• Trine Rasmussen
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
The purpose of this thesis is to examine how involvement with the psychiatric system affects the identity of people with mental illness. The study applies abductive reasoning and is based on a phenomenological- hermeneutical perspective, which is related to the choice of using the narra-tive method. The study is based on interviews with six interviewees, who are associated to the psychiatric system due to their mental disorder. The empirical data will be analysed using three approaches to the analysis of qualitative data:
1. A meaning condensation of the six interviewee’s life stories.
2. An analysis of the six life stories using the narrative theory in order to clarify, how the in-volvement with the psychiatric system affected the identity in each interviewees life story.
3. A thematic analysis of relevant themes shown in the narrative analysis in order to illus-trate, how the involvement with the psychiatric system affects the identity of people with mental illness. In this analysis, Axel Honneths theory of recognition and Linde Hildemann Nelsons theory of the narrative identity will be used.

The study has reached the conclusion that there are some general patterns in the way the in-volvement with the psychiatric system affects the identity of people with mental illness.
Firstly, the influence depended on what experience was associated with being involved with the psychiatric system. All interviewees experienced being let down in their interaction with the psy-chiatric system which influenced their identity in relation to loss of self-esteem, anger and rejec-tion of society and the social system. In addition, these experiences influenced their identity in re-lation to loss of self-appreciation, indignation and distrust in others and themselves. Most inter-viewees experienced being deprived their autonomy in the involvement with the psychiatric sys-tem, which influenced their identity in relation to loss of physical integrity and loss of self-esteem. Alternately some of the interviewees experienced being recognized, supported and listened to in their involvement with the psychiatric system, which influenced their identity in relation to devel-opment of confidence and self-esteem in relation to their own abilities.
Secondly, there are some elements related to the system that affected their identity too. Getting a psychiatric diagnosis influenced some of the interviewee’s identity in different ways. Some of the interviewees changed the way they saw themselves partly because of the ambient people changed their view on them as an individual. This restricted their capacity to feel like an individual who deserved moral respect. For other interviewees, the diagnosis was used to distance their mental illness from the identity, which helped them maintain the identity they had before they got the psychiatric diagnosis. In addition their role as a client and the fact that they rely on the system’s help influenced some of the interviewee’s identity as they changed the way they see themselves and their identity due to loss of independence and loss of ability to take care of them-selves.
LanguageDanish
Publication date14 Sep 2015
Number of pages111
ID: 218821655