The use of the Husserlian reduction as a method of investigation in psychiatry

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Husserlian reduction is a rigorous method for describing the foundations of psychiatric experience. With Jaspers we consider three main principles inspired by phenomenological reduction: direct givenness, absence of presuppositions, re-presentation. But with Binswanger alone we refer to eidetic and transcendental reduction: (1) to establish a critical epistemology; (2) to directly investigate the constitutive processes of mental phenomena and their disturbances, freed from their nosological background; (3) to question the constitution of our own experience when facing a person with mental illness. Regarding the last item, we suggest a specific kind of reduction, typically intersubjective from the start, which we call the ‘looking-glass reduction'. The schizophrenic experience -- understood as a ‘loss of taken-for-grantedness’ implying the constitutions of the body, of the other, and of internal time -- is a real ‘epochal provocation’ for the psychiatrist. As the horizon it opens seems to be both corporeal and narrative, this ‘provoking’ of an epoche in the attitude of the psychiatrist himself and the resistances it implies raise important issues regarding the general constitution of human experience.

Keywords: European psychopathogy; Husserl; Minkowski; Phenomenology; epoche; existence; reduction; schizophrenia; single case; time-consciousness

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 55 bis Bd Rodocanachi, 13008 Marseille, France.

Publication date: January 1, 1999

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