OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to provide arguments for a phenomenologically informed clinical approach to autism spectrum disorder (ASD), including a plea for clinical attention to the self in ASD.
METHODS: Central concepts of continental phenomenology, phenomenological psychopathology, and the phenomenological interview are presented, with an emphasis on the potential unifying qualities of an approach which includes the exploration of subjective and intersubjective experience. These phenomenological concepts and methods are contrasted with the current conceptualization of ASD, where the first-person perspective is not in focus.
RESULTS: Contemporary phenomenological papers on ASD address key concepts like intersubjectivity, intercorporeality, and intentionality. However, insights from this theoretical field have not been followed up in clinical research and practice. Consequently, there is (to our knowledge) still a lack of phenomenologically informed clinical explorations of experience of self, others, and the world in ASD.
CONCLUSION: A phenomenologically informed focus on the form and structure of subjective experience, including a focus on self-experience in ASD, can lead to new and important insights in relation to clinical differentiation between ASD and schizophrenia spectrum disorder.