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date: 23 April 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Personhood plays a fundamental, but obscure role in contemporary mental health care. The notion is of vital importance to phenomenological psychopathology because it articulates the interplay of autonomy and heteronomy, self and otherness, at work in mental suffering. The complexity of personhood is connected with the circumstance that to be a person is both a fact and a norm. To see every human being (ourselves as well as the other) as a person is a normative task that is rooted in the fact that a human being is an individual being who experiences herself as a unique and irreplaceable person. This experience of being a person is more than a sense of selfhood. It involves an otherness (e.g. body, world, other people) that is constitutive of our personal identity. Narrative explorations of the fragility of personal identity can help us to make sense of mental suffering.

Keywords: norm, fact, autonomy, selfhood, otherness, identity, narrative, mental suffering

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