phenomenology and psychology

phenomenology and psychology - Indo-Pacific Journal of...

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Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, Volume 7, Edition 1 May 2007 Page 1 of 8 Examining the Lived World: The Place of Phenomenology in Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology by Bruce Bradfield Abstract This paper aims to explore the validity of phenomenology in the psychiatric setting. The phenomenological method - as a mode of research, a method of engagement between self and other, and a framework for approaching what it means to know - has found a legitimate home in therapeutic practice. Over the last century, phenomenology, as a philosophical endeavour and research method, has influenced a wide range of disciplines, including psychiatry. Phenomenology has enabled an enrichment of such practice through deepening the way in which we can come to know the experiences of the other. This knowing-of-the-other is explored here within the context of psychiatric and clinical assessment. The question asked is: How best can we come to know those we work with? What method of engagement can be used to most completely come to understand and narrate the experiences of the individual, and how can this be applied in the context of an assessment aimed at psychiatric or psychological intervention? Elements of phenomenological praxis are presented as definitive of the most integral way of approaching the human subject. Husserlian and Heideggerian notions are explicated and related to phenomenological conceptions of intersubjectivity, in an effort to describe a phenomenology that can be used effectively within the psychiatric setting. The intention of this paper is to propose the phenomenological method as an important attitudinal stance, which could lend a greater degree of consideration to the position of individual subjectivity within the systematics of diagnostic assessment and psychiatric intervention. As broadly intended in this paper, the notion of phenomenology as an “attitudinal stance” envisages phenomenology as an attendance to the lived world of the experiencing individual that is grounded in the individual’s narrations of that experience. The attitudinal stance of phenomenology is further conceptualised as an openness to the full potential of the world-disclosive capacity of an individual’s descriptions. In this sense, phenomeno- logy’s approach to the individual’s narrative of experience is conceived of as fundamentally invitational. Further to this, and in relation to phenomenology as invitational methodology, is phenomenology’s welcoming of ambiguity or ambivalence as an important constituting factor in the individual’s narration of his or her being-in-the- world. In arguing for a phenomenologically informed approach to psychiatric assessment, I shall firstly present an outline of the psychiatric assessment process as it emerges in common practice. I shall then describe a model of phenomenological praxis so as to acquaint readers with the specific phenomenological tenets considered most applicable to psychiatric assessment. Edmund Husserl’s phenomenology will
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phenomenology and psychology - Indo-Pacific Journal of...

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