BSP Podcast: Ingrid Wilkinson – Post-stroke changes in the experience of walking

podcast update

Season one of our podcast continues with another panel presentation from the British Society for Phenomenology Annual Conference in 2016.

Season 1 episode 10: 21 April 2017

This recording is of Ingrid Wilkinson’s presentation ‘Post-stroke changes in the embodied experience of walking – moving beyond body structures, activity and participation’. You can listen to this episode on the BSP’s Podbean site, and you can also find it on iTunes and all good podcasting apps by searching ‘BSP Podcast’.

Other authors: Dr IA Wilkinson Hart; Dr P Taylor;  Prof J Burridge;  Dr J Wintrup.

Abstract: “The gait rehabilitation research tends to investigate body structures, activity and participation in line with World Health Organisation definitions and rarely focuses on individual’s lived experience.  This study appears to be the first to systematically explore walking from the perspective of individuals who have had a stroke. This study aimed to highlight valued aspects of walking to inform outcome measurement and future clinical trials.  Four interviews were undertaken using an interpretative phenomenological approach with people who were approximately three years post-stroke.  The participants spoke about walking within the context of activities that they identified as personally important.  They valued being able to walk distances at a reasonable speed, being independent, safe and confident.  They missed their pre-stroke spontaneity, freedom, agility and their lost automatic body movement.  The participants gave examples of post-stroke walking related changes in their self-perception, roles and embodied experience of walking that are rarely mentioned in the rehabilitation literature, apart from in personal accounts written by people living with chronic illness.  They described their new unreliable post-stroke body that caused them to feel vulnerable. Use of interpretive phenomenological analysis allowed an in depth exploration of walking and unanticipated themes emerged.  Participants spoke about their previously ‘taken for granted’ body that they thematised post-stroke.  This echoes Drew Leder’s description of a body that recedes from our thoughts in health and advances to the foreground of our awareness in illness.  These participants also spoke about changes in their personal freedom and autonomy resulting from post-stroke walking difficulties.  Such ideas are found in philosophical publications but are rarely discussed in clinical rehabilitation journals.  The study reported here has explored the embodied experience of walking and dissemination could begin a debate that may improve care and outcome measurement and lead to a greater understanding of walking as a phenomenon.”

The British Society for Phenomenology’s Annual Conference took place at The International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Manchester, UK during September, 2016. It gathered together philosophers, literary scholars, phenomenologists, and practitioners exploring phenomenological theory and its practical application. It covered a broad range of areas and issues including the arts, ethics, medical humanities, mental health, education, technology, feminism, politics and political governance, with contributions throwing a new light on both traditional phenomenological thinkers and the themes associated with classical phenomenology. More information about the conference can be found here.