Phenomenology, Health Care, and Qualitative Research

For decades, phenomenology has been used as a method for qualitative health care research. It provides insight into the experiences of both patients and health care professionals, guiding clinical practice and enhancing patient care. But although phenomenology does offer important resources, its actual use in research and clinical practice has been hampered by widespread misunderstandings of its central tenets and by too superficial or too theoretical engagements with its philosophical texts.

In this workshop, we bring together experts trained in philosophy, qualitative research, and nursing to reintroduce phenomenology in an accessible manner and in a way that provides clear and productive avenues for concrete application. Drawing on decades of work on the topic, and a recognized world-leading expertise in phenomenology, we convey phenomenological concepts—including empathy, the lifeworld, and the lived body—and illustrate them with clear examples of their clinical applications and use in research. We’ll consider general clinical questions, such as…

  • How do patients understand themselves in the wake of a diagnosis? Why do some patients experience diagnosis as a source of relief and coherence, whereas others experience the very same diagnosis as a source of rupture and distress? And how can health professionals help patients cope with receiving a diagnosis?
  • How do patients make sense of their interactions with health care professionals? Which kinds of interactions produce feelings of shame or insignificance? And how can we engage in more supportive and fulfilling interactions?
  • Do patients feel at home in their clinical environment, such as the exam room or hospital ward? If not, how do they make sense of theses spaces? And how can we help them feel more at home in these environments?

 We’ll also illustrate how to address more specific research questions, such as…

  • How does smoking addiction shape the space of embodied possibilities for people living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? And how can this kind of understanding help us more effectively care for people with this kind of condition?
  • How should we understand the experience of left hemi-spatial neglect following a stroke? In what sense are people or objects outside of the person’s conscious awareness still “present”? And how is one’s experience of bodily ownership altered in this condition?

Date: May 4th to 6th, 2020

Location: University of Copenhagen, South Campus

Registration: THE WORKSHOP IS NOW FULL AND REGISTRATION IS CLOSED. HOWEVER, PEOPLE MIGHT STILL SIGN UP AND WILL THEN BE ADDED TO A WAITING LIST. YOU WILL BE NOTIFIED IN CASE OF ANY VACANCIES/CANCELLATIONS. IF ENOUGH PEOPLE SIGN UP FOR THE WAITING LIST, THE ORGANIZERS WILL CONSIDER REPEATING THE WORKSHOP AT SOME LATER POINT.

Lodging: Lodging should be reserved individually.

 

Day 1: Philosophical Phenomenology in Health Care

The first day will include a series of lectures by all six workshop speakers, covering topics such as (a) the history of philosophical phenomenology in health care; (b) the role of phenomenology for understanding patient experience; (c) the phenomenological concepts of the life-world and being-in-the-world; (d) where qualitative phenomenology went wrong; and (e) examples of how philosophical phenomenology has been successfully applied in qualitative research.

Day 2: Conceptual Foundations and Clinical Applications

The second day will include lectures by Anthony Fernandez and Dan Zahavi on phenomenological concepts of the lived body and empathy, followed by an exercise on using phenomenological concepts to analyse clinical case studies, led by Marianne Klinke and Kristian Martiny.

Day 3: Phenomenology and Qualitative Research

The third day will include lectures by Simon Høffding and Susanne Ravn on phenomenological approaches to interviewing and data analysis, followed by an exercise on phenomenologically analysing interview data.

Speakers

Dan Zahavi is professor of philosophy at University of Copenhagen and University of Oxford and Director of the Center for Subjectivity Research. Zahavi is a leading figure in the field of phenomenology. He has published extensively on Husserl, and worked systematically on topics related to consciousness, selfhood, empathy and sociality.

Anthony Vincent Fernandez is assistant professor of philosophy at Kent State University and a postdoctoral research fellow at University of Oxford. His primary research is on methodological issues in applied phenomenology, including applications of phenomenology in psychiatry and medicine.

Kristian Martiny is co-founder of and the head of science at Enactlab. He is using 'phenomenological interviews' to develop person- and patient-centred healthcare and rehabilitation for persons with cerebral palsy and depression.

Marianne Elisabeth Klinke is associate professor in nursing at the University of Iceland and Academic Chair of Research and Development in Nursing Care within the field of Neurology and Neuro-Rehabilitation at Landspitali, the National University Hospital in Reykjavik. She uses phenomenology to gain insight into patients’ experiences of mistaken perceptions, including patients with unilateral spatial neglect.

Simon Høffding is a postdoctoral researcher at RITMO (the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Rhythm, Time and Motion) in the Department of Musicology, University of Oslo. His interests span phenomenology, philosophy of mind, enactivism, music, self-awareness, bodily awareness, expertise, interview and cross-disciplinary methodologies.

Susanne Ravn is associate professor and head of ‘Body, Culture and Society’, a research unit at the University of Southern Denmark. In her research, she focuses on phenomenological approaches to skilled practices. She is the author of several books in Danish and English and has published her research in journals which are related to phenomenology, qualitative research methods in sport, exercise and health, dance research and sociological analyses of embodied experiences.

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