomenological Analysis of the Psychotic Experience

Human Studies 34 (1):23-42 (2011)
Abstract
Six individuals with experience of psychosis were interviewed about their psychotic experiences. The material was analyzed using the empirical phenomenological psychological method. The results consist of a whole meaning structure, a gestalt, entailing the following characteristics: The feeling of estrangement in relationship to the world; the dissolution of time; the loss of intuitive social knowledge; the alienation of oneself, and finally; the loss of intentionality/loss of agency. In brief, the results show that an altered perception of the self and the world was an essential part of the psychotic experience where subjects described themselves as changed; something was sensed as being wrong as psychosis is perceptible but hard to communicate. The normal life-world experience was altered and reality seemed strange. Time perception seemed to be changed as temporality appeared dissolved and the experience of time was focused on the current moment excluding the future. The subjects described loss of intentionality, they were no longer agents in their actions but partly steered by others and they could feel as if their experiences were not theirs. The patients also describe problems regarding their ability to socialize and communicate with others. They seem to lose their intuitive social capacity and were prone to suspiciousness
Keywords Psychosis  EPP empirical phenomenological psychological method  Phenomenology  Subjective experiences  Schizophrenia
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