Narrative Therapy

Narrative Therapy

Narrative therapy is a type of therapy that was developed by Michael White and David Epston. It focuses on narrative. Therapists ask questions to produce vivid descriptions of life events. The primary focus of narrative therapy is people’s expressions of their experiences. This process allows people to give meaning to the things that happen in their lives. It gives them framework to consider their relationship with their problems. Narrative therapy has been used to treat previously unmanageable cases of anorexia nervosa, ADHD, schizophrenia, and many other problems.

Narrative Therapy: Concepts

The main concept behind narrative therapy is that are identities are shaped by our stories; the way we conceptualize the things that happen to us. When we describe a problem, we also let the therapist know what influences our problems and our ideas. Also, putting a problem into a story distances us from the problem. A common refrain in narrative therapy is “The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem.” Distance from a problem can make it easier to solve.

Narrative Therapy: Method

In narrative therapy, a person’s beliefs, skills, and knowledge help them overcome their problems. The therapist acts like an investigative reporter; gathering information from the client and then presenting them logically. This process helps the person undergoing narrative therapy to externalize their problems and evaluate them. Generally, the stories that have the most problems, which are “problem-saturated”, tend to dominate in early narrative therapy. These dominant stories tend to shape a person’s identity, according to proponents of narrative therapy.

This process can also help identify exceptions to the problem’s influence. Even though the problem that may be very severe, there are still parts of the person which haven’t been destroyed by it. Through this process, narrative therapy can uncover a person’s resilient belief systems and lead to a change.

Sometimes in narrative therapy, the therapist will use an outsider witness. These are people who are friends of the client or old clients who have experience with the same problem. They generally have some knowledge of the problem at hand. These people are called in to sit and listen in on a session. Afterwards, the therapist will ask them what stood out to them in what they just heard. Often having an outsider in the room can be very beneficial. These witnesses can relate their own experience or point out a part of the narrative that may have gone unnoticed.

Narrative Therapy: Criticism

Some criticisms of narrative therapy include that it seems to align with the theory that there are no absolute truths. Critics think that this type of thinking can lead to moral relativism. Also, practitioners of narrative therapy have been very critical of other types of therapy, and put themselves above practitioners of other types of therapy.

Narrative therapy is also criticized for the lack of proof for many of its claimed benefits. Critics say that there is no empirical evidence that proves that narrative therapy is actually effective, and more studies need to be done.



Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental condition that can cause a person to lose complete contact with reality which is known as psychosis. It also causes mood problems. It is believed that schizoaffective disorder is even less common than its similar disorder schizophrenia. Schizoaffective disorder is rare in children but happens to be more common in women than in men.

The exact causes of schizoaffective disorder are unknown but it is said that changed in a person’s genes and chemicals in their brain may play a role. Some experts do not think it is even a separate disorder from schizophrenia.

As with many disorders the symptoms vary from person to person. Usually those people with schizoaffective disorder seek treatment for the symptoms not knowing they have it. For instance some people will seek therapy for problems with their mood, daily function and abnormal thoughts.

Losing contact with reality and mood problems can occur at the same time or by themselves for those that have schizoaffective disorder. The course the disorder takes may involve cycles that go from severe to slightly improving.

Here are some of the most common symptoms of schizoaffective disorder:

  • Disorganized speech that is not logical
  • Changes in appetite and energy
  • False beliefs or delusions
  • Mood that is either too good, or depressed or irritable
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there or hallucinations
  • Social isolation
  • Speaking so quickly that others cannot interrupt you
  • Lack of concern with hygiene or grooming
  • Problems sleeping
  • Problems with concentration

There are multiple signs and tests that can be done to see if a person has schizoaffective disorder. A health care provider can do a psychiatric evaluation to find out about the behavior and symptoms. In order to be sure a person may be referred to a psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis.

In order for a person to be diagnosed officially with schizoaffective disorder they must have psychotic symptoms during a period of normal mood for at least two weeks.  A health care provider or psychiatrist will first rule out all other possibilities. For instance some other things can cause the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder such as:

  • Abusing cocaine, amphetamines, or PCP
  • Having a seizure disorder
  • Taking steroid medications

The treatment for schizoaffective disorder will vary for each person just as the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder vary from person to person. Most likely a health care provider will write a prescription to help improve the mood and treat the psychosis for the person. For instance:

  • Antipsychotic medications are used to treat psychotic symptoms
  • Antidepressant medications and mood stabilizers may be prescribed to help with mood

Group therapy and talk therapy is also a common solution for those suffering from schizoaffective disorder.

Those with schizoaffective disorder have a higher chance of success and going back to their normal level of function than other people with other psychotic disorders do although long term treatment for schizoaffective disorder is needed and the results of course vary from person to person depending on the severity of their disorder.

There are also certain things that can make schizoaffective disorder worse.

  • Abusing drugs
  • Problems due to manic behavior
  • Suicidal behavior
  • Problems following medical treatment and therapy




Schizophrenia Therapy

Schizophrenia Therapy

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by an inability to distinguish reality from unreality, the inability to think clearly, and inability to experience normal emotions or to interact normally in social situations. It is common for schizophrenics to experience hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thoughts and speech.

Schizophrenia is a complex illness, and, like most mental disorders, no one really knows what causes it. There are, however, certain genetic and environmental factors that increase your risk of schizophrenia. For example, those at greatest risk for developing schizophrenia are people who have an immediate family member with the disease. As far as environmental risk factors go, living in an urban area, experiencing prenatal stress and substance abuse can all increase the likelihood that someone will develop schizophrenia. Abuse of pot, cocaine, and amphetamines have all been linked with developing the disease. About half of people suffering from schizophrenia abuse drugs and/or alcohol.

Schizophrenia usually appears in their late teens or early twenties. There is no known cure for the disease. It is a lifelong disease that requires schizophrenia therapy and other treatment.

Schizophrenia therapy includes many different ways to approach the disease.  The main treatment for schizophrenia is medication. Usually, however, medication is combined with schizophrenia therapy and social support. Medication is effective in controlling the psychosis of the disease, but schizophrenia therapy is essential for someone suffering from schizophrenia so they can learn to be productive members of society. Schizophrenics often need to learn how to find a job, interact in social situations, cope with everyday life, and have healthy relationships with other people. Schizophrenia therapy can help prevent unemployment, homelessness, and poverty, which are common among people with this disease.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is often one technique used in schizophrenia therapy. This type of schizophrenia therapy addresses and attempts to eliminate negative emotions and behaviors.  Cognitive behavioral schizophrenia therapy attempts to correct errors in thinking through a goal-oriented process with a therapist. Role playing and talk therapy are essential to this type of schizophrenia therapy.

Family therapy is also an important part of schizophrenia therapy. The family of a person suffering from schizophrenia is often under a huge amount of stress. It is difficult for the family of a person suffering from schizophrenia to know how to best support and help them. The family needs support and resources.  Family schizophrenia therapy is important for person suffering from the disease because it essential that a person suffering from schizophrenia has a strong support network.

Social skills training is also a part of schizophrenia therapy because people suffering from schizophrenia often have very poor social skills. People who are suffering from schizophrenia often need to learn to cook, find employment, and take care of themselves. It is also important for a person suffering from schizophrenia to learn to take their medication properly and manage side effects. One of the biggest barriers to schizophrenia therapy is non-compliance with medications. Without medications, the hallucinations and delusions come back and the person is unable to participate in schizophrenia therapy.

With the right medications and schizophrenia therapy, a person with this disease can live an independent and productive life.



Therapy for co-occuring disorders

Therapy for Co-occuring disorders
Therapy for Co-occuring disorders

Overcoming a drug and alcohol addiction is challenging enough as it is alone but having to do so while also struggling with a mental illness can make the process much more difficult. The condition of having two disorders or substance abuse plus a mental illness is known as co-occurring disorder or dual diagnoses. Co-occurring disorders are complex and the more information you have on them, the better you will be able to help yourself, or someone you know, to get the proper therapy for co-occurring disorders.

There are multiple things you should know about therapy for co-occurring disorders. Here we are going to go through the top ten things you should know about the therapy for co-occurring disorders:

  • Traditional therapy or therapy for addiction won’t do it. Most drug rehab centers are not equipped to handle the psychiatric element of a co-occurring disorder and traditional therapy is not equipped to handle drug addiction. Finding a drug rehab center that specializes in co-occurring disorders would be ideal although most drug rehab centers focus on the drug addiction element of the problem.
  • Therapy for co-occurring disorders must realize that those individuals suffering with dual diagnoses are high-risk individuals. Studies have found that those with a dual diagnosis are more prone to violence and have a high suicide rate.
  • A co-occurring disorder can be made up of a variety of things so the therapy for co-occurring disorders must be able to treat them all. For instance to be classified as having a co-occurring disorder, the individual must have an addiction (alcohol, cocaine, heroin, prescription drugs, etc.) and a mental illness (schizophrenia, anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression etc.) The combinations of these co-occurring disorders are nearly endless.
  • Therapy for co-occurring disorders is important because mental illness often leads into the drug addiction. Those who suffer from bipolar disorder, anxiety or depression often turn to drugs and alcohol to “self-medicate” as a means of dealing with their symptoms.
  • Therapy for co-occurring disorders is more common than you might think. Recent studies have shown that 1 out of every 2 individuals with a mental disorder are also suffering with drug addiction. Integrated therapy for co-occurring disorders is the answer. There is a much
  • Therapy for co-occurring disorders is the answer. There is a much higher success rate for those individuals who receive therapy for co-occurring disorders, as opposed to treating each issue individually.
  • Family members can play an important role in therapy for co-occurring disorders. Those dealing with co-occurring disorders need their family for love and support. By reading all the available information on the subject, and attending support groups and workshops, families will be helping the individual, and themselves, get through this very difficult process.
  • Therapy for co-occurring disorders may take time. Because of the multi-layered nature of co-occurring disorders, recovery may take longer than standard therapy. Individuals and their families need to be patient, and move at their own pace, even if that means taking part in a program lasting several months or a year.
  • Dual Diagnosis drug rehabs have therapy for co-occurring disorders and have specialists in dual diagnosis. So if you’re looking for a drug rehab that has therapy for co-occurring disorders look for one that specializes in dual diagnosis