Beyond adaptation, beyond the negative - Phenomenological reflections on schizophrenic existence

In this booklet (PDF) you find four papers on the cross-domain of philosophy and psychiatry, all four of them circling around the concept and experience of psychosis, and all four rooted in the tradition of phenomenological psychiatry. The four authors, Elizabeth Pienkos, Jasper Feyaerts, Rob Sips and Wouter Kusters came together at the conference in Rotterdam in August 2019 of the ISPS (The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis). The theme of the conference was Stranger in the City: The Circular Relationship between Alienation and Psychosis and the Healing Power of Human Reconnection. 

In the papers city life is, implicitly or more explicitly, discussed as a factor for alienation. A more distinctive feature of this collection of papers is that they all four somehow transgress the usual boundaries of phenomenological orientations in psychiatry that tend to focus on the individual, the intra-psychic, and that only secondarily refer to the relations, connections and disconnections with the social.

The four authors explore various pathways into and out of the mind, the spirit, and psychosis. We find  historical investigations into too often forgotten phenomenologists; critical analyses of so-called delusions, thought insertions and paranoia; reinterpretations of schizophrenia as an intersubjective disorder or situation, instead of as an ipseity disorder or a mental illness; reflections and self-reflections on what the basis or truth of the subject and her thinking is, and how this can be accessed by another subject, and more.

After these thoughts, these texts and papers, the conclusion should be clear, as expressed in the title: when we want to find out more about schizophrenic or psychotic existence, we cannot and should not be satisfied with lazy detached observations and general theorising in terms of only negative terms like lack, disorder, disfunctioning. And when we combine detailed empirical studies with thorough pheneomenological reflections, we find instead of a one-sided adaptation, a careful searching for a common ground – beyond adaptation and beyond the negative. 

Download PDF here.