Beyond Medication: Therapeutic Engagement and the Recovery from Psychosis

Beyond Medication: Therapeutic Engagement and the Recovery from Psychosis

Beyond Medication: Therapeutic Engagement and the Recovery from Psychosis

Beyond Medication: Therapeutic Engagement and the Recovery from Psychosis

Synopsis

Beyond Medicationfocuses on the creation and evolution of the therapeutic relationship as the agent of change in the recovery from psychosis.

Organized from the clinician's point of view, this practical guidebook moves directly into the heart of the therapeutic process with a sequence of chapters that outline the progressive steps of engagement necessary to recovery. Both the editors and contributors challenge the established medical model by placing the therapeutic relationship at the centre of the treatment process, thus supplanting medication as the single most important element in recovery.

Divided into three parts, topics of focus include:

  • Strengthening the patient
  • The mechanism of therapeutic change
  • Sustaining the therapeutic approach.

This book will be essential reading for all mental health professionals working with psychosis including psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers.

Excerpt

Bertram Karon and Ann-Louise Silver

It is all too common today to read statements like “by now, everyone agrees that medication is the first line treatment of psychosis.” This statement grows, not from scientific knowledge, but from the advertisements of the pharmaceutical industry. A clinician may decide that medication is necessary to bring psychotic panic under control, but the currently available medications are not curative, and they come with significant side effects, especially when administered chronically or in complex regimens. The mental health field is overrelying on these agents, while simultaneously undervaluing the power of psychotherapy to quell psychotic terror and to bring understanding and insight to bear.

Everyone suffering from psychosis deserves to have someone with whom to team up, someone who has the confidence and commitment to stay with the sufferer for as long as that sufferer needs this help. All field workers and hospital psychiatric technicians should know that their teamwork with their clients can profoundly change the course of that person’s life. This book contains chapters written by clinicians who, because of the evidence presented to them by their daily work and daily lives, have come to specialize in working with the severely ill. This volume also contains two chapters written by people who recovered from schizophrenia, detailing what worked for them in favor of their recovery, and what did not.

One feature comes across clearly in these chapters: that each of us works differently, bringing our own unique personalities to the engagement with the uniqueness of each patient. Each of us uses the clinical literature to support us, finding our favorite writers who speak to us through their publications. Our patients have their voices, and we have ours.

We hope this book will guide readers into some remarkably evocative and inspirational understandings. There is no “right way” to treat psychosis; both therapist and client bring their creativity and strengths to the task, and search for common ground, be it shared experiences, shared knowledge of a particular part of the country, or shared pleasure in an activity – maybe touch football, maybe needlepoint, maybe history or astronomy. Or perhaps . . .

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