A Qualitative Inquiry into the Experience of Persons with Chronic and Delimiting Psychiatric Disabilities

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Length: 43 minutes

Michael O'Loughlin, PhD, Marilyn Charles, PhD, ABPP, Almas Merchant

Recent studies in psychoanalysis, medical anthropology and phenomenological psychiatry have expanded our understanding of schizophrenia and the psychoses, and the implications of these studies are just beginning to emerge in the areas of diagnosis and treatment.  However, while each of these perspectives offers important strands of knowledge to the field, no one study has attempted to combine these perspectives – the psychodynamic, the psychosocial and the phenomenological – under one umbrella, thereby bringing out the historical, social and subjective dimensions of schizophrenia within a single research study. We report on preliminary data from 20 persons designated schizophrenic who participated in three one-hour interviews exploring respectively (1) core dynamics; (2) traumatic antecedents and psychosocial stressors; and (3) experience of “being a patient” including phenomenological and cognitive understandings of psychosis, and notions of internalized stigma. 

Criteria for participation:

Having had a formal diagnosis of schizophrenia or other severe psychosis in adolescence/adulthood

Having had at least one hospitalization for schizophrenia or other severe psychosis in adolescence/ adulthood

Be functioning currently at a level that precludes sustaining gainful employment and long-term intimate partner relations. On the GAF scale [Global Assessment of Functioning] this will be reflected in a score of 55 or less.

Reside in a residence and participate in day-treatment or partial hospitalization for the ongoing treatment of chronic schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders.

Not be currently experiencing florid episodes of psychosis or in need of hospitalization.

Qualitative analysis of transcribed data will begin in Summer 2011.

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