Salud Mental

Anomalies of subjective experience in psychosis: concept and empirical validation of the Basic Symptoms model


Raúl Vilagrà Ruiz
Neus Barrantes Vidal


Introduction. Research, diagnosis and treatment of psychotic spectrum disorders have been traditionally dominated by an objectivist approach to their understanding, being primarily focused on positive and negative symptoms. The value of this approach goes without question, but it also involves considerable and widely known limitations. From a complementary perspective, there is a longstanding and promising phenomenological tradition in which the subjective experience of the patient’s symptom becomes crucial. The focus on the anomalies of subjective experience, or the Basic Symptom concept specifically, has gained much momentum in the context of early detection of psychosis and schizophrenia.

Objective. This review presents the phenomenological approach to the anomalies of subjective experience and the Basic Symptoms model and its empirical validation process in the field of early detection of psychosis.

Method. The scientific literature was collected from PubMed Central® and PsycINFO® databases and books from authors of reference.

Results. In the last two decades there has been a growing scientific interest in this approach with very promising results.

Discussion and conclusion. The most prominent model from an empirical standpoint is the Basic Symptoms approach, although recently the disturbances of the flow of consciousness or self disorders have achieved great relevance as well. It has been found that the anomalies of subjective experience could delimitate a risk profile that precedes that defined by attenuated psychotic symptoms. Therefore, this approach is a highly valuable complement in the early detection and intervention of psychosis strategies.

Psychosis, schizophrenia, Basic Symptoms, subjective experience, prodrome, risk


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