When people talk about finding something of value in “mad” or “psychotic” or “extreme” experiences, they are usually accused by those in mainstream psychiatry of “romanticizing an illness,” and overlooking how disruptive and distressing these states can be. But when only the negatives about mad experiences are noticed, the focus goes to attempts at suppression, despite increasing evidence that attempts at suppression can contributes to long term dysfunction.
In an ISPS-US webinar – Exploring the Promise and the Pitfalls of “Mad Pride” – I explored a middle ground approach, which balances an awareness of the hazards of mad experiences with a willingness to notice what might be positive about them. Starting with a more open mind, it becomes possible to help people to eventually understand their experiences in life promoting ways, rather than being stuck in either avoiding and suppressing them or being overwhelmingly immersed in them. Methods of applying this approach to improving interactions with “mad” people, and with the “mad” portions of our own minds, were discussed.
Check it out for yourself!