When people are “mad,” they are often insisting that certain things are so, and frequently seem unwilling or incapable of appreciating or learning from other perspectives. Yet when the supposedly “sane” mental health system approaches those who are mad, it typically does the same thing ...
Radical uncertainty: a healing stance for all
By Ron Unger, LCSW -- Unfortunately, the typical interaction between professionals and clients seen as psychotic in our current mental health system has characteristics which make a positive human relationship almost impossible. To start with, rather than starting from a place of equality, where two people negotiate to see each other and to define reality, the professional holds onto a position of assumed superiority and declares himself or herself as able to define both the other person and the overall nature of reality, without any need to reconcile that view with the viewpoint of the “psychotic” person. This makes sense within the standard paradigm, as once a person’s mental process is defined as “psychotic” it is understood to be determined by illness, and to be senseless, with nothing of any value to offer. Under such circumstances, true dialogue, in which the experience of the professional meets the full experience of the other, is impossible. … [click on title to read and view more]
CBT: Part of the Solution, Part of the Problem, an Illusion, or All of the Above?
Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT has been pretty heavily criticized by people within the "alternatives" community and in particular by a number of Mad in America (MIA) bloggers and commenters in the past few years. In a way that isn’t surprising, because many of us are looking for radical change, and CBT often appears to be part of the establishment, especially within the therapy world.--But while I’m all for criticizing what’s wrong with CBT, especially with bad CBT, I think there’s also a danger in getting so caught up in pointing out real or imagined flaws that we fail to notice where CBT can be part of the solution, helping us move toward more humanistic and effective methods. I would propose that we instead attempt a “balanced approach,” noticing both where CBT is likely to help and where it is not, and discovering what can be done to build on the strengths of CBT while avoiding problems with the misapplication or overstated marketing of it. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Developing a Compassionate Voice as a Step Toward Living With Voices
By Ron Unger ... a video has just become available which, in 5 minutes, very coherently explains how a compassion focused approach can completely transform a person's relationship with their voices and so transform the person's life! … [click on title to read the rest]
Listening for the Person within “Madness”
By Ron Unger As we struggle to invent a humane approach to the extreme states that get called “psychosis” or “madness” or “schizophrenia,” it may be helpful to investigate some of the better approaches developed in the past. While these approaches are not without their flaws, they are often surprisingly insightful. (It can also of... Continue Reading →
Finding the Gifts Within Madness
by Ron Unger When people are seeing the world really different than we do, it’s often reassuring to think that there must be something wrong with them – because if they are completely wrong, or ill, then we don’t have to rethink our own sense of reality, we can instead be confident about that own understandings encompass all that we need to know. … [click on title for the rest of the post]
Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia – A Valuable, and Free, Online Report
What would happen if a team of highly qualified psychologists joined up with a team of people who knew psychosis from the inside, from their own journey into madness and then recovery - and if they collaborated in writing a guide to understanding the difficult states that get names like "psychosis" and schizophrenia"? Well, you don't have to wonder anymore, because the result was just published a couple of days ago in the form of a report that is free to download at Understanding Psychosis and Schizophrenia … [click on title to read and view more]
Going Deeper Into “Madness” with ISPS: Anticipating the International Dialogue in NYC 2015
As awareness spreads about there being something wrong with existing approaches to “psychosis” aka “madness,” interest grows in exploring what to do instead...This conference promises to stand out in terms of the variety of voices, perspectives, approaches and traditions that it will bring together to focus on the deeper issue of how helpers can best understand and interact with those experiencing what is called psychosis. … [click on title to read and view more]
Why “stabilizing” people is entirely the wrong idea
By Ron Unger If human beings were meant to be entirely stable entities, then “stabilizing” them would be an entirely good thing; a target for mental health treatment that all could agree on. But it’s way more complex than that: healthy humans are constantly moving and changing. They have a complex mix of stability and instability that is hard to pin down. All this relates to one of my favorite subjects, the intersection of creativity and madness. It is a curious fact that people seen as “psychotic” or “schizophrenic” may show sometimes more creativity, and sometimes less creativity, than “normals.” … [click on title to read and view more]
Does long-term use of “antipsychotic” drugs cause more disability & more psychosis?
by Ron Unger This sounds like a weird question – everyone knows that psychosis is often very disabling, and antipsychotic drugs are widely recognized for their effects in reducing psychosis in at least most people, and most often taking effect in just a few days. And when people become psychotic again, it’s often understood that it’s because they “weren’t taking their meds.” But what if it’s trickier than that? What if “antipsychotic” drugs make things better in the short term, but make long term problems worse? How would we even know? … [click on title to read and view more]
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