Abstract and Keywords
This introductory chapter discusses the primary focus of psychiatry and how phenomenological psychopathology in particular serves as the basis for psychiatry. It argues that psychiatry is not only a biological discipline. It must maintain an intense concern with the quality of patients’ experiences by focusing on the “psyche” and not just the brain, which is of interest to psychiatry only insofar as it helps one better understand the relevant psychic phenomena. Thus, one must investigate the relationship between these subjective experiences, the brain, and the way we classify psychiatric disorders. In this light, phenomenological psychopathology becomes increasingly central to these discussions. At present, the psychiatric study of psyche and subjectivity is defined mainly by changes in experience and behavior. Therefore, psychopathology, the discipline that assesses and makes sense of the suffering psyche, is at the heart of psychiatry.
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