'Living with psychosis: Recovery and Wellbeing' by Elina Baker and Melanie Attwater brings together a range of ideas about ways of understanding and coping with unusual experiences and beliefs with an account of the personal experience of recovery. The book originated in a series of education and support groups for people with psychosis, which were coproduced by a psychologist and people with lived experience and it summarises the material discussed in the groups. There are twelve chapters, covering topics such as coping with voices, using mindfulness, anti-psychotic medication, being prepared for setbacks and living well. Each chapter has a summary of relevant knowledge from theory, research and expertise by experience, a related personal narrative and a section for reflection, which prompts the reader to think about how to use the ideas and experiences in their own recovery. The book is intended to help people struggling with psychosis to feel hopeful and develop ways of understanding and coping with their experience which will enable them to move forward in their lives. The book could also be used by someone supporting the recovery of a person experiencing psychosis, to aid their own understanding or give them ideas to try with the person. The book is available to buy as a paperback on Amazon and as an ebook on the Chipmunka website:
The following films demonstrate exercises that can help manage strong mind states and generate calm and relaxation.
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If we call someone mentally ill, in some ways we may be recognising their predicament as a powerful one, and their need for support. We might also be assuming their state of mind as faulty. But what if its much more than that? What if it is an expression of emotional conflict that needs, not to be cured, but to be understood and reconciled with?
We can go deeper than trying to say what is wrong with someone, how ill they are, or what category they fit into. We can instead ask: How do parts of them feel? What might different parts of them need? And what are the contexts in which these experiences have emerged?
We may also see the social context as an important place in which to create change. An individual's difficulties are intertwined with their social network. Therefore, rather than seek to merely fix the faulty individual, we may want to bring the people around the person together and find new - and more helpful - ways of relating that benefit everybody.
Rufus May and Eleanor Longden
“We must become confident in our own abilities to change our lives; we must give up being reliant on others to do everything for us. We need to start doing these things for ourselves. We must have the confidence to give up being ill so that we can start being recovered.”
Coleman (2004: p.15)
The more we can understand about voices we are hearing and the issues they represent the easier they will be to deal with. By finding out more about them we make them less mysterious and therefore less scary. This hand-out looks at how to get to know the voices, how to strengthen your awareness and how to understand and work with the deeper issues the voices are indicating.
Reflecting on my own experience of alternative realities as well as my experience as a psychologist helping others, I will consider how we best assist people experiencing other worlds of reality we find hard to relate to. I will first consider the philosophy of assisting people with unusual beliefs and ways of incorporating self help approaches into daily living to promote healing. This will be followed by looking at:
1) How to help people live more freely with their unusual beliefs.
2) The importance of increasing social connectedness and creating safety.
3) Reducing anxiety related to unusual beliefs.
4) Understanding the social and emotional meanings that the unusual beliefs represent. In the examples I will discuss the ways psychotherapeutic work can be helpful in understanding and addressing unusual beliefs.
By Dirk Corstens, Rufus May and Eleanor Longden
People who hear distressing voices can be entangled in repressing dialogues with their voices that limit their lives. Talking to the voices as outlined in this article is a technique that enhances a more fruitfull relationship between the voices and the voice hearer. This work is inspired by Voice Dialogue, a method developed by Hal and Sidra Stone. This methodical framework will be explained briefly. The technique and attitude necessary for speaking with the voices will be put forward. Indications and contraindications will be mentioned. Four examples clarify the potentials of this approach.
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