Title

The meaning of fighting and hiding for persons diagnosed with mental illness

1

Location

Regency Room

Start Time

29-9-2016 8:30 AM

End Time

29-9-2016 10:00 AM

Session Type

Research Paper

Abstract

Purpose/aims

Canada’s first national mental health strategy requires a transformation away from a singular focus on symptom reduction towards personal recovery: supporting individuals in exercising self-determination, participating in meaningful occupations and relationships, and living satisfying and hopeful lives. The implementation of recovery-oriented care, however, faces two inter-related knowledge gaps that may be addressed by research: (1) how persons diagnosed with mental illness enact their well-being in the context of their everyday lives; and (2) how to differentiate the conceptualization of personal recovery from how it is experienced distinctively by every person. In this study, I aim to address these associated knowledge gaps by exploring what is revealed as meaningful for individuals diagnosed with mental illness in their first-person accounts of being with and being apart from others, and discussing what these accounts may add to generally understood conceptions of personal recovery such as connectedness (Leamy, Bird, Le Boutillier, Williams, & Slade, 2011).

Methods

Using a philosophical hermeneutics approach of entering into what is strange and unfamiliar in a text, and of reflecting critically on the choices made during the interpretive process itself (Davey, 2006, pp.1-36), I analyzed and interpreted the collective narrative of five adult participants diagnosed with mental illness. Their collective narrative was generated during a two-hour long focus group that took place as part of a larger participatory action research study focussed on transforming mental health services at an urban hospital towards recovery-oriented care (Park et al. 2014). During these focus groups, participants were asked to tell stories regarding an aspect of recovery (e.g. “Could you please tell us a story related to hope?”) and about significant experiences in their everyday lives (e.g. “Can you tell us about a time that stands out in your memory?”).

Results and implications

The philosophical hermeneutics analysis revealed how activities, such as “fighting” and “hiding”, were modes of action that supported the participants’ well-being and empowerment. These actions reveal the agency and intentionality of the participants when negotiating being with or being apart from others. Outlining how I operationalized a philosophical hermeneutics approach, I will also discuss the implications of this hiding and fighting for widening present conceptions of what it may mean to be a “socially-occupied being” (Lawlor, 2003) and how everyday actions are modes of being to both connect to others as well as maintain what Corin (1998) called “positive withdrawal”.

Keywords

Sociality, philosophical hermeneutics, personal recovery

Discussion Questions

(1) How could current conceptions of the meaningful activities of personal recovery be widened and nuanced?

(2) What are the uses and value of first-person perspectives? For whom? For which purposes? In which settings?

(3) How may occupational scientists and researchers uncover and be responsive to unexpected, unacknowledged, or overlooked actions that people diagnosed with mental illness take for their well-being?

References

Corin, E. (198). The thickness of being: Intentional worlds, strategies of identity, and experience among schizophrenics. Psychiatry, 61(2), 133-146.

Davey, N. (2006). Chapter One: Philosophical hermeneutics: Navigating the Approaches In Unquiet understanding: Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics (pp.1-36). Albany, NY: State of New York University Press.

Lawlor, M. C. (2003). "The significance of being occupied: The social construction of childhood occupations." The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57(4): 424-435.

Leamy, M., Bird, V., Le Boutillier, C., Williams, J., & Slade, M. (2011). Conceptual framework for personal recovery in mental health: Systematic review and narrative synthesis. British Journal of Psychiatry, 199(6), 445-452.

Park, M., Zafran, H., Stewart, J., Salsberg, J., Ells, C., Rouleau, S., Estein, O., & Valente, T. W. (2014). Transforming mental health services: a participatory mixed methods study to promote and evaluate the implementation of recovery-oriented services. Implementation Science, 9, 119.

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Sep 29th, 8:30 AM Sep 29th, 10:00 AM

The meaning of fighting and hiding for persons diagnosed with mental illness

Regency Room

Purpose/aims

Canada’s first national mental health strategy requires a transformation away from a singular focus on symptom reduction towards personal recovery: supporting individuals in exercising self-determination, participating in meaningful occupations and relationships, and living satisfying and hopeful lives. The implementation of recovery-oriented care, however, faces two inter-related knowledge gaps that may be addressed by research: (1) how persons diagnosed with mental illness enact their well-being in the context of their everyday lives; and (2) how to differentiate the conceptualization of personal recovery from how it is experienced distinctively by every person. In this study, I aim to address these associated knowledge gaps by exploring what is revealed as meaningful for individuals diagnosed with mental illness in their first-person accounts of being with and being apart from others, and discussing what these accounts may add to generally understood conceptions of personal recovery such as connectedness (Leamy, Bird, Le Boutillier, Williams, & Slade, 2011).

Methods

Using a philosophical hermeneutics approach of entering into what is strange and unfamiliar in a text, and of reflecting critically on the choices made during the interpretive process itself (Davey, 2006, pp.1-36), I analyzed and interpreted the collective narrative of five adult participants diagnosed with mental illness. Their collective narrative was generated during a two-hour long focus group that took place as part of a larger participatory action research study focussed on transforming mental health services at an urban hospital towards recovery-oriented care (Park et al. 2014). During these focus groups, participants were asked to tell stories regarding an aspect of recovery (e.g. “Could you please tell us a story related to hope?”) and about significant experiences in their everyday lives (e.g. “Can you tell us about a time that stands out in your memory?”).

Results and implications

The philosophical hermeneutics analysis revealed how activities, such as “fighting” and “hiding”, were modes of action that supported the participants’ well-being and empowerment. These actions reveal the agency and intentionality of the participants when negotiating being with or being apart from others. Outlining how I operationalized a philosophical hermeneutics approach, I will also discuss the implications of this hiding and fighting for widening present conceptions of what it may mean to be a “socially-occupied being” (Lawlor, 2003) and how everyday actions are modes of being to both connect to others as well as maintain what Corin (1998) called “positive withdrawal”.

Keywords

Sociality, philosophical hermeneutics, personal recovery

Discussion Questions

(1) How could current conceptions of the meaningful activities of personal recovery be widened and nuanced?

(2) What are the uses and value of first-person perspectives? For whom? For which purposes? In which settings?

(3) How may occupational scientists and researchers uncover and be responsive to unexpected, unacknowledged, or overlooked actions that people diagnosed with mental illness take for their well-being?