We are fortunate to be able to host two guest lectures with Dr Eugenie Georgaca, who is well known both her community clinical work in mental health and her expertise in discourse analysis. Dr Eugenie Georgaca is a Senior Lecturer in clinical psychology at the School of Psychology of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece. She teaches, researches and publishes in the area of clinical psychology, psychotherapy and mental health, especially qualitative methodology and critical perspectives on psychopathology. She is the co-author ofDeconstructing Psychopathology (Sage, 1995) and author of numerous papers on psychotic discourse, delusions, discursive approaches to analyzing psychotherapy and social constructionist approaches to mental health categories and practices.
‘Examining the lived experience of psychosis’
Thursday June 5th, 2014, 2-4pm
Ellen Wilkinson, Room C3.30, University of Manchester
During the last decades there has been increasing research interest in examining mental disorders from the perspective of those who experience them, mainly though the use of qualitative methodologies, in an attempt to grasp the lived experience of these disorders, the ways in which they are understood and managed by those who experience them, as well as their effects on people’s lives. This talk attempts a methodological review of qualitative studies of the lived experience of psychosis, which has been conducted as part of a research project on the role of socioeconomic inequalities in the emergence, experience and management of psychosis. I will present (a) the phenomenological approach, which aims to define the essence of the psychotic experience, (b) the narrative and dialogical approach, which focuses on the constitution of the self in psychosis, through examining the characteristic features of self narratives, (c) the social constructionist approach, which through discourse analyzing the talk of people with experience of psychosis examines the social construction of distress, and (d) qualitative empirical studies which employ versions of thematic analysis to analyse interviews with people in distress, in order to highlight their experiences and views regarding various aspects of life with psychosis. For each of the approaches I examine the view of psychosis adopted, the research methodology employed, the main research findings and conclusions, as well as the role accorded to social factors and processes in the emergence, experience and management of psychosis.
‘Discourse analysis and mental distress: Contributions and limitations’
Thursday 12 June, 5-7pm
Ellen Wilkinson, Room AG3/4, University of Manchester
Discourse analytic approaches to mental distress have been developed in the last two decades as part of the broader social constructionist movement in psychology. In this talk I review existing discourse analytic studies on issues pertaining to mental distress, aiming to identify strengths and gaps in the existing literature as well as to assess their contribution to conceptualizing and managing distress. The studies reviewed seem to cluster around four themes: (a) exploring users’ accounts and experiences, (b) examining professional accounts and practices, (c) focusing on mental health related public texts and (d) deconstructing clinical categories. The main function of discourse analytic studies on mental distress has been to highlight the historically contingent and socially constructed character of professional forms of knowledge and practice. More specifically, this research trend has highlighted the discursive resources drawn upon to conceptualize mental distress, the discursive practices through which specific versions of distress are constructed and the discursive effects of these constructions for institutions, subjectivity and social practices. Discursive work on mental distress seems to be oriented towards critique and deconstruction and as such has not generated alternative, more empowering forms of managing distress.