An innovative approach to schizophrenia
by N J Howell
Healthy Anger Management
This is part of a healing facilitation response to someone who had written me about how to best help a friend, relative or healing client who has been diagnosed as schizophrenic. If you found this page directly, it may be helpful to first read the information on spiritual support for schizophrenics. Please note that my focus and approach is spiritual in nature and never intended to replace any needed mental health evaluation.
Supporting a friend or relative diagnosed as schizophrenic:
I once had occasion to chat with a woman who has extensive experience as a behavioral therapist in the field of schizophrenia. She shared a successful approach with getting a schizophrenic to correct abherrant behavior without forcing them to give up their alternate review of reality, which can be impossible at certain points in treatment.
This progressive and creative-thinking professional explained her technique by using a chair in the room where we were speaking. She pointed to the chair and said that while she and I both considered that a chair, the schizophrenic might be equally convinced it is a dog. Instead of trying to convince the schizophrenic (so labeled by medical profession and not by me), the therapist tells them that they may believe whatever they believe but if 20 people believe something else, then in order to function in the world, they have to suspend their belief in public. If I were in this position, if I believed to my core that the chair was a dog, this would disarm my resistance toward the therapist. OK. She not saying it isn't a dog, exactly. She is informing me that 20 other people out there would say it is a chair and that, if I want to maintain any sort of working relationship outside the therapist's office, I had better at least accept that aspect of reality. I can only imagine how horrible it must be to have the symptoms that doctor's call schizophrenia but it would be even more difficult to manage if the only thing my therapist did was deny my reality, right out of the box.
Obviously, the goal of this and other mainstream medical therapists is to help the schizophrenic eventually see the chair, like everyone else. Until that shift can happen, whether with drugs/therapy/counseling or spiritual healing can occur, this innovative mental health professional found a way to honor her patients' current reality and, at the same time, give them a reason to shift their behavior so that they could function in the outside world while continuing treatment. To me, it's a viable tool that might help her patients be able to cope in the "real" world after they leave her office or when they have to deal with other people who are not as tuned in as their therapist.
Be sure you read this! The above paragraph was from a conversation with a recognized expert but it is NOT to be construed as advice on the treatment of a complex mental disorder like schizophrenia. If you have been diagnosed with schizophrenia, I would suggest giving the utmost attention to finding a healthcare professional and mental health professional that meets your specific needs and if this information contradicts theirs in any way, stick with the advice of the person you entrust with your mental health.
Health Care Disclaimer: The information on schizophrenia that is contained in this alternative health care and spiritual healing article does not replace mental health advice from your chosen mental health care professional. Any action taken based on the contents found in this or any educational health information on this page is at the sole discretion of the reader. Please consult with your chosen mental health care specialist whenever dealing with, or if you suspect, schizophrenia.