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Toril Borch Terkelsen

Associate Professor

Associate professor

C4027 ( Jon Lilletuns vei 9, Grimstad )


Registered Nurse (RN), Aust Agder College of Nursing, Norway (1984).

Master of nursing science, University of Oslo http://www.uio.no, Norway (1993).Title of the master thesis: Sykepleie til psykotiske pasienter: i hvilken grad kan sykepleien bidra til å bygge opp et stabilt og realistisk selvbilde hos psykotiske pasienter? (Carng for  people diagnosed with psychosis: How may nursing  contribute to a stable and realistic self-image in people suffering from psychosis?

Qualified as "førstelektor" (associate professor) in 2007

PhD dissertation 8th February 2010 at University of Bergen, Norway, http://www.uib.no with the thesis:"Handling UFOs and angels in psychiatric care:An ethnographic study of interpretations and government of psychotic experiences in a psychiatric rehabilitation unit".

Areas of professional interests:

 Mental health service,critical psychology, anthropology, psychosis, ethics. Theoretical interests: Michel Foucault on governmentality and technologies of the self, Bruno Latour on actor- network theory, Axel Honneth on recocnition, Giorgio Agamben on State of Exception.


Worked as a nurse in various Norwegian hospital departments from 1984-1988, including psychiatric and intensive care units.

  Participated in developing a nursing school program for Palestinian student in Cairo 1985/1986 and worked as a nursing teacher. This project was run by The Palestinian Red Crescent and was partly funded by The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD.)

 Worked  at University of Agder since 1990, and  assistant professor  since 2007 


Academic interests

Ethics and theory/philosophy of science

The works of Buno Laotur  (actor-network theory) and Michel Foucault

Mental health




Coercion in a locked psychiatric ward. An anthropological study of how coercion is perceived (completed 2014

The study was carried out in  2010 as a four months field-work in a closed psychiatric ward where various forms of coercion occur regularly. Research Question: 1. How is coercion defined by those who prescribes it (ie, physician / psychiatrist), and which dilemmas do they face when force is prescribed? 2. How is coercion defined by the people who exercise it (ie, nurses and environmental workers) and how does it feel to exercise force? 3.How is coercion defined by those who are exposed to it (ie patients) and how do they experience the compulsion they are subjected to, at the moment and in retrospect? 4. What happens in the specific enforcement situations? Method: Anthropological field methodology ie, participatory observation combined with conversations/interviews. This method is particularly suitable to study at close hand how enforcement is carried out and experienced in a psychiatric day context.  Through direct observation and by discussions / interviews, I collected data from different enforcement situations, such as forced hospitalization,medication and seclusion. Observations and conversations/interviews were  recorded as field notes.  Regional Ethical Committee for Health Research has permitted the project. Data is now being analysed. Four articles have been published

Scientific publications

  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch; Nodeland, Siren Mathisen; Tomstad, Solveig Thorbjørnsen (2019). Robert Nozick and Axel Honneth: An attempt to shed light on mental health service in Norway through two diametrical philosophers. Nursing Philosophy. ISSN: 1466-7681. doi:10.1111/nup.12244.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch (2018). Nasjonal faglig retningslinje ved psykoselidelser:En arena for maktkamper. Å tenke med Foucault. ISBN: 9788245022247. Fagbokforlaget. Kapittel 7. s 149 - 168.
  • Larsen, Inger Beate; Terkelsen, Toril Borch (2013). Coercion in a locked psychiatric ward: Perspectives of patients and staff. Nursing Ethics. ISSN: 0969-7330. 21 (4). s 426 - 436. doi:10.1177/0969733013503601.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch; Larsen, Inger Beate (2014). Fear, danger and aggression in a Norwegian locked psychiatric ward: Dialogue and ethics ofcare as contributions to combating difficult situations. Nursing Ethics. ISSN: 0969-7330. s 1 - 10. doi:10.1177/0969733014564104.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch; Larsen, Inger Beate (2013). The locked psychiatric ward: Hotel or detention camp for people with dual diagnosis. Journal of Mental Health. ISSN: 0963-8237. 22 (5). s 412 - 419. doi:10.3109/09638237.2013.799266.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch; Larsen, Inger Beate (2012). Tvangsmedisinering som permanent unntakstilstand : erfaringer fra feltarbeid. Tidsskrift for psykisk helsearbeid. ISSN: 1503-6707. 9 (2). s 123 - 132.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch (2009). Er sykepleiediagnoser relevant i psykisk helsearbeid?. Tidsskrift for psykisk helsearbeid. ISSN: 1503-6707. 6 (1). s 4 - 14.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch (2009). Transforming subjectivities in psychiatric care. Subjectivity. ISSN: 1755-6341. 27 (1). s 195216.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch (2006). Å bli overvåket gjennom en radiosender: Hvordan psykotiske uttrykk forstås og kontrolleres i en psykiatrisk avdeling. Tidsskrift for forskning i sygdom og samfund. ISSN: 1604-3405. 3 (4). s 89 - 110.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch; Blystad, Astrid; Hydle, Ida (2005). Article:Transforming extraordinary experiences into the concept of schizophrenia: a case-study of a Norwegian psychiatric unit. Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry : an International Journal of Critical Inquiry. ISSN: 1559-4343. 7 (3). s 229 - 252.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch (2015). Styring og kontroll av galskap gjennom nasjonale, standardiserte retningslinjer- sett fra et foucauldiansk perspektiv.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch (2013). Styring og kontroll av galskap gjennom nasjonale, standardiserte retningslinjer.
  • Terkelsen, Toril Borch; Larsen, Inger Beate (2013). Bruk av tvang i lukket psykiatrisk avdeling.

Last changed: 30.01.2020 13:01