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Psychische Störungen: erklären, verstehen oder beschreiben? Historische und aktuelle Perspektiven einer psychopathologischen Kernfrage


Hoff, P (2010). Psychische Störungen: erklären, verstehen oder beschreiben? Historische und aktuelle Perspektiven einer psychopathologischen Kernfrage. Schweizer Archiv für Neurologie und Psychiatrie, 161(6):200-208.

Abstract

Psychiatry has always been characterised by highly heterogeneous theoretical concepts regarding the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, but also concerning the appropriate scientific methods to be applied. A central issue is the question whether mental phenomena should preferably be explained (as in natural sciences), understood or interpreted (as in «Geisteswissenschaften») or described (with as few theoretical presuppositions as possible). This paper illustrates the main historical and actual arguments in this debate. The first conclusion is that no clear separation line exists between these three methods and that such a separation is not at all necessary for clinical or research purposes. What is needed, however, is a balanced
combination of approaches, depending on the clinical or scientific questions to be answered. The second conclusion suggests a future strengthening of the role of psychopathology, a scientific field that clearly reaches beyond the reliable description of symptoms.

Psychiatry has always been characterised by highly heterogeneous theoretical concepts regarding the etiology, diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders, but also concerning the appropriate scientific methods to be applied. A central issue is the question whether mental phenomena should preferably be explained (as in natural sciences), understood or interpreted (as in «Geisteswissenschaften») or described (with as few theoretical presuppositions as possible). This paper illustrates the main historical and actual arguments in this debate. The first conclusion is that no clear separation line exists between these three methods and that such a separation is not at all necessary for clinical or research purposes. What is needed, however, is a balanced
combination of approaches, depending on the clinical or scientific questions to be answered. The second conclusion suggests a future strengthening of the role of psychopathology, a scientific field that clearly reaches beyond the reliable description of symptoms.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Clinical and Social Psychiatry Zurich West (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:psychopathology; explanation; understanding; description; identity of psychiatry
Language:German
Date:2010
Deposited On:23 Dec 2010 08:44
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:24
Publisher:EMH Swiss Medical Publishers
ISSN:0258-7661
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-38368

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