Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice

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Volume 73 Issue 2 (June 2000), Pages 145-288

Correspondence between delusions and personal goals: A qualitative analysis (pages 211-225)

Objectives. This pilot study describes a qualitative method for exploring delusions in terms of motivational themes. Design. A semi‐structured interview schedule was developed on the basis of an elementary conceptual frame specifying research questions. The analysis of each case uses a structured format. Triangulation was used to check: (i) reliability of motive categories; (ii) their consistent application to delusions. Methods of analysis. All patients had delusions and were diagnosed as having a psychotic disorder. Two types of analysis were used: (i) Interpretative phenomenological analysis with features of grounded analysis was used to classify motives. Data from 14 participants was used for this. (ii) The second phase was an examination of a possible correspondence of themes and involved: (a) a category‐led thematic analysis of the delusion in terms of motivations; (b) a category‐led thematic analysis of life goals and problems again in terms of motivations; and (c) an examination of correspondence between (a) and (b). Results. The classification of goals and difficulties suggested six main categories: social connection; competence; experiential base (i.e. states of mind and body); material base (e.g. housing); direction; and evaluation (i.e. how a person evaluates himself or believes others evaluate him). Four cases are presented, each exploring the correspondence of themes. Conclusion. The methods of analysis seemed coherent and useful. In the cases presented, the delusions appeared to relate to fundamental concerns in a person's life.

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