When a person has a break from reality there is often a sense of urgent rush. Most people think that if this does not get treated with antipsychotic medication immediately, that grave and progressive brain damage will ensue. Many supporters fear a degenerative process that will render the person with an institutionalized shuffle through poverty the rest of their life.
This article is written for the loving supporter or social worker. It invites you to explore what it’s like to better learn the world of your loved one! It helps you gain strategies for how to handle the relationship.
With the public mental health system, images of crowded psychiatric emergency rooms, the loved one terrorized navigating crowded streets, violent police handcuff restraints, rapid tranquilization needle sticks, jail time, or substandard warehousing barracks may come to mind.
I will convey all these realities as mechanisms of the state. They either neglect or set up the person in the break to be forced back into consensus reality. It often becomes a punitive and damaging process.
Ultimately, I view the goal of the state to be about social control, not healing and recovery. It can become about saving money and making the afflicted impotent. It can become about endless submission, silence and perpetuation of lies.
At the same time there are times when political pressure to conform to consensus reality do help a person improve their behavior. Improving one’s behavior can help a person minimize their risk of escalations of trauma via social punishment. It can be better than nothing. Many can learn lessons from abuse and improve their circumstances to heal.
Still this usually takes safety and security so that the victim can reflect upon what’s happened. This may enable many victims to grow between the cracks in the concrete.
However, often safety is not promoted via things like homelessness, jail time, or warehousing. These realities may perpetuate a state of emergency.
Efficacy of the State’s Social Control Model:
Still, in America, state social control that guides behavioral change has a low efficacy in terms of promoting recovery. It gets to be more a part of the problem than the solution. Degenerative decline results in roughly a quarter of the people who undergo such treatment. For example, social myths and stereotypes leave most people thinking that degenerative decline is the standard for schizophrenia. When such social myths are maintained in one’s mind, it can seem like social control is the only option.
Still, as I suggested above, stints of incarceration can result in an increase in compliance with consensus reality. Half the population who experience a break associated with schizophrenia will move towards recovery within ten years of trial and error effort to raise their spirit and fit in.
In this culture, when incarceration and trauma happen, all is not lost. I believe we can learn healing alternatives instead of nurse-ratcheting up social control. Medication can be used in helpful manners at different times. However, many who continue to apply social control do learn, and repeatedly confirm, that healing is not likely.
To promote healing instead of social control, a person must understand, normalize, and navigate the break. This doesn’t happen often enough in the system because most people fear to be curious about psychosis.
Society doesn’t understand and so rarely do our psychologists and social workers! People must do the work on their own. They may do so with untrained interns/workers who may listen to burnt out managers. Many such interns/workers are focused on mainstream judgments of their collegiate education. Many managers are there to make money/justify services. This does not apply to all of us! Hence it takes ten years.
Meanwhile, the basics myths are maintained. Most are trained not to reinforce the delusions. Others fear they will catch the disease if they listen. Still others fear retraumatizing the respondent and making them angry.
There are ways around that by validating conspiracies so keep reading.
Conversely, it’s becoming known that systems that promote open dialogue and a socialist philosophy can greatly improve these kinds of rough statistics so that all can recover. If one studies open dialogue as its been applied in Finland, one learns that treating psychosis as though it is real and attempting to heal it via skilled communication works. Open dialogue, honoring the tradition of the wounded healer, empowers the victim as the prime leader and promotes healing and radically different results.
It’s a known fact that third world subsistence economies also do vastly better in promoting recovery than modern ones. While this is a fact that promotes generalized philosophic reflection, it is still worth noting.
Still, the norm among loved ones and social workers is to promote the medical model view and support social control. Consider the view of NAMI, the National Alliance for Mental Illness. It spends money and uses power to promote the concept that all mental illness is a (primarily eugenic) brain disease.
Why Do We Choose Social Control over Healing?
There are several reasons that recovery via social control is so vastly promoted in the United States. A major reason is that people are trained to be fearful of such realities is because of stigmatizing media, college texts, dubious twin studies, and sketchy studies that promote the role of genes which get disproportionately amplified in the media.
Let’s not forget we live in America, in the land of the free where the concept of government intelligence and propaganda is currently clouded by the cultural delusion of democracy, generalized propaganda of the old two-party system, family’s scapegoating neurodiversity, and the psychopharmocology industry’s imperfect understanding of mental “illness.” Currently we are all waiting to see if democracy will be toppled by a ruthless dictatorship so I do say these things with a sense of irony.
Concurrently, there is a very poor, medicalized understanding of what psychosis is. Hence, the average person will set boundaries with the person who starts talking openly about hearing voices or referencing conspiracies about being targeted or enlightened. Ridicule, social rejection, and turning the person over to the state’s care becomes the only option.
Too many people in the state and the public invalidate the trauma that ensues while social control measures occur. So many people feel it is justified. Just as the haves are known to hate the have-nots, the state’s goal becomes simple: spend as little money on the victim as possible, get them to fill unskilled labor markets, and don’t let them speak out against our cultural delusions.
It can feel like there is not much left for loved ones and good social workers to do besides support the effort to socially control the person they love and wait and see if they will recover.
Some Basic Alternatives to Social Control:
In order to promote healing from psychosis, it becomes very important to become uniquely adept at listening, validating, and contributing without getting confused, combative or dissociated. Asking the right kinds of questions and normalizing conspiracies and adding to them helps the person can realize they are not alone. Trust building and assessing is also very important.
Also, assisting your loved one in adhering to the requirements of work or making it possible for them to continue to socially network and have a social life is also an important investment. As L.A. psychiatrist, Mark Raggins suggests, work, or building relationships (to which I’d include studying spiritual traditions) are ways to teach us social skills, not incarceration.
Indeed, research in the United States behind Dartmouth’s IPS (Individualized Placement Services) model of vocational rehab suggests that a self-directed effort to conform to work with support is a real way to achieve behavioral earmarks. Hence a job is provided until the subject fails, and then another job is found and maintained until it is lost. Keeping the person moving through the job situation and adhering to social dictates until they can master the needed behaviors to keep a job—this is now proven via research to be the way to go.
Perhaps we can add this mentality to social and spiritual connectivity and enhance outcomes even further.
The majority of persons with psychosis want to work, have friends, and believe in god to avoid a life of poverty. It is a good way for many to motivate and comply with rules. But it requires support and might need to be coupled with therapy
Sure, some social workers and perhaps some families may form secret societies that monitor their loved ones. These secret societies (like treatment teams in the hospital or family discussions/gossip) can easily be abused and defame the person with psychosis. I think family members and social workers must realize that when they do this, they mirror the oppression of other secret societies that may be real and may have something to do with their loved one’s awareness and ire.
Thus, when family or social workers recognize that they can function as agents of the state (police, FBI, corporations, prison gangs, fraternities, the Illuminati, the Ukrainian mafia, the military, religious cults and others) they can be open, communicative, and transparent about the secret societies in which they participate. This can greatly enhance trust and avoid pitfalls.
This might include taking responsibility to learn about things the person has experienced that pertain to you that you don’t feel are accurate. Consider monitoring the things your voice has expressed to your loved one (as auditory hallucinations). Then try to see the reality of what they are saying so you can confirm ways the communication is and isn’t valid. Always lead with the way it is valid.
Focus on What Healing Interactions Look Like?
In this manner, consider the opportunity that you have when the person enduring a break from reality gets mad and confronts you, their loved one, with something of which you are sure you’re not guilty.
I’d strongly recommend that before you confront that person with the reality check of your innocence, that you consider whether you want to avoid falling into the role of social control.
If you find yourself determined to prove your innocence, and confront your loved ones with your facts, I want to suggest they may see this as just another social control effort. It is a lot of the same kind of stuff they get in the state midst the jails, hospitals, and shelters that might not be appreciated
In other words, I am saying that defending yourself is a power play. It may gain you some compliance with consensus reality, but it also puts you at risk of diminishing trust between you and your loved one. In some cases, it can be a form of gaslighting.
In contrast, I suggest you take this intensely emotional situation, a potentially false accusation, and keep the goal of healing in mind. Instead of asserting the power play, let the loved one explore all the experiences that the person who is in a break has had that indicate your guilt. Then, communicate and clarify without invalidating.
When This Does Not Go as Planned:
I know this is an exceedingly simple suggestion! Let us not forget that asking the above question is a real test of the amount of trust that exists between the two of you.
For example, when I don’t trust the person who asks me to prove what I am saying with examples, I find I am often rendered speechless. It can be hard to put words to those experiences when you know they will be shot down.
In other words, unless I trust you and feel safe to speak about a misperception or two, words that define my experiences elude me.
Thus, if you are a social worker or a loved one and you don’t get any information, it is likely that you have so rejected your loved one’s reality so much over the years that they are afraid to communicate with you. It is likely that they have no hope you would ever understand.
I believe working towards a healing relationship involves cultural curiosity into your love one’s experience. If you can get yourself trusted to the point where you can explore all your loved ones associated experiences, then I think you are on the road towards healing them.
If you don’t have that kind of relationship with your loved one, focus on trying to get there and forget about the false accusation. Explore with curiosity other kinds of experience they have had.
Understanding the culture of your loved one’s psychosis to the point where you can admit the ways they are right about you, is far more likely to reality check them in a more healing manner and really move your relationship forward.
Adapting Your Strategies:
Also, it stands to be noted that people who experience psychosis often come from distinctive cultures, have different needs, and approach a break with different moods and core beliefs. In my experience I believed I was being persecuted by secret. illegal societies overseen by the government. Other people can have vastly different experiences with secret societies.
For example, some may believe they are being spiritually aided by secret Cabals like elite police and or politicians on their mission. Perhaps not all people experience social control in their family of origins the way I did. But still, you can inquire about euphoric experiences that your loved one may have had. Even so, you don’t want to come down on the forceful side of your loved one’s punitive state administrators.
Consider how some positive spiritual experiences really don’t need to be healed, true. But still there are those positive experiences have consequences that must be curbed. Consider what happens, for example, when they make the person descend from heaven back into a living hell on earth. Staying on earth can be a challenge.
Still, researching and giving them information about the negative aspects of the Cabals that tricked them and sent them soaring can help them make better decisions.
This may involve envisioning a world in which they do not have to endure social control to force them to come back down. Helping them takes communication and rational, healthy choices. It becomes more about reviewing the consequences that the state will impose if they go down that road. It become about mitigating those realities and maintain your collaborative standing.
Either way, delineating yourself from the mechanisms of control that may have led to trauma or got in the way of healing is an important thing to do! As a parent or as a social worker this may involve changing the historical role you’ve taken with your loved one.
This means, instead of telling them what to do, you should consider exploring their experiences.
Do not forget that psychosis, special messages, or a break from reality is a collection of experiences. When you force your loved ones to defy their experiences and accept your reality via reality check, it is really about you imposing consensus reality on them and it puts you on the side of social control. They may know better.
I feel this becomes about your power. Ultimately it puts them down. When you do this, they will recognize this and it may trigger trauma from their run ins with the state. Thus, differentiating yourself from the state becomes an important strategy.
Helping them heal is not really not about you. Helping your loved one heal is about using your relationship to help them to navigate consensus reality in ways that they can achieve their hopes and dreams. If you care about them and their relationship with you, adapt a collaborative approach to their experiences. This is far more important than them respecting consensus reality which might be full of ignorance and propagandas.
Supporting their autonomy and freedom is needed. Learning about the mistakes you made can also be important. Give them transparent information about what you have said and done on their behalf. Ask them how they would like you to assist, then communicate.
It’s true, doing what they say and working on their behalf does require boundaries. Even if you are a lawyer, you can’t help them beat the state, only evade it.
Differentiate yourself from the social control and discriminatory laws (or the rampant corruption of those that are nondiscriminatory, like the ADA.) You really don’t want to be on the side of marginalizing your loved one!