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    'The top of my head came off': an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of depression

    Rhodes, J. and Smith, Jonathan A. (2010) 'The top of my head came off': an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of depression. Counselling Psychology Quarterly 23 (4), pp. 399-409. ISSN 0951-5070.

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    This study explored what it is actually like to be depressed, that is, to capture the content and complexity of this experience from the view point of the sufferer. We present a case study using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) of one man diagnosed with reactive depression. A semi-structured interview explored the experience of depression. The interview was transcribed and analysed using IPA. We describe how his depression occurred in the context of work and financial difficulties and note how a sense of vulnerability emerged and contrast with his reported experience of conventional masculinity. The process of becoming depressed involved the eruption of old negative memories and a catastrophic view of the present and future involving failure and death. We present a detailed analysis of two metaphorical constructions of depression. The features of depression form an interconnected whole. The experience of depression is so extreme that it is reported as if the person or self is dying. Onset appears to involve the destruction of highly valued life projects of the person. For some individuals, metaphors and images may be an actual part of the experience itself and contribute to it.


    Item Type: Article
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): depression, phenomenology, metaphors, narrative, images, masculinity
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Depositing User: Sarah Hall
    Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 15:19
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:20


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