Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy

, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp 533–540 | Cite as

The current dialogue between phenomenology and psychiatry: a problematic misunderstanding

  • Camille Abettan
Scientific Contribution


A revival of the dialogue between phenomenology and psychiatry currently takes place in the best international journals of psychiatry. In this article, we analyse this revival and the role given to phenomenology in this context. Although this dialogue seems at first sight interesting, we show that it is problematic. It leads indeed to use phenomenology in a special way, transforming it into a discipline dealing with empirical facts, so that what is called “phenomenology” has finally nothing to do with phenomenology. This so-called phenomenology tallies however with what we have always called semiology. We try to explain the reasons why phenomenology is misused in that way. In our view, this transformation of phenomenology into an empirical and objectifying discipline is explained by the role attributed to phenomenology by contemporary authors, which is to solve the problems raised by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.


Daseinsanalyse Epistemology Existential analysis Existential psychotherapy Phenomenology Psychiatry 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center of Interdisciplinary Researches in Human and Social Sciences (CRISES, EA 4424)Paul-Valéry UniversityMontpellierFrance
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatric Emergency and Acute CrisisLapeyronie HospitalMontpellier Cedex 5France

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