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date: 22 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the role of memoirs and autobiographical accounts of mental illness in phenomenological psychopathology. First, it argues that, due to the specific nature of phenomenology as a discipline, and despite the concerns which may be raised regarding the use of illness narratives, the examination of life stories is in this context a fundamental research tool. It is then suggested that the consideration of autobiographical stories can enhance our understanding of mental illness also because various forms of psychiatric experience involve alterations of narrative self-understanding, and the case of depression is discussed as an example. Finally, it is also suggested that narrativity is relevant to phenomenological psychopathology because autobiographical story-telling can contribute in various ways to the processes which are involved in the recovery from mental illness.

Keywords: phenomenology, memoirs, autobiography, narratives, story-telling, psychopathology, recovery

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