I redefine psychosis into eight components in a way that is vastly different than the medical model. In doing this I create descriptive jargon that can help trainees get closer to “psychosis” experience so they conceptualize it and welcome it into the room. During this process I intermittently promote eight solutions and justify how they can be helpful and therefore necessitate bringing forth these experiences into treatment.
Redefinition starts by focusing on how to join with people in crisis and explore their experiences. The initial components of psychosis are essential to work to build the curious inquiry needed to enter experiences in a respectful way. I use these parts of psychosis to justify a host of interventions that go against the grain of mainstream treatment. I support these interventions by describing solution concepts that help guide supporters understanding as they learn that it is okay and important to explore psychosis with their partners.
Then, I look into the rich concerns that all people have about causation of what I prefer to call a message crisis. I describe how issues of causation often preoccupy people who experience them and how to join in on the causation exploration to normalize it and build rapport. When done successfully the helper can help them flex in the way they interpret their experiences without challenging them. This replicates the powerful dynamic that happens naturally when people in survivor-led groups share their stories. It is very helpful when professional supporters also learn how to highlight and adapt to these strategies.
I provide an example of a day in the life of my own lived experience. I return to this example throughout the training to help give context and illustrate techniques that can be utilized when psychosis is redefined. My lived experience also helps illustrate topics of conversation that typically come up in support/therapy groups and can help prepare participants to be ready to respond in structured ways that can help lead to healing and social rehabilitation.
The second half of my training reviews the parts of “psychosis” that are instituted by the system of behavioral control that exists in the mainstream system. It is important for providers to be aware of these and consider approaching them in manners that optimize healing and reduce retraumatization. The philosophy I use to affect behavioral change involves validating the injustice of what people who are subjected to behavioral control endure. Once safety and connection are built up it is time to help them learn behaviors that can minimize the abuse and ultimately that can work against it. Ultimately, I argue it can be important to improve relationships with people who may have tormented them. I outline different stages of coping that help define what is going on and that encourage the growth of relationships,
Once defiant behaviors are enacted I examine the role of stigma and the affects it has on the cognitive structures that survivors have. Perhaps some might argue that this needs to be enacted early on in the process. I argue that it can be, but not in lieu of establishing the genuine connecting that needs to happen. Promoting rational thinking is a tool that can be used at different times for different people depending on their level of subjugation and their ability to be mindful of their distorted thoughts. In a crisis state thoughts and feelings can be hard to access for some particularly if they must exit in places where they feel unsafe and have a history of or tendency to dissociate. I pose rational thought as a tool that can be used to balance ones reality and relieve trauma.
And finally there is the reframing of what has transpired and the healing ability to be grateful for some of the dehumanizing things that were experienced. This also may involve accepting and embracing messages in a new way with emotional skills that enhance functioning and a person’s sense of reality.
Again I use my lived experience, time permitting, to explore exploring institutional experiences in ways that utilize the skills gained from the first half of my work shop to help gain insight into how being understood and joined with is important before addressing behavioral change.
The training comes with the Power Point, which is always available below. I have gained significant experience presenting this material and adjusting to the needs of differing audiences.
Please contact me with questions and to set up a time that I can avail myself to come and train your staff.