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  • Author or Editor: Elizabeth Pienkos x
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Abstract

Traditionally, phenomenological theories of schizophrenia have emphasized disturbances in self-experience, with relatively little acknowledgement of the surrounding world. However, epidemiological research consistently demonstrates a strong relationship between traumatic and stressful life events and the development of schizophrenia, suggesting that encounters in the world are highly relevant for many people diagnosed with this disorder. This paper reviews foundational texts in phenomenology and phenomenological psychopathology on the nature of subjectivity and its disturbances, finding support for broadening contemporary phenomenological models of schizophrenia to incorporate world events and their subjective meaning as essential aspects of this disorder. This contextual approach to phenomenology emphasizes the relationship between self and world, one that is especially unstable, unclear, and untrustworthy in schizophrenia. Both epidemiological and phenomenological research can benefit from this approach: in epidemiology, researchers might consider the ways that various risk factors are experienced by persons vulnerable to schizophrenia, while phenomenologists are encouraged to inquire about the environmental and social context in which altered experiences occur and incorporate these considerations into their explanatory models.

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

Abstract

Depersonalization/derealization disorder (DPDR) is classified as a dissociative disorder in the DSM5. It is noteworthy that the symptoms of depersonalization and derealization are commonly found in many other psychological disorders, including schizophrenia spectrum disorders, while phenomenological features of schizophrenia are commonly found in DPDR. The current study attempts to clarify these apparent similarities via highly detailed phenomenological interviews with four persons diagnosed with DPDR. The data revealed four interrelated facets: 1, Loss of resonance, 2, Detachment from experience, 3, Loss of self, and 4, Commitment to reality. These facets point to a felt loss of immediate and familiar engagement in experience as a basic organizing Gestalt which permeates the various symptoms and signs of our participants with DPDR. Close consideration of this disruption allows their experiences to be more easily distinguished from those of schizophrenia-spectrum disorders.

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

Here we consider interpersonal experience in schizophrenia, melancholia, and mania. Our goal is to improve understanding of similarities and differences in how other people can be experienced in these disorders, through a review of first-person accounts and case examples and of contemporary and classic literature on the phenomenology of these disorders. We adopt a tripartite/dialectical structure: first we explore main differences as traditionally described; next we consider how the disorders may resemble each other; finally we discuss more subtle but perhaps foundational ways in which the phenomenology of these disorders may nonetheless be differentiated. These involve disruptions of common sense and conventionality, abnormalities of empathy, distinct forms of paranoia and the sense of personal centrality, and altered perceptions of intentionality, deadness, and artificiality. We end by considering some neurocognitive research relevant to these abnormal forms of subjectivity, including work on theory of mind, experience of human movement, and perception of faces.

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

Abstract

This current study is a pilot project designed to clarify changes in the lived world among people with diagnoses within the schizophrenia spectrum. The Examination of Anomalous World Experience (eawe) was used to interview ten participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (sz) and a comparison group of three participants with major depressive disorder (dep). Interviews were analyzed using the descriptive phenomenological method. This analysis revealed two complementary forms of experience unique to sz participants: Destabilization, the experience that reality and the intersubjective world are less comprehensible, less stable, and generally less real; and Subjectivization, the dominance of one’s internal, subjective experiences in the perception or interpretation of the lived world. Persons with depressive disorders, by contrast, did not experience disruptions of the reality or independence of the world or any significant disruptions of appearance or meaning. These results are consistent with contemporary and classic phenomenological views on anomalous world experience in schizophrenia.

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology