Recontextualizing the Subject of Phenomenological Psychopathology: Establishing a New Paradigm Case

Frontiers in Psychiatry (forthcoming)
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Recently, there have been calls to develop a more contextual approach to phenomenological psychopathology—an approach that attends to the socio-cultural as well as personal and biographical factors that shape experiences of mental illness. In this Perspective article, we argue that to develop this contextual approach, phenomenological psychopathology should adopt a new paradigm case. For decades, schizophrenia has served as the paradigmatic example of a condition that can be better understood through phenomenological investigation. And recent calls for a contextual approach continue to use schizophrenia as their primary example. We argue, in contrast, that substance misuse provides a better paradigm case around which to develop a contextually sensitive phenomenological psychopathology. After providing a brief vignette and analysis of a case of substance misuse, we explain why this kind of condition requires considerable sensitivity and attention to context, better motivating the incorporation and development of new contextually sensitive approaches.

Author's Profile

Anthony Vincent Fernandez
University of Southern Denmark


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