The Coconut Day: A Poetic Interpretation of Seizure Experiences


  • Valerie Anne Featherstone University of Huddersfield
  • Anna Sandfield University of Hull



epilepsy, seizures, consciousness, embodiment, interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), poetic interpretations


This article presents a fraction of an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) of people's seizure (ictal) experiences. In addition to undertaking individual analyses and across case analyses, a poetic interpretation (SZTO, FURMAN & LANGER, 2005) of participant's words was undertaken which focussed on bodily experiences and consciousness. The interpretations indicate participants' awareness of biological events unfolding; their abilities (or not) to interact with others; personal resignation to having the condition; and the effect epilepsy has on their lives. Although people are not always able to respond appropriately to events external to them during a seizure, having some conscious awareness allowed one man to act to save his life.

Findings from the study shed light onto subjective seizure experiences of consciousness. Collecting similar accounts could begin a corpus of data to inform research on ictal consciousness. The poetic interpretations below provide a porthole to a large vista of subjective seizure experiences, and could be considered both as research and clinical texts, being valuable to lay/professional carers and to the differential diagnosis of seizures.



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Author Biographies

Valerie Anne Featherstone, University of Huddersfield

Valerie FEATHERSTONE is a research fellow at the University of Huddersfield, UK. Val is a chartered health psychologist interested in the phenomenological method in general, and consciousness experiences in seizures particularly.

Anna Sandfield, University of Hull

Anna SANDFIELD is a lecturer at the University of Hull, UK. Anna lectures in social psychology and is particularly interested in qualitative research methods.




How to Cite

Featherstone, V. A., & Sandfield, A. (2013). The Coconut Day: A Poetic Interpretation of Seizure Experiences. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 14(2).



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