More about Phenomenology and Related Areas of Continental Philosophy

 

Besides phenomenology, contributions to values-based practice have come from the existential and hermeneutic traditions.

The philosopher and anthropologist Katherine Morris’ work on body dysmorphophobia, for example, draws directly on the existential philosopher, Jean Paul Sartre’s phenomenology of the body

  • Morris, K. J. (2003) The phenomenology of body dysmorphic disorder: a Sartrean analysis. Chapter 11 in Fulford, K. W. M., Morris, K. J., Sadler, J. Z., and Stanghellini, G. (eds.) Nature and Narrative: An Introduction to the New Philosophy of Psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 270-274.

Hermeneutics is the inspiration for work by the Dutch philosopher-nurse partnership of Guy Widdershoven and Ineka Widdershoven-Heerding on improving communication in dementia

  • Widdershoven, G. and Widdershoven-Heerding, I. (2003) Understanding Dementia: a Hermeneutic Perspective. Chapter 6 in Fulford, K. W. M., Morris, K. J., Sadler, J. Z., and Stanghellini, G. (eds.) Nature and Narrative: An Introduction to the New Philosophy of Psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp.103-112.

Matthew Philpott’s work as a PhD student in the PEMH (Philosophy and Ethics of Mental Health) program at Warwick University combined Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology with his own experience of dyslexia to provide an understanding of certain features of this condition consistent with otherwise anomalous brain imaging findings.

  • Philpott, M.J., (1998) A Phenomenology of Dyslexia: The Lived-Body, Ambiguity, and the Breakdown of Expression. Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology, 5/1, 1-20; with commentaries by, Komesaroff, P.A., and Wiltshire, J., pps 21-24, Rippon, G., pps 25-28, and Widdershoven, G.A.M., pps 29-32; and author’s response to the commentaries, pps 33-36.

The North American psychologist Stephen Sabat worked with the Oxford philosopher Rom Harré using a discursive paradigm to enhance understanding in various challenging areas of psychopathology. Building on this work Stephen subsequently published a book offering a number of very specific ways of improving communication with people with Alzheimer’s disease.

  • Sabat, S.R. (2001) The Experience of Alzheimer’s Disease: Life Through a Tangled Veil. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers

Aesthetic values, although not prominent in the work of the Oxford School, are an important focus of recent work drawing in part on the phenomenological tradition and in part on the social sciences.

The Austrian psychiatrist and philosopher Michael Musalek has reorganized one of the largest drug treatment facilities in Europe on social aesthetic principles and has a phenomenologist (Martin Poltrum) as a full-time member of his team. The British psychiatrist and photographer Helena Fox is using social aesthetics as the basis of new work on enhancing empathy.

  • Musalek, M., 2010 Social aesthetics and the management of addiction. Current Opinion in Psychiatry 2010, 23; 530-535

Helena and Michael have set up AiMH (the Aesthetics in Mental Health Network) in the Collaborating Centre. AiMH includes a diverse range of partners working in innovative ways between aesthetics and mental health.

For more extensive reading guides on phenomenology and related areas – see in particular the guide to ‘Phenomenology and Psychopathology Today’ in

  • Fulford, K.W.M., Thornton, T., and Graham, G. (2006) Karl Jaspers and General Psychopathology. Chapter 8 In: Fulford, K.W.M., Thornton, T., Graham, G. The Oxford Textbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp 316-383.

The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry in includes a number of articles on key topics – see especially Section V

  • Fulford KWM, Davies M, Gipps R, Graham G, Sadler J, Stanghellini G, Thornton T. (2013) Section V, Descriptive Psychopathology, pps 547 – 730 in Fulford KWM, Davies M, Gipps R, Graham G, Sadler J, Stanghellini G, Thornton T (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Psychiatry. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Giovanni Stanghellini is the lead editor for a forthcoming Oxford Handbook on the role of phenomenology in mental health

  • Stanghellini, G., Broome, M., Fernandez, A., Fusar Poli, P., Raballo, A., and Rosfort, R. (forthcoming) Oxford Handbook of Phenomenological Psychopathology. Oxford: Oxford University Press