Threats to epistemic agency in young people with unusual experiences and beliefs

Joseph W. Houlders, Lisa Bortolotti*, Matthew R. Broome

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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A good therapeutic relationship in mental health services is a predictor of positive clinical outcomes for people who seek help for distressing experiences, such as voice hearing and paranoia. One factor that may affect the quality of the therapeutic relationship and raises further ethical issues is the impact of the clinical encounter on users’ sense of self, and in particular on their sense of agency. In the paper, we discuss some of the reasons why the sense of epistemic agency may be especially fragile in young people with unusual experiences and beliefs. We argue that it is important to identify and avoid behaviours that can undermine young people’s contributions as epistemic agents in the clinical encounter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7689-7704
Issue number3-4
Early online date30 Mar 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s).


  • Autobiographical narrative
  • Epistemic injustice
  • Sense of agency
  • Therapeutic relationship
  • Youth mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Social Sciences(all)


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