Considering patient narrative-based and medico-scientific epistemologies in framing psychiatric care

Jeffrey C.L. Looi, Tarun Bastiampillai, Stephen Allison, Paul A. Maguire

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Personal narratives of lived experience with psychiatric illness and distress remain central in the epistemology of mental illness. We provide a commentary on this potential bridging of patient narrative-based epistemology, and medico-scientific epistemology used by psychiatrists used for diagnosis, formulation, prognosis and treatment. 

Conclusion: Discussion and planning of psychiatric care can be framed by understanding the narrative-based epistemology of a patient’s illness as highlighted by five key questions to explore the patient’s illness explanatory models. We propose five key questions for the psychiatrist’s complementary consideration of medico-scientific epistemology that frame conceptual models of aetiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, formulation, prognosis and treatment, which are embedded in the predominant socio-cultural environment. These questions assist in bridging patient narrative and medico-scientific explanatory models to facilitate more effective collaborative care planning.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
JournalAustralasian Psychiatry
Early online date13 Sep 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Sep 2022


  • disease
  • doctor
  • explanatory models
  • illness
  • patient


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