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Self-Disturbance in Schizophrenia: A Phenomenological Approach to Better Understand Our Patients

Rob de Vries, MD; Henriette D. Heering, MSc; Lot Postmes, MD; Saskia Goedhart, MD; Herman N. Sno, MD, PhD; and Lieuwe de Haan, MD, PhD

ABSTRACT

A phenomenological approach explains the apparently unintelligible experiences of patients with schizophrenia as a disruption of the normal self-perception. Patients with schizophrenia suffer from a decline of “me,” the background core of their experiences. Normally tacit experiences intrude into the forefront of their attention, and the sense that inner-world experiences are private diminishes. These patients lose the sense that they are the origin of their thoughts and actions; their self-evident network of meanings and a solid foundation of life disintegrate. Subsequently, their experiential world is transformed, alienated, intruded, and fragmented. In this article, a phenomenological investigation of the self-experiences and actions of 4 patients with schizophrenia is presented.

Prim Care Companion CNS Disord 2013;15(1):doi:10.4088/PCC.12m01382

Submitted: March 27, 2012; accepted October 3, 2012.

Published online: January 17, 2013.

Corresponding author: Henriette D. Heering, MSc, Department of Early Psychosis, Academic Medical Center, Melbergdreef 5, Amsterdam, Noord-Holland 1105 AZ, The Netherlands (h.d.heering@amc.uva.nl).