• Anders Ejstrup Hedegaard
4. term, Psychology, Master (Master Programme)
Background: The psychiatric treatment of schizophrenia in Danish psychiatry is one of the greatest tasks of public mental health. Each year thousands of people suffer the devastating consequences of a schizophrenia, which is affecting social, cognitive and psychological aspects of the life of the inflicted. The author of this thesis has himself been an intern on a danish psych ward working with psychotic patients, in which he experienced the massive pressure on the professionals to discharge patients efficiently and at a high rate, in which the psychological aspects of the treatment can take its toll. Schizophrenia is a very complex and still not fully understood disease concerning bio-psycho-social aspects of both treatment and the development of the disease, and the aetiology is still not specifically known, other than having a genetic compound to which environmental factors play a major role.
Aims: This thesis tends to investigate what role psychology has in the psychiatric treatment of schizophrenia patients, and how the psychologist can help secure the good treatment of the individual patients. This explorative study will be based on four interviews with psychologists, who are questioned about their experiences, thoughts on the matter and their approach to treating schizophrenia. To do this the development of modern day psychiatric practice and two psychological models for understanding the haunting psychological pains of schizophrenia will be presented and compared and discussed in relation to the interview data from the interviewed psychologists.
Participants: Four participants were recruited through e-mail from across the nation. The participants are all currently working with patients suffering of schizophrenia in different sectors of the overall treatment, hence working with different psychiatric levels-of-care
Method: This research was psychologist-informed. The data was collected using single in-depth interviews focused on psychologists’ views and their thoughts on the psychiatric treatment of schizophrenia and the role of psychology in this. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) methodology was used to analyse the data and explore the participants’ lived experiences and remarks on their own and the general treatment of schizophrenia.
Findings: The main themes identified were ‘Understanding schizophrenia’, ‘The psychological basis for treatment’ and ‘The psychiatric treatment and the room for psychology in it’. The findings showed that the psychologists’ thoughts on how the patients should be engaged and met in the treatment in a way to facilitate empowerment and recovery, had many similarities across different fields, but there were also individual differences in what aspects of the treatment were viewed as being essential for the general treatment. The psychology was important, especially for the therapeutic alliance and the basis for the outcome of the treatment.
The findings highlighted how the participants experienced a neglect of the idiographic approach to the individual patients, in which the patient must be acknowledged as a person seeking help and how the treatment therefore was less integrative, than what some thought it should be.
Conclusions: The aim for psychologists in the treatment of schizophrenia is to make psychology important in all aspects of the treatment, and hopefully make the psychological aspects of the treatment more important in the future psychiatric treatment, since it is important for the humane approach to patients of the health practitioners, the psychological understanding of what effects it has on a human to suffer of schizophrenia and the psychological aspects of how schizophrenic psychoses develop. The psychology therefore has not just a role in the treatment of schizophrenia, but also has a role in facilitating recovery oriented processes in the psychiatric treatment of schizophrenia, by ensuring the individuality and idiographic approach in psychiatric treatment.

Keywords: Mental health, psychiatry, schizophrenia, psychologists’ experiences, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, Laing, Dialogical Self Theory.
LanguageDanish
Publication date27 Sep 2019
Number of pages79
ID: 311540176