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date: 16 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how the phenomenological approach to psychopathology contributes to clinical decision making in psychiatry. It first considers competing forces in psychiatric clinical decision making, focusing in particular on the barriers that patients face in their search for a clinician to make their stories real. It then discusses factors that have contributed to the decline of phenomenological psychopathology, including the increase in importance of diagnostic classifications in psychiatry such as the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 3rd edition (American Psychiatric Association 1980); changes in the delivery of public mental health services; and increased attention to risk assessment for severe mental illness. It also describes clinical encounters with two patients that illustrate how phenomenological psychiatry can still contribute to sound clinical decision making.

Keywords: clinical decision making, phenomenological psychopathology, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 3rd edition, public mental health services, risk assessment, mental illness, phenomenological psychiatry

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