Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Understanding experience and constructing identity in 'spiritually transformative' accounts of 'psychosis' : a study of first-person narratives on the Internet
Author: Peddie, James
ISNI:       0000 0004 5368 6640
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2014
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
Psychosis and Schizophrenia have been associated with severe disruptions in self-narrative, which may be driven by a medical model which denies meaning to psychotic-like-experience (PLE), and negatively positions 'patients'. Alternative understandings of PLE exist cross/sub-culturally, and have been associated with good outcomes. Furthermore, a marginalised but significant body of theory proposes that PLE may represent an adaptive problem-solving or paradigm-shifting mechanism, reconfiguring redundant conceptualisations of 'reality'. Drawing on Positioning theory, and the critical work of Michel Foucault, to inform a Critical Narrative Analysis, this thesis interrogates the potentially transformative impact of understanding out-of-the-ordinary experiences, such as seeing visions, or hearing voices, from a 'spiritual' or 'mystical' rather than 'medical' perspective. Taking a multiple casestudy approach, three publicly available self-narratives of 'spiritually' transformative 'Psychosis' are explored. The nature of the 'self' produced, narratives drawn upon and implications for the medical model are considered. All three accounts draw on an idiosyncratic 'bricolage' of narrative resources to integrate their PLE into richly developed self-narratives. PLE is understood as profoundly meaningful, external to the self and universally accessible. The experience drives a reconstruction of 'reality' which repositions the narrator, and allows them to transcend unwanted aspects of their 'prior-selves'. A dichotomy is introduced between enlightened and unenlightened minds, which necessitates restricted communication, and tactical silencing. From a Foucauldian perspective (2006a) the accounts are seen to function in a fashion comparable to the 'mystical/spiritual' 'counter-conduct'; troubling the dimorphism between 'patient' and 'professional'; reversing the medical 'gaze'; and drawing on the counter-readings of 'spiritual' sub-communities to reverse the hierarchy of 'truth' and determine their own 'reality'. Implications for further research, and professional practice, are discussed in light of the analysis.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral