Research areas

The philosophy of health (i.e., theories of health and disease); the philosophy and ethics of public health; power, empowerment, and participation; work ability; questions about validity when measuring health and work ability; and philosophical questions regarding psychotherapy and social psychiatry.

Ongoing research

My present work mainly concerns two related areas: power, on the one hand, and participatory research, on the other. Regarding power, I am working on a definition of the concept, as well as discussing how power can be exercised. This relates to my earlier research on empowerment (see below). As for participatory research, it is closely connected to empowerment, and I am working on clarifying its philosophical and ethical foundations.

In relation to power, I also investigate to what extent researchers exercise power over their participants, and, if they do, whether this is morally problematic, or if the exercise of power can be avoided.

Finally, besides the above, my present work also concerns the concept of “recovery” within social psychiatry, not least what the concept stands for within the so-called recovery movement.

Previous research

In my dissertation (Mental Health: A Philosophical Analysis) I analyzed and defined the concept of “mental health.” Some of my research after the thesis has taken its point of departure in this analysis. I have, for example, in a number of articles, developed a pluralistic theory about (physical, mental, and social) health. In relation to this theory, I have, recently, also discussed how a theory of health can be incorporated into Martha Nussbaum’s theory of capabilities.

My interest in health has, moreover, led to a discussion about the relation between disease prevention and health promotion.

Quite a lot of my previous research has concerned empowerment. I have analyzed the concept, as well as discussing empowerment and ethics, in relation to health promotion and public health work, as part of my interest in the philosophical foundations of public health. In connection with this I have also tried to answer the ethical question about what the specific goals of health work should be.

Another area that has attracted my attention is people’s work ability. I have discussed, on the one hand, how to define the concept of “work ability,” and, on the other, how one can evaluate to what extent a person has work ability. In relation to the latter point, I have also (from a perspective of validity) analyzed and criticized some existing instruments that purport to measure work ability.

Finally, I have pursued studies into some basic philosophical questions concerning psychotherapy, and discussed the concepts of “congruence” and “empathy.” I have also discussed what psychotherapy is and what the goals of psychotherapy should be.