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Schizophrenia as a Transformative Evaluative Concept: Perspectives on the Psychiatric Significance of the Personal Self in the Ethics of Recognition

Mallaband Bergqvist, Anna (2021) Schizophrenia as a Transformative Evaluative Concept: Perspectives on the Psychiatric Significance of the Personal Self in the Ethics of Recognition. Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, 28 (1). pp. 23-26. ISSN 1071-6076

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Abstract

Psychiatric diagnosis serves many functions in the struggle for recognition, such as access to public mental health systems and legal compensation, but it is not necessarily well equipped for the task of self-understanding (Tekin 2019) and re-configuration of personal values in the recovery process – and the likelihood of optimal outcome that is geared to the individual person’s quality of life (see May et al 2020). Call this the transformative dimension of recognition in the complex journey from diagnosis to therapeutic empathy in the doctor-patient relationship. Patients who are diagnosed with a serious and enduring mental health condition often find it difficult to make sense of themselves in relation to their psychiatric diagnosis. Specifically, they have problems with distinguishing their ‘self’, or ‘who they are’, from their mental disorder or diagnosis (Radden 1996; Sadler 2007; Dings & Glas 2020). I argue that what marks out an “owned” and, conversely, “disowned” experience (and behaviour) as such is the wider context of the subject possessing it seen as a whole person as characterised by a sense of oneself as an agent.

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