Can a Psychosis be a Healing Experience?

Poster A50, Thursday, October 20, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Le Baron

Margreet de Pater1; 1Moderator of ISPS discussionlist

Psychiatry is organized to suppress or prevent psychosis. However amidst the loud voices of medical psychiatry there have always been small voices of alternative modes of thinking: a psychosis can be a healing even religious experience provided that a person is surrounded by supporting family and friends. This vision is mostly denied or strongly rejected. There are however a few historical and recent experiments providing a containing environment where no or very small doses of medication were given where after years people functioned better than with TAU. And since the practice of early intervention we know more. We know that before a psychosis reveals there often is a period of years that a person does not function well. Also we know that problematic cognitive functioning invalidates a person who is vulnerable for psychosis more than a psychosis from time to time. And that this cognitive function is not influenced by the frequency of psychoses. So could it be that a psychosis is an (unconscious) attempt of the person to catch up for a not optimal development? In early psychosis research there must be data to come closer to answering this question. For instance there are observations that some persons who experience a psychosis do better than persons who have comparable characteristics who didn’t become psychotic. The presenter will talk about her survey of relevant literature and present some opinions of people with lived experience.

Topic Area: Ethical Issues

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