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Experience of Contingency and Congruent Interpretation of Life Events in Clinical Psychiatric Settings: A Qualitative Pilot Study

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Abstract This is a qualitative pilot study of congruence in narrative reconstruction of interpretations of life events by patients in a clinical psychiatric setting. It is based on the assumption that a coherent interpretive structure means that the interpretation of contingent life events by a person must be congruent with the conflict between these everyday events and the person’s embedded ultimate life goal. The pilot study confirms the assumption, provided the interpretation is based on ultimate life goals in order to integrate experience, severe mental disorder in these patients, with the person’s life story. If there is no clear embedded ultimate life goal, the person does not have a congruent angle on the contingent life event to assign it a position in her life story. As a result self-realisation, with or without a context of religious significance, becomes problematic. Whether patients with a severe mental disorder differ from persons without a disorder remains an open question and can not be answered by this study.

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