Narrative self-appropriation: embodiment, alienness, and personal responsibility in the context of borderline personality disorder

Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 38 (6):465-482 (2017)
Authors
Allan Køster
Aalborg University
Abstract
It is often emphasised that persons diagnosed with borderline personality disorder show difficulties in understanding their own psychological states. In this article, I argue that from a phenomenological perspective, BPD can be understood as an existential modality in which the embodied self is profoundly saturated by an alienness regarding the person’s own affects and responses. However, the balance of familiarity and alienness is not static, but can be cultivated through, e.g., psychotherapy. Following this line of thought, I present the idea that narrativising experiences can play an important role in processes of appropriating such embodied self-alienness. Importantly, the notion of narrative used is that of a scalar conception of narrativity as a variable quality of experience that comes in degrees. From this perspective, narrative appropriation is a process of gradually attributing the quality of narrativity to experiences, thereby familiarising the moods, affects, and responses that otherwise govern ‘from behind’. Finally, I propose that the idea of a narrative appropriation of embodied self-alienness is also relevant to the much-debated question of personal responsibility in BPD, particularly as this question plays out in psychotherapeutic contexts where a narrative self-appropriation may facilitate an increase in sense of autonomy and reduce emotions of guilt and shame.
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DOI 10.1007/s11017-017-9422-z
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References found in this work BETA

Against Narrativity.Galen Strawson - 2004 - Ratio 17 (4):428-452.
Embodied Narratives.Richard Menary - 2008 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 15 (6):63-84.
On Not Expecting Too Much From Narrative.Peter Lamarque - 2004 - Mind and Language 19 (4):393–408.
Narrative and Embodiment – a Scalar Approach.Allan Køster - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (5):893-908.

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Narrative and Embodiment – a Scalar Approach.Allan Køster - 2017 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 16 (5):893-908.
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