Psychotherapy for schizophrenia

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Psychotherapy for schizophrenia

There are different points of view on psychotherapy for schizophrenia. Sometimes, due to a false fear of psychiatry and psychiatrists, the patient’s relatives for a long time try to treat him with different specialists using exclusively psychotherapeutic methods, ignoring the need for drug treatment.

Sometimes, the opposite situation occurs, when the patient is prescribed a certain treatment regimen, and psychotherapy is “discarded as unnecessary”. Of course, the most beneficial for the patient is an integrated approach that combines psychotherapeutic and drug treatment.

Psychotherapy for schizophrenia

The majority of psychiatrists have recognized the inexpediency of psychotherapy in the acute period of the disease. Symptoms of schizophrenia such as delusions and hallucinations cannot be addressed with psychotherapy. Nevertheless, the very content of delirium and hallucinations is extremely important for the psychotherapist, since, firstly, it allows, having understood the special symbolic language of schizophrenia, to maximally “adjust” to the patient, establish a dialogue with him, and secondly, it may be in the future used as material for psychotherapy.

Stages of psychotherapy for schizophrenia 

Psychotherapy for schizophrenia can be conditionally divided into several stages:

  1. Informational and motivational. At this stage, it is important to convey to the patient information about his illness, treatment features, and possible side effects. It is important to convince him of the need for treatment, to instill confidence that with successful treatment, you can lead a completely fulfilling life. At the same time, work is underway with the patient’s relatives, aimed at debunking the myths about schizophrenia existing in society.
  2. The stage of “building plans”. The psychotherapist and the patient outline plans for the future. It should be borne in mind that the disease often introduces into the patient’s personality features that make it difficult for him to interact with people. Often the most safe for the patient is the professional area in which he can achieve great success. That is why rational employment is essential for people with schizophrenia.
  3. Psychotherapy aimed at harmonizing relationships with others. Personal life often becomes a problem area for people with schizophrenia. Often, patients with formal persistence seek to establish relationships with the opposite sex, to start a family, not even understanding why they need it, not being independent from their own parental family. The prospects for family formation by patients with schizophrenia in each case should be assessed separately. In any case, psychotherapy should be aimed at making the patient better aware of his life path, his true, and not imposed by society needs. The patient can be offered family psychotherapy with the aim of “separation”, to achieve independence from the parents. This is all the more useful because, according to some points of view, an attack of schizophrenia is a peculiar, painfully distorted path of separation. It is not for nothing that in the hallucinatory-delusional experiences of patients, motives often sound similar to the motives of the magical rituals of initiation (initiation into adulthood) of young men in primitive cultures. Proceeding from this, the separation of the patient from the parental family “by peaceful means” can be considered as the prevention of a new attack. Family psychotherapy also allows you to reveal and exclude unconscious secondary benefits that the family receives from the illness of a loved one (For example, the illness of a son unites parents in the fight for his health and “saves” from clarifying their own relationships).

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