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

Journal article


Luderowski, Ana and Boden, Zoë VR (2019). Love and incomprehensibility: The hermeneutic labour of caring for and understanding a loved one with psychosis. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine. 24 (6), pp. 737-754. https://doi.org/10.1177/1363459319829189
AuthorsLuderowski, Ana and Boden, Zoë VR
AbstractInformal carers are increasingly involved in supporting people with severe and enduring mental health problems, and carers’ perceptions impact 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 while 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.
KeywordsHealth(social science)
Year2019
JournalHealth: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine
Journal citation24 (6), pp. 737-754
PublisherSAGE Publications
ISSN1363-4593
1461-7196
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1177/1363459319829189
Publication dates
Online02 Apr 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited05 Dec 2018
Accepted05 Dec 2018
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Open
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