Objective: This is an empirical study exploring the personal level of experience of social dysfunction in persons with schizophrenia. Method: We adopted a qualitative method of inquiry based on a review of transcripts of individual therapy sessions conducted for 52 persons with chart diagnoses of schizophrenia or schizotypal disorder. Results: In our interviews, the experience of the social world in persons with schizophrenia emerged as an overall crisis of immediate, prepredicative, prereflexive attunement, typically accompanied by feelings of invasiveness and abnormalities in bodily and emotional sensations; a hyperreflexive mode for understanding the intentions of other persons, and a sceptical, aversive and sometimes utopian attitude towards sociality. Conclusion: Social dysfunction in persons with schizophrenia may reflect a disorder of the process of corporeal identification/differentiation that allows both for the intersubjective understanding through body-to-body attunement and for the demarcation between self and other.

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