Relating to the Other in Psychosis: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Walsh, Maria Bernadette
There is little doubt that social and interpersonal processes are key factors in the development and maintenance of, as well as recovery from, psychosis. Many aspects of the social world have been researched in relation to psychotic experiences and much learnt about the impact of early family life, difficulties in social cognition and the importance of social support, rejection and stigma. However, little is understood about the lived experiences of these interpersonal processes from the point of view of those with psychosis themselves. The aim of the following study was to explore how people with psychosis experience other people and make sense of their interpersonal experiences. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with two men and five women experiencing psychosis. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used to analyse the verbatim transcripts, from which three master themes emerged. These were: ‘Finding a place in society’, ‘Interpersonal mistrust’ and ‘Undermined by inner/outer disturbance’. These findings are discussed in relation to the literature on interpersonal processes and psychosis along with the limitations of the current study. Implications and suggestions for future research and clinical practice are also discussed.