Weathering a violent storm together – Witnessing and co-constructing meaning in collaborative engagement with those experiencing psychosis-related challenges

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Abstract

The experience of psychosis can sweep into a life like a violent storm. In this paper, I first attempt to fully imagine the experience of such a storm by drawing on first person accounts and then consider the clinical encounter between mental health practitioners and those who find themselves amidst this storm. I reflect on ways we can better support meaning-making of, and purposefully living with, these potentially intensely distressing and disturbing experiences. Drawing on narrative and collaborative practices, I consider grounding the embodied experiences related to psychosis, honouring the stories of severe and enduring mental health problems and the life experiences that lead to them, accompanying people in their meaning-making of these experiences and joining in the fight against stigma. In particular, the importance of walking alongside those in the throes of the storm and bearing witness to their suffering is highlighted. Finally, the implications for the training of mental health professionals are considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-57
Number of pages10
JournalArts and Humanities in Higher Education
Volume17
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jan 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

Keywords

  • clinical encounter
  • collaborative practice
  • meaning-making
  • mental health practitioner training
  • mental ‘illness’
  • narrative
  • Psychosis
  • witnessing

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