An Examination of Psychiatric-Mental Health Outcomes From the Perspectives of Logical Positivism and Phenomenology

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The current philosophical paradigm in psychiatry is based in logical positivism, as outcomes are viewed as objective and scientifically verifiable. This approach, although making important contributions to the field, fails to acknowledge outcomes from the perspective of the client. A growing movement within the mental health field is promoting the use of phenomenology and the lived experience, which provides new opportunities for defining outcomes from the client's perspective. The purpose of this article is to briefly review the main tenets of both philosophical perspectives and to demonstrate how these perspectives influence the conceptualization of outcomes in psychiatric-mental health nursing practice and research. Finally, a proposal is made for clinicians and researchers to adopt an integrative model, a blending of the two viewpoints, to capture the most complete experience of the client and to define the most appropriate outcomes.

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