Knowing our own minds: the role and value of experiential knowledge in mental health research

Faulkner, A. (2017). Knowing our own minds: the role and value of experiential knowledge in mental health research. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)

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Abstract

This PhD thesis by prior publication describes a journey through the author's experiential knowledge and research development to a position where an understanding of this contribution is achieved with the assistance of emancipatory and standpoint research paradigms. The ten papers submitted as part of this thesis span a total of 12 years and a range of approaches including user-led or survivor research, user-controlled research and service user involvement in research. All of these terms are explored in relation to the ten publications for the different emphasis given to experiential knowledge and the relative power which that knowledge can attain.

The research establishes service users/survivors as researchers and as the 'knowers' of mental distress, of mental health services and of their(our) discriminated status within society, presenting critical perspectives on mainstream mental health services and treatments. A central theme is the significance of relationship and connectedness (often established through different manifestations of 'peer support') in the development of experiential knowledge.

This body of knowledge represents both a contribution and a challenge to mainstream mental health knowledge and mental health research. Issues of power and identity run through much of this thesis; the dominant psychiatric discourse leaves little space in mental health research for the knowledge that comes from direct experience. Nevertheless, the papers demonstrate that survivor research has carved itself a significant space for experiential knowledge over the last couple of decades, and it is hoped that the newlyframed discipline of Mad Studies will further validate that space and the knowledge(s) that can grow within it.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: School of Health Sciences > Department of Mental Health & Learning Disability
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/17455

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