Featherstone, Valerie A. (2013) The coconut day: the lived experience of seizure Consciousness. In: British Psychological Society. Qualitative Methods in Psychology, 4th-6th September 2013, Huddersfield, UK. (Unpublished)

The coconut day: An exploration of accounts of seizures

Although seizures have been the subject of extensive medical literature over several decades and, of late, have been explored with Conversation Analysis in terms of differential diagnosis, it has been suggested that a phenomenological look at the ‘what is it like’ to experience a seizure could increase our knowledge still further.

This small study talking to people at two points in time 18 months apart, illustrated the potential for people to describe their experiences in great depth given the chance and opportunity to do this using IPA. Capturing initial experiences mitigated against the loss of subjective experiences over time (both medication and familiarity with seizure terminology can affect these descriptions). Some descriptions were also supplemented with drawings and, with the help of the researcher, poetic interpretations of some experiences were created.

The language people used heralded the potential beginnings of the development of an alternative/non medical 'seizure discourse' for lay and professionals, potentially offering further insights into which seizures are epileptic (with the potential for identifying types of epileptic seizures) and which are non epileptic. A further interpretative phenomenological study of seizure experiences is proposed using explicitation interview techniques. This offers possibilities of adding to knowledge in neurophenomenology in terms of allying corresponding medical, imaging and subjective information.


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