Understanding adaptation to first episode psychosis through the creation of images

Angelica Attard, Michael Larkin, Zoë Boden, Christopher Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article aims to understand and explore the meaning of adaptation to First Episode Psychosis (FEP). An innovative method of data collection was used with ten participants who experienced FEP which integrated drawings of their lived experience within semi-structured interviews. The data were analysed through Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and hermeneutic-phenomenological image analysis. Participants’ experience was captured in four superordinate themes which identified that adaptation to FEP entailed: ‘Finding out how psychosis fits into my story’, ‘Breaking free from psychosis’, ‘Fighting my way through psychosis’, and ‘Finding a new way of being ‘me’’. The participants’ path of adaptation to FEP was an interplay of pains, challenges, and gains, and there was resonance with posttraumatic growth in their accounts. This article illustrates that creating images may offer a powerful way of conveying the multifaceted aspects of adaptation to FEP and could help individuals in communicating and processing their experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73–88
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Mental Health
Issue number1
Early online date17 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


  • Adaptation
  • Art
  • First episode psychosis
  • Posttraumatic growth
  • Visual methods


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