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Importance of the trialogue

The significance of a subjective point of view

Author: G., an individual experienced with psychoses

First of all, I would like to introduce myself briefly and provide you with some fundamental information in order to avoid any eventual misunderstandings. I am an expert, as a result of my own experiences, and involved in the "www.psychosis-bipolar.com" Website. Through advanced training entitled "Experienced Involvement", I have had an opportunity to present my (subjective) view of psychosis and to actively participate in providing psychosocial care for other affected persons.

The viewpoint of those who are affected is completely personal but, surprisingly, frequently demonstrates many common features to other perspectives. It often deals with grievances, contradictions and, in part, with subjectively perceived injustices. The way one sees oneself must not automatically stand in contradiction to the current scientific knowledge and/or to the presently preferred guidelines for therapy. Instead, more respect must be developed for the subjective point of view, since we rightfully demand that the individual person and not the pathological characteristics should stand in the forefront.

My desire is to share my experiences in order to make it possible to provide an expanded view and to further the adequate treatment for those suffering from psychoses, as well as to demand some respect. Our expert consulting team for "psychosis-bipolar.com" is made up of several experienced individuals, who, through their own experiences with psychoses or bipolar illnesses, are well informed and able to mediate their view of things and/or of their experiences. This can take place since we represent supplementary or sometimes even completely other opinions (viewpoints), which emerge from our view - namely from the view of an affected person. The viewpoint of those who are affected is always at least a point of view, which should be understood as an individually procured situation within itself and which is naturally always also, at least in part, associated with one's environment.

What those who are affected frequently report

"I was judged exclusively according to symptoms, genetic dispositions, biochemical, metabolic disturbances involving the brain, social or even cultural or other scientific parameters! Although I frequently had great desires to find an ear for the personal matters and turmoil, which kept me very busy in the course of my acute psychotic experiences, I was unable to do so. Since I myself could not overcome these matters, however, a condition of grief emerged."

Naturally, many persons affected by psychoses consider it to be important to first of all receive assistance on this plane, namely the matters at hand involving the psychotic experience. After all, the completely subjective dilemma and the basis for understanding one's individual situation is that which has favoured the development of the psychosis.

As experts from our own experience, we therefore demand and/or advocate, again and again, a critical attitude, since the following psychosocial provisions should be valid:

  • The affected individual should be heard (regardless in what condition and/or at which point of his/her experience he/she is to be found), so that an individual understanding develops by the person affected and a suitable start on the way to convalescence can be initiated.
  • The person affected should be demanded to participate and/or be supported in their active participation in their healing process and also in determining this; after all, the desire for bringing about a change of one's own will is often the decisive motor.
  • The participants should discuss where the personal preferences of the affected individual lie as regards the available therapies and he/she should receive active support therein to at least try the selected therapy. If the person affected considers this to be unsuitable, they can then reorient themselves.

Before everything else, it involves treating the affected person as a mature individual in need of help, to advocate an active cooperation in the search for a way toward convalescence and, if necessary, to await the proper moment for providing support in the initiation of this path. Many affected persons, however, report that they are forced to undergo a proposed treatment, without any questions or answers – and without any regard to their individual needs or objections.

The fact that one's own will can alone lead to a recovery may prove to be possible in the ideal case. To be taken into consideration here is the fact that, in the perspective of a person with an active psychosis, sometimes has difficulty understanding that a disease exists. Often the cause of the grief lies (from a subjective viewpoint) fully independent of oneself and the feeling of unjust treatment is only directed against others. In the active psychosis, persons often have an ego relationship similar to that of a child, which may be seen thoroughly as a self-protective factor. In a crisis, the brain returns to an earlier form of cognition. This can happen to anyone. However, this manner of reaction in adults unfortunately encounters little understanding and acceptance.

This is not only due to the fact that the public view of psychic crises is based on prevailing ignorance and prejudices, which are strengthened through inaccurate information, provided even by the media. Let us not forget that the actual causes which lead to these illnesses have not yet been clarified sufficiently.

Friendliness and patience

All persons carry a share of the responsibility for the welfare of their fellow men and women, but just only a share. Our ethical, moral value system should actually be the basis for our actions and friendliness should be a matter of course. In today's society, however, friendliness is dependent on other elements, and before everything else it is based on one's own advantages. Who is already willing to be kind to a stranger at the outset, who is obviously confused, jittery, latently mistrustful or perhaps even angry? Just this so seriously required kindness is often sowed sparsely in times of a crisis - and that is perhaps even a primary reason why this condition is considered to be so extremely sorrowful.

A psychosis is often associated with a shift in reality and an altered perception. Those who are affected by such a condition and therapists experience the world differently. While the one is turned inward, that is self-centred, the other stands (more or less) stably in the middle of their life. Under this point of view as well it is surely easy for outsiders to understand why it can sometimes cost so much power and time to mediate a judgment here, which will alter the active self and, as a result, bring about the recovery of the person who is affected. This perhaps laborious clarification process of replacing a "hierarchy", which indicates what is right or wrong, cannot lead to an enduring and contenting result.

Thus, I appeal to all professionals, to all relatives and, primarily, to all persons who are affected: Be patient with the person opposite you and, ahead of everything else, with yourself personally and attempt to muster up some understanding for the situation of the others. Only in this way will your hands find one another - those of the helping person and those from the person requiring help. Listen to one another attentively for, even in the smallest of remarks, there is at least a breath of truth!

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