Ask me what is in my heart of hearts! The core question of care in relation to parents who are patients in a psychiatric care context


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Co-Action Publishing

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The aim is to understand the experience of being cared for in psychiatric care as a patient and as a parent. Parenthood represents the natural form of human caring, a human directedness regardless of gender. The study has its starting point in this image, as it applies to mothers who receive care as provided in a psychiatric care context. The theoretical perspective is the theory of caritative caring, and the methodological approach is the philosophical hermeneutics outlined by Gadamer. The sample was purposeful: 10 mothers who experienced being a mother while suffering from mental illness and receiving care from professionals in psychiatric specialist health care contexts. The interpretation process is inductive, deductive, and abductive, and includes different levels of rational, contextual, existential, and ontological interpretation supported by the chosen theoretical perspective and the philosophy of ethics outlined by Emmanuel Levinas. The interpretation on the contextual level shows that the patients do not talk about their inner feelings concerning themselves as mothers in the care relationship. The interpretation on the existential level reveals the meaning of the mothers’ experiences of inner struggle between their inner demands and assuming a mask of silence. The patients’ experiences on the ontological level were interpreted as a struggle between the responsibility inherent in human being and the fear of condemnation. At the ontological level, a new hypothesis of the understanding of the meaning of the parents’ experiences was formulated: Being in care as a patient and as a parent means struggling to restore one’s responsibility as a human being. This new understanding paves the way for caring of the patient who is a parent.




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