Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

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When Intimacy and Companionship are at the Core of the Phenomenological Research Process

Steen Halling


Historically, there has been an ambivalent attitude in psychology toward the place of the “subjective” both in clinical practice and in research. This has been true even for phenomenological research where there is a desire to embrace the personal while there is also a concern that findings be presented as if they are objective in the sense of having an existence independent of the particular researcher’s relationship to them. This article discusses a collaborative approach to research that depends on the development of a relationship of intimacy among the researchers and between the researchers and the phenomenon under study. The dialogal phenomenological approach has a twenty-year history and has been used to study phenomena such as social
activism, helping and healing, forgiveness, and hopelessness. Focusing especially on two recent studies of hopelessness, I discuss how in the context of dialogue among researchers presence and intimacy, and truth and understanding become possible, and how working collaboratively makes it easier to find words to speak to what one encounters.

Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, Volume 5, Edition 1 April 2005
AJOL African Journals Online