Theoretical bases of descriptive phenomenology

There are important theoretical differences from dynamic psychopathology. Descriptive psychopathology does not propose explanations accounting for subjective experience or behaviour, but simply observes and describes them. Psychoanalytic psychopathology studies the roots of current behaviour and conscious experience through postulated unconscious conflicts and understands abnormalities in terms of previously described theoretical processes. The distinction between form and content and between process and development is not seen as important in psychoanalysis, but symptoms are considered to have an unconscious psychological basis. Descriptive phenomenology makes no comment upon the unconscious mind. It can only come into play when the subject is able to describe internal experiences, i.e. when material is conscious. Descriptive psychopathology is not ultimately dependent upon brain localization. It depends upon clarifying the nature of the subjective phenomenon in discussion with the patient; if links can then be shown between certain phenomena and specific brain lesions, that is, of course, highly advantageous in furthering psychiatric knowledge. Descriptive phenomenology can be a unifying factor between concepts of brain and mind. It does not ultimately depend on a particular philosophical stance on the nature of mind or brain.

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