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Empathy, love, and facing life directly

People often become psychotic because they face a problem or set of problems that appears overwhelming to them.  Then what happens is they get tricked into thinking that the “psychosis” is their primary problem, when really the primary problem is their difficulty in facing their original problems in a direct way. 

So for example, people will start seeing their problem as a need to “stop the voices” or to quit seeing images, or quit having violent impulses, or whatever.  (Trying to hard to “get rid of” such mental experiences often just amplifies them, as I’ve written about elsewhere.)  The mental health system tends to jump in and agree that “psychosis” is the real problem, and prescribes drugs to stop it, often failing to notice when the drugs themselves become disabling or ruinous to a person’s health.  All of this ignores the fact that “psychosis” never was the primary problem, but rather, it was the need to face problems in living more directly.

I just read an article about a therapist who was good at just this common sense approach of helping people face their problems directly.  He wasn’t opposed to all use of medication, but thought it was a horrible substitute for real assistance, which he saw as joining with people in helping them face issues that they weren’t ready to deal with alone.  See this article about the work of Dr Elvin Semrad.

4 comments… add one
  • Hi,
    I wanted to read the article about Dr. Semrad, but the link only takes me to the front page of the journal. I couldn’t find the actual article…
    Do I have to subscribe in order to go directly? Or can you give me the name of the article? Any help would be appreciated.

  • I think I fixed the link – let me know if there are any more problems!

  • Yes! Thanks so much for your quick response 🙂

  • Oh, wouldn’t it be wonderful if his ideologies were the norm for treatment?