I am a mental health counselor who specializes in working with people who have the sorts of problems that get diagnosed as “schizophrenia,” schizoaffective disorder,” “bipolar disorder” and other “psychotic disorders.” Much of my method is drawn from the approach known as “cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for psychosis.”
CBT in general has been shown to be helpful for a wide variety of mental and emotional problems. It is a common-sense form of talk therapy, where the therapist helps the client experiment with changing thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors in ways that might help resolve problems. While many people have been told that talk therapy is useless for the problems with experiences such as voices, paranoia and odd beliefs., there is now extensive research that shows that talking with a person who understands how to work with these problems can actually be quite helpful.
What about the relationship between this kind of therapy and medications? Many people are already taking antipsychotic medications, but they find that big problems continue despite the medication, and they would like some other way to deal with those problems. Other people would like to reduce or get off antipsychotic medications, or have never started medications and want to try a psychological rather than a medical approach. CBT has been shown to be possibly helpful in all of these kinds of cases.
What to expect from CBT for psychosis:
- Respect. I do not assume that I know everything about what is going on or that I can tell you what to do or think. Instead, I ask you to join with me in carefully observing and thinking about what is going on, and then you decide what you want to do to move forward.
- Goals are structured around what you want, to make your life work for you..
- Understanding. I will work together with you to find ways to make sense of what happened and what is happening. Cognitive therapy assumes that what is happening to you and what you are thinking and feeling always makes some kind of sense, even if it takes some time to decipher it.
- An active role for yourself: Often people diagnosed with psychosis are simply told that there is something wrong with their brain, and that nothing can be done about it except to take medication. Cognitive therapy is different: you and I will work together to find alternative ways of looking at things, thinking about things, and acting, so that your problems will be reduced or resolved.
Those who want to read more about CBT for psychosis could start with the article “The ABCs of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Schizophrenia” by Lars Hansen MD, David Kingdon, MD, and Douglas Turkington, MD which is available at http://bit.ly/caH9F2
You might also want to check out the free preview section of my online course on CBT for psychosis, more about that course at https://recoveryfromschizophrenia.org/cbt-for-psychosis/
I am also very interested in working with families around these issues. I am trained in family therapy approaches and I believe family dialogue can be very helpful in resolving problems that may contribute to, or result from, psychosis. I prefer to work with the family including the person who has been diagnosed as having the problem, but in cases where that is not possible, I also meet with family members separately.
Details about my practice:
I am a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and I can accept a number of forms of insurance, or cash payment, in my private practice at 1210 Pearl St. in Eugene. I can also accept OHP in my work at Center for Family Development, which is at 261 E. 12th in Eugene. You can call me at 541-513-1811 to get more information or to set up an appointment.
Types of Insurance I accept: I am on panel with Reliant Behavioral Health, Optum, Moda Health, MHN, Pacific Source, ODS, Medicare, and Regence. I can accept Providence and other types of insurance that pay for out of network providers (deductibles and copays are often higher.) People who are covered under the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) can see me by arranging for services through Center for Family Development (CFD)- call CFD at 541-342-8437 for details on that option.
Group discussion and support related to hearing voices and other “extreme states” like paranoia etc.
The Eugene/Springfield hearing voices and extreme states support group it is open to all members of the public for free. Details are at http://www.differentminds.us/eshv/