Love and Incomprehensibility: The hermeneutic labour of caring for and understanding a loved one with psychosis

Journal article


Ana, L and Boden, Z. (2019). Love and Incomprehensibility: The hermeneutic labour of caring for and understanding a loved one with psychosis. Health.
AuthorsAna, L and Boden, Z.
Abstract

Informal carers are increasingly involved in supporting people with severe and enduring mental health problems, and carers’ perceptions impact on the wellbeing of both parties. However, there is little research on how carers actually make sense of what their loved one is experiencing. Ten carers were interviewed about how they understood a loved one’s psychosis. Data were analysed using a hermeneutic-phenomenological approach. Three themes described the carers’ effortful quest to understand their loved one’s experiences whilst maintaining their relational bonds. Carers described psychosis as incomprehensible, seeing their loved one as incompatible with the shared world. To overcome this, carers developed hermeneutic ‘mooring points’, making sense of their loved one’s unusual experiences through novel accounts that drew on material or spiritual explanations. The findings suggest that informal carers resist biomedical narratives and develop idiosyncratic understandings of psychosis, in an attempt to maintain relational closeness. We suggest that this process is effortful – it is hermeneutic labour – done in the service of maintaining the caring relationship. Findings imply that services should better acknowledge the bond between carers and care-receivers, and that more relationally-oriented approaches should be used to support carers of people experiencing severe mental health problems.

Keywordscarer; psychosis; understanding; hermeneutic labour; psychoeducation; mental health; qualitative; Relationality; Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis
Year2019
JournalHealth
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN1363-4593
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1177/1363459319829189
Publication dates
Print02 Apr 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Dec 2018
Accepted05 Dec 2018
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY 4.0
File Access Level
Open
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https://openresearch.lsbu.ac.uk/item/86708

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