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Six Models of Mental Disorder: A Study Combining Linguistic-Analytic and Empirical Methods

From: Philosophy, Psychiatry, & Psychology
Volume 11, Number 2, June 2004
pp. 129-144 | 10.1353/ppp.2004.0051


This paper employs the methodological framework of linguistic analytic philosophy to explore the conceptual issues arising from a study (published by us elsewhere) of the different models of disorder implicit in five groups of stakeholders concerned in the community care of people with a diagnosis of long-term schizophrenia (users/consumers, carers, mental health social workers, psychiatrists and community psychiatric nurses). Linguistic analysis, (1) gives a precise fix on the nature of the practical difficulties presented by such models (as difficulties in use rather than as difficulties of definition), (2) suggests a powerful heuristic for displaying and comparing models (our models-grids as representations of the logical geography), (3) is the basis of a methodology which is neutral as between users and providers of services (it is a 'level playing field' methodology), (4) provides an intuitively powerful way of understanding the results of work of this kind (as a 'consciousness-raising exercise'), and (5) facilitates the translation of research into practice (through joint user-provider training programs aimed at improving communication skills within a 'dynamic heterogeneity' of models).

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