Are you Prepared to Address Psychosis in Your Practice? (Feature-Length Version)

In Madness and Civilization, philosopher Michel Foucault has predicted a proliferation of madness as disparities increase and modern society advances. Indeed, with psychopharmacology industry booming, rates of addiction, fueled by the opioid epidemic, skyrocketing, terrorism wars raging abroad, ongoing drug wars afflicting low income neighborhoods, escalation in homeless encampments in major cities, and a rise in bullying in schools, and even cyberbullying, it really does seem like higher percentage of people have been forced to explore their mental health struggles. While mass shootings have kept danger stigma in the media high and the media response continues to reinforce silence about mental struggles, the field of psychotherapy does have a lot more trends to address.

When I look through my state’s psychotherapy association’s annual conference, I see many of these trends getting addressed in workshops. But ever invisible is the issue of psychosis. Is it possible that the issue of psychosis functions as a significant part of the madness narrative? Is it possible that psychosis too is affecting more and more Americans as Foucault inferred?

 

 

What the Statistic Say: Continue reading “Are you Prepared to Address Psychosis in Your Practice? (Feature-Length Version)”

Two, Trauma-Sensitive Solutions for Psychosis

When I experienced two years of psychosis early during my career as a mental health counselor, I was already getting good at managing trauma with my master’s level training. I always been pretty good at being safe for others.

I wanted some of that trauma support when I found myself confined to a ward on a State Hospital. I knew I needed to establish safety with someone but couldn’t find anyone who would deal with me. Instead, no one treated me as though I was traumatized because they didn’t want to reinforce my delusions. This only made the trauma of what I experienced worse. Invariably, hospital workers were punitive and denied anything unjust was happening to me at all.

Because I worked tirelessly and had family support, I was able to return to my career in mental health. I got my psychotherapy license ten years ago and since that time I have worked to create trauma-sensitive treatment to address the needs of individuals who experience psychosis. Here, I intend to convey two trauma-sensitive solutions I have developed, working with people in groups and in individual treatment.

 

The Challenge of Establishing Trust: Continue reading “Two, Trauma-Sensitive Solutions for Psychosis”

Why I Say Special Messages Instead of Psychosis

For the past ten years I have used the words special messages to bring people together behind a better-defined notion of psychosis. I hope in this article will help better define what I mean by special messages and why I think that messages are part of a process that includes seven other components that I defined in my last article.

Many people who have worked with me presume that when I say special messages I mean voices. It’s true that the words hearing voices ring true as music to my ears. Indeed, the hearing voices movement has vastly improved the social understanding of what is happening to message receivers. Less dominant are the memes associated with all the “psycho” stigma that gets equated with the psychosis word. However, I still argue that just saying hearing voices fails to unite all people under the umbrella of the word psychosis.

Continue reading “Why I Say Special Messages Instead of Psychosis”

A Need for Providers who Specialize in “Psychosis.”

A Need for Providers who Specialize in “Psychosis.”

 

I was hired straight out of college into work in the counseling field. I started to work with an adult mental health population at my second professional job at the age of twenty-three. Since that time I have been increasingly focused on how to make therapeutic engagement meaningful when working with people in “psychosis.” In the field there are many who will say or imply this is not possible. They may argue that the mental health system is the best we can do. This story is for the providers who think more can be done to help individuals who have anomalous experiences.

 

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Working my way through graduate school, I can still remember struggling to get my dumb-ass footings as a professional counselor. I remember thinking about how ironic it is that they start you out with the most sophisticated of problems.

“Oh, you’re good,” said this vagabond homeless man who sticks out in my memory.

Continue reading “A Need for Providers who Specialize in “Psychosis.””

Reconstructing a Culture of Psychosis Across Diagnostic Divides

Perhaps one of the greatest ways to oppress a people is to convince them that they don’t exist.

In America, this is what many people who have experienced psychosis face in standard treatment.  In the absence of a sense of a supportive and functioning self-support community, many who have experienced psychosis don’t feel we belong to a rich, interesting, and meaningful culture.

Consider all the categories that the DSM V has that includes the phenomenon of psychosis. I have collected a rough list below:

Schizophrenia
Catatonia
Schizophrenia Spectrum and other psychotic disorder
Brief Psychotic Disorder
Schizophreniform Disorder
Delusional Disorder
Shared Psychotic Disorder
 Attenuated psychosis syndrome 
Psychotic Disorder NOS
Schizotypal personality disorder
Psychotic Disorder due to a medical condition (many)
Schizoaffective Disorder
Bipolar with psychotic features
Depression with psychotic features
PTSD
Disassociative Identity Disorder
All Substance Induced Psychotic Disorders (ten different types)
Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type with early onset with delusions
Dementia of the Alzheimer’s type with late onset with delusions
Vascular Dementia with Delusions
Postpartum psychosis

 

Above, the construction of tall differentiated towers of illness, often grow taller and more isolated in the current system of care. Most provider-folks who use these words to bill would not want to be faced with the limited life they envision for their clients.

Continue reading “Reconstructing a Culture of Psychosis Across Diagnostic Divides”