Full 4-6 Hour Training



Educational Objectives:

Historically, clinicians are trained to avoid engaging with people when they are in an emergency state for fear of escalating symptoms. However, is this escalation more the result of the recipient feeling judged and their suffering invalidated, than the implicit wrongness of exploring these experiences? Is it possible to learn to listen with open hearts?

This workshop is intended to provide a road-map to the rabbit-hole to help recipients be better listeners. To assist with this, it redefines what is happening during a person’s journey through madness in a structured way that justifies intervention and highlights solutions. This can help a clinician feel confident that listening and intervening has value and can be necessary to form an alliance that can help. Interventions and solution strategies that get suggested can be used at any stage of a person’s recovery to explore what is happening or what has been experienced. Often clinicians struggle to know what is and isn’t helpful. This presentation will give attendees not only a better sense of what is helpful, but also hosts of strategies to consider using.

This workshop is intended for all levels of trainees. It may also be helpful to family members. Parts of it are introductory and parts are advanced. It is intended to inspire clinicians to bravely address the issues that are experienced in a psychotic break or what becomes redefined as a special message crisis.

I have written multiple drafts of a book to guide me in the development of this presentation. for more advanced articles associated with this model, click here.

Short Outline:

  • Limitations of the Medical Model Definition
  • The Jargon of a new definition with solution concepts
  • Joining
  • Flexing
  • Behavioral changes
  • Anti-Stigma Cognition
  • Reframing Reality
  • Using the Material
  • Writing meaningful Treatment Plans


Presentations History:

Tim Dreby has been running professional survivor-led psychosis focus groups for the past twelve years in a public Intensive Outpatient Program at Highland Hospital in Oakland CA. He has a Masters of Education from Temple University obtained in 1998 and a MFT License obtained in 2008. He also survived a mid-career “schizophrenia” diagnosis that involved a three-month hospitalization in Montana State Hospital and a two-year emergency state about which he wrote an award-winning memoir.

In 2013, Tim Dreby authored an Alameda County Innovations Grant and started to make public presentations with a small band of people with lived experience. Since the close of this program he has been presenting and developing this material in local venues and through collaborations with the Bay Area Hearing Voices Network. This has involved annual presentations at the California Association of Social Rehabilitation Conference and other local venues. He has provided this training for six hours of CEU Credit for Solano County.

Full Outline with Eight Components of Psychosis  and Eight Solution  Strategies:

  1. Introduction
    1. The Medical Model Definition
    2. Mainstream Treatment that Results
    3. Treating Psychosis Across Diagnostic Divides
    4. What Does Neurobiology Say?
    5. Creating a New Definition
    6. How the Jargon was Created
    7. Connection to HVN
  2. Training Phase One: Joining
    1. Story of a day in my life

15 Minute Break

    1. Special Messages Component of Psychosis #1
      1. These are a collection of triggering experiences that give us special information of which others may not be aware
      2. Worksheet
    2. Sleuthing Concept introduced in diagram but not fully defined
    3. Divergent Views Component of Psychosis #2
      1. Streams of thought about the way the world works that arise from special messages. These are thoughts that explain how the messages are possible. These are speculations we make that often aren’t wrong; in fact, many may be magically be righter than mainstream ideas in a sense, but most people will tell us they are wrong.  
    4. Message Mindfulness Solution Strategy #1
      1. Being able to identify the message experiences without concern for what caused them or what they look like. Letting go of the divergent views.  Not judging or emotionally responding to the fact that the message happened.
    5. Sleuthing Component of Psychosis #3
      1. A state of mind in which we are straining to find the truth about special messages.  This works with our powerful affective state and may seem like a way of surviving or exploring.
    6. Recovery and Reality Tasks Solution Strategy #2
      1. These are grounding activities that can give you rest and relaxation from your message experience. They involve distracting mastery tasks that can help us focus and heal trauma, by building self-esteem in ways that address survival needs.  
      2. How to emphasize and cultivate
  1. Training Phase II: Flexing
    1. Theories/Frameworks Component of Psychosis #4
      1. A hypothesis or educated guess as to the ultimate cause of the message. Just when the message is received, the theory explains why the message happened.
    2. Exploring Mad Diversity Solution Strategy #3
      1. 1.Traumatic
      2. 2.Political
      3. 3.Spiritual
      4. 4.Science
      5. 5.Psychological
      6. 6.Artistic
    3. Functional Flexible Theory Solution Strategy #4
      1. In reality there are many potential frameworks operant during the message experience Becoming more flexible and adapting a different framework and choosing a theory that is less distressing becomes a tool.


  1. Training Phase II: Flexing (continued)
    1. Tricksters Component of Psychosis #5
      1. Tricksters are potentially false divergent views that we receive as a result of making meaning of the special message process.
      2. In recovery we may be able to see tricksters as false, but they are mixed with message experiences that are spot on accurate. 
      3. In crisis, tricksters confirm themselves to be accurate when they may not be.
      4. When we think our tricksters are accurate we end up getting cheated and losing our cultural capital and social standing
    2. Positive Spiritual Energy Solution Strategy #5
      1. This is the magical idea that what we believe about ourselves will ultimately come true.  This is like putting forth a mantra or a prayer and leaving it up to a higher power to determine whether it comes true
  1. Training Phase III: Behavioral Change
    1. Stories of Two Retaliation Reactions Exercise (Review of Day 1 Skills)
    2. Retaliation Reactions Component of Psychosis #6
      1. Behaviors that exude strong emotional reaction to the whole Divergent Process.
    3. Social Sanctions Component of Psychosis #7
      1. These are socially prescribed punishments like: involuntary hospitalization, seclusion, restraint, incarceration, loss of housing, loss of employment, loss of social role, social rejection, public ridicule, loss of family financial support, anger and resentment, loss of respect and validation
    4. Nine Social Skills Solution Strategy #6
      1. Consensus Reality Behaviors from Social Sanctions
      2. Social skills that may be different for each person. These are skills that can replace retaliation reactions. These are skills that accept social sanctions and stigma and go towards relationships with other people in spite of the learned behaviors that have developed from habitual social sanctions. In effect they are necessary for social rehabilitation.

15 Minute Break

  1. Training Phase IV: Cognitive Interventions
    1. Stigma Component of Psychosis #8
      1. In short, stigma is a real process that leads others to label us according to our reaction behavior. Stigma labels carry with them stereotypical assumptions that lead to social sanctions and ultimately to real discrimination.Stigma often causes us, the recipients, to get defined as our illness.  We may lose a sense of our outside strengths and interests and our sense of identity.
      2. Social, Institutional, and Self
    2. Anti-Stigma Cognition Solution Strategy #7
      1. Involves identifying the thoughts behind distressing emotions and assessing whether they are or are-not rational.This does not mean the feelings are invalid (stigma validates them) but playing the rational game and doing rational inventories may help a body overcome stigma.
    3. Weller-than-Well Solution Strategy #8
      1. This involves the simple concept that when people survive extreme hardships that the process of overcoming them strengthens or adds to the repertoire of extraordinary talents, to make the individuals better than they would have otherwise been had they not gone through the struggle.
  2. Summary
    1. Integration of our Learning into Group and Individual Practice
    2. Integration of our Learning onto Treatment Plans and Paperwork

Click To Download A Copy Of The Powerpoint!!!!

Contact Tim to Schedule Workshop


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