Schizophrenia and the progression of emotional expression in relation to others
Gaining an improved understanding of people diagnosed with schizophrenia has the potential to influence priorities for therapy. Psychosis is commonly understood through the perspective of the medical model. However, the experience of social context surrounding psychosis is not well understood. In this research project we used a phenomenological methodology with a longitudinal design to interview 7 participants across a 12-month period to understand the social experiences surrounding psychosis.
Eleven themes were explicated and divided into two phases of the illness experience: (a) transition into emotional shutdown included the experiences of not being acknowledged, relational confusion, not being expressive, detachment, reliving the past, and having no sense of direction; and (b) recovery from emotional shutdown included the experiences of being acknowledged, expression, resolution, independence, and a sense of direction. The experiential themes provide clinicians with new insights to better assess vulnerability, and have the potential to inform goals for therapy.
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