Human Studies

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 23–42

A Phenomenological Analysis of the Psychotic Experience

  • A.-C. Leiviskä Deland
  • G. Karlsson
  • H. Fatouros-Bergman
Empirical Study / Analysis


Six individuals with experience of psychosis were interviewed about their psychotic experiences. The material was analyzed using the empirical phenomenological psychological method. The results consist of a whole meaning structure, a gestalt, entailing the following characteristics: The feeling of estrangement in relationship to the world; the dissolution of time; the loss of intuitive social knowledge; the alienation of oneself, and finally; the loss of intentionality/loss of agency. In brief, the results show that an altered perception of the self and the world was an essential part of the psychotic experience where subjects described themselves as changed; something was sensed as being wrong as psychosis is perceptible but hard to communicate. The normal life-world experience was altered and reality seemed strange. Time perception seemed to be changed as temporality appeared dissolved and the experience of time was focused on the current moment excluding the future. The subjects described loss of intentionality, they were no longer agents in their actions but partly steered by others and they could feel as if their experiences were not theirs. The patients also describe problems regarding their ability to socialize and communicate with others. They seem to lose their intuitive social capacity and were prone to suspiciousness.


Psychosis EPP empirical phenomenological psychological method Phenomenology Subjective experiences Schizophrenia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • A.-C. Leiviskä Deland
    • 1
  • G. Karlsson
    • 2
  • H. Fatouros-Bergman
    • 3
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Department of EducationStockholm UniversityStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Division of Psychiatry, Center for Psychiatric ResearchKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden

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