Approaching patients with hyperreflectivity and perplexity: an empirical qualitative investigation

Abordando pacientes com hiper-reflexão e perplexidade: uma investigação qualitativa empírica

Sidse Marie Arnfred Paul Møller Annette Sofie Davidsen About the authors



Perplexity and hyperreflectivity are considered important aspects of self-disorders in patients with schizophrenia, yet knowledge of the appropriate psychotherapy for these patients is sparse. We aimed to explore how phenomenological psychologists or psychiatrists described their approach to these patients and their own emotional response when hyperreflectivity and perplexity emerged in therapy or consultations.


Four e-mail interviews with experienced clinical researchers within the field of phenomenology and schizophrenia were examined using a double hermeneutic qualitative analysis.


The informants offered reassurance by authority and the encouragement of sharing of experiences interlaced in the beginning of therapy. Later they went on relating expressions of hyperreflectivity and perplexity to emotions, life events and goals. They described feelings of admiration and professional recognition along with worry, insecurity and sadness.


The list of primary themes covers what might seem very basic therapeutic interventions. However, the careful and open-minded manner in which these were carried out was noteworthy. The double task of staying closely attuned to the patient’s airy reflections and, at the same time, when the patient was ready for it, carefully making links to domains of the patient’s everyday life, was clearly molded to patients with fragile attachment.

Phenomenology; psychotherapy; schizophrenia; subjectivity; self-disorders

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