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Schizophr Bull. 2011 Jan;37(1):8-13. doi: 10.1093/schbul/sbq116. Epub 2010 Oct 20.

Subjectivity and severe psychiatric disorders.

Author information

  • Yale University School of Medicine, 50 Burton Street, New Haven, CT 06515, USA. john.strauss@yale.edu

Abstract

To have a complete human science in the mental health field it is essential to give adequate attention to both the objective and the subjective data related to people with psychiatric disorders. The tendency in the past has been to ignore or discount one or the other of these data sources. Subjective data are particularly neglected, sometimes considered (only) part of the "art" of medicine since the usual methodologies of the physical sciences in themselves are not adequate to reflect the nature, elusiveness, and complexity of human subjective experience. The complete experience of hallucinated voices, for instance, often includes not only the voices themselves but also terrible anguish and terrifying inability to concentrate. But even such descriptors fall unnecessarily short of reflecting the data of the experience, thus leaving research, theory, and treatment with incomplete information. To represent adequately the subjective data it is essential to recognize that besides the usual discursive knowledge and methods of traditional physical science, a second kind of knowledge and method is required to reflect the depth of human experience. To accomplish this, we must employ approaches to narrative and the arts that are uniquely capable of capturing the nature of these experiences. Only by attending seriously in our research, training, theory, and practice to the unique nature of subjective data is it possible to have a true human science for our field.

PMID:
20961994
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3004181
Free PMC Article
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