The Patient’s Personal Experience of Schizophrenia in China: A Clinical Sociology Approach to Mental Health


This chapter explores the patient’s personal experience (or experiencing, to use a more technical term) of schizophrenia in the context of a changing Chinese society, and presents a few important aspects of clinical sociology. The clinical sociology approach is based on a two-part psychological and epistemological hypothesis: the private personal experiences of the individual and the individual’s experience of the wider society are one and the same, and this applies to people who have been diagnosed as mentally ill and viewed as alienated as well as to people who are considered normal in their social integration and interactions. According to this working hypothesis, experiencing schizophrenia implies experiencing the society as understood by patients. Patients are affected by the reality of such forces as a market economy and globalization, internal migration, and the gap between the wealthy and the poor, and not only purely through their individual personality. So, to understand how mentally ill persons give meaning to their experiences, we must understand how, explicitly or implicitly, they take into consideration their social environment.


Mental Illness Mental Health Service Psychiatric Hospital Severe Mental Illness Work Unit 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université de MontréalMontrealCanada

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