Recovery From First-Episode Psychosis and Recovering Self: A Qualitative Study

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Abstract

Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the subjective factors associated with the experience of first-episode psychosis (FEP) and the very first stages of recovery to develop our understanding of this process and improve treatment outcomes. Method: Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis was used to explore the experiences of 20 young people who had recently experienced FEP. Results: Two broad superordinate themes captured essential thematic trends in the data: experiences of self-estrangement and self-consolidation. The concept of dialogical self was used to understand the effect of psychosis on self and the process of resuming familiar social positions to facilitate recovery. The concept of making meaning after traumatic events was also applied to the narratives of personal growth that participants formed. Those who reported subjective improvements in recovery were more likely to have developed a meaningful interpretation of their psychosis, strengthened relationships with others, and forged a stronger sense of self. Conclusions and Implications for Practice: The experience of self-consolidation was strongly associated with the person’s resumption of familiar social roles and their ability to make meaning from their experience in a way that promoted personal growth. Although these processes are known to be part of personal recovery, this study highlights their importance in the very early stages of recovery immediately after the experience of FEP.

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