This study undertook to explore the experience of pathological pain of twelve individuals from a psychological perspective, within the context of Spontaneous Healing Intrasystemic Process (SHIP®), using an interpretative phenomenological analysis as method. All of the participants are Caucasian South Africans, of which eleven are women, and one a man. Various aspects of the influence of physical symptoms and psychological influences are expanded upon in the available literature, indicating a greater association of relationship than is generally accepted in the treatment modalities from a medical perspective. The experience of each of these individuals was explored to gain information on the impact of this bidirectional influence in the lives of these persons. Although each experience held a uniqueness to that particular individual, a shared process of meaning evolved in many of the themes derived from the study. The themes derived from the research are discussed, embedded within the relevant literature supporting it. It is seen from the results of this study that the individuals gained a sense of ownership of their own experiences and an empowerment which they carried through into their lives, as a consequence of their experience of pain. The psychotherapy process that they entered into provided the platform from which this empowerment could be engendered. Although many of the findings were corroborated by the literature, each of these people had an experience that was unique to them, derived from every aspect of their lives and all that had influenced it. Several facets that emerged were not found in the literature. From the experiences of the participants in this research project, it appears that the experience of pain may have far greater value in a broader epistemological context than just the physical function generally attributed to it. What becomes clear is that neither the pain nor these experiences should be ignored on this level or taken merely at face value. Controlling or trying to contain pain may sometimes have less value than validating it, exploring it and surrendering to other facets of its contents. Allowing the human system its spontaneous expression of physical manifestations as it would unfold if not inhibited, may produce a surprisingly abundant spectrum of otherwise hidden wealth.
Dissertation (MA (Psychology))--University of Pretoria, 2008.