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Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology

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The Experience of Being Diagnosed with a Psychiatric Disorder: Living the Label

Zelda G Knight, Bruce C Bradfield

Abstract


Informed by the investigative thrust of phenomenological inquiry and the ‘phenomenology of intersubjectivity’, the overarching aim of this article is to provide an accurate illumination of the experience of being diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, and thus being ‘a labelled individual’. This article is based on research that sought to understand the impact of the psychiatric label upon labelled individuals interpersonal and intersubjective presence as experienced outside the psychiatric institution. The principle question asked was: “What is the experience of being a labelled individual in the world?”. It was discovered that psychiatric labelling unfolds as a disconnection and dislocation from co-existence with others. Moreover, labelling had the effect of robbing such individuals of their subjectivity, rendering them lonely, misunderstood and viewed as somehow defective, disabled and wrong.

Indo-Pacific Journal of Phenomenology, Volume 3, Edition 1, November 2003



http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/20797222.2003.11433882
AJOL African Journals Online