BSP Podcast: Valeria Bizzari – Phenomenology and its usefulness in psychopathology

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 9: 14 April 2017

This recording is of Valeria Bizzari’s presentation ‘Phenomenology and its usefulness in psychopathology: an “embodied” proposal’. 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’.

Abstract: “In the last few years, the phenomenological method and several notions such as Leib, natural attitude, corporeal schema and so on, have started to be addressed to the explanation of psychiatric diseases like schizophrenia and depression.
In fact, adopting a phenomenological approach to the study of illness seems to allow a fully understanding of the complexity of the human being and an improving of the therapeutical phase too, taking into account the subjectivity of the patient, the person behind the symptoms and the disruptions of the structures of consciousness.  The aim of this paper is to describe how this could happen and to support the liceity of the usage of phenomenological tools in psychopathology, with a special attention to the issue of intersubjectivity. For this reason, after briefly comparing Simulation Theories and Theory Theories, I will support a phenomenological interpretation of the intersubjective experience and I will focus on those pathologies which seem to involve a disruption of the “Social Self”, such as schizophrenia and autism, and I will suggest that they are essentially intersubjective diseases caused by a weakness of the pre-reflective and corporeal self-awareness. I will support my thesis with a “phenomenological test” that I have developed and applied on an Asperger subject: a semi-structured interview that, taking into account the phenomenological method and its principles, as well as stimulating the subject through images and questions about emotions and beliefs, has allowed an exploration of his (inter)subjective structures.  In the last part of my talk, I will suggest a therapy focused on the fortification of intercorporeality and of bodily awareness: my conclusion will be that phenomenology could improve psychopathology not just methodologically but also in the treatment of the patients.”

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.