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J Med Philos. 2014 Aug;39(4):346-67. doi: 10.1093/jmp/jhu023. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

The contribution of existential phenomenology in the recovery-oriented care of patients with severe mental disorders.

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  • 1University of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland


Promoting recovery has become more and more important in the care of patients with severe mental disorders such as psychosis. Recovery is a personal process of growth involving hope, self-identity, meaning in life, and responsibility. Obviously, these components pertain, at least in part, to a psychotherapeutic care perspective. Yet, up to now, recovery has mainly been taken into account in transforming health services and as a general framework for supportive therapy. Existential phenomenology abdicates a theoretical stance and considers issues such as death anxiety, isolation, responsibility, and meaning. Thus, it is likely to provide some insight into the psychotherapeutic aspects of recovery. Furthermore, existential psychotherapy allows powerful insights for adopting a recovery-oriented attitude and to provide useful themes for discussing issues allowing patients to gain meaning and hope. This paper describes these elements to give clinicians insights into this complex topic.

© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press, on behalf of the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy Inc. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


existential phenomenology; psychosis; recovery

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