Re: recovery/schizophrenia/voices

Bill Ramsay (
Thu, 03 Jul 1997 09:43:11 +0100

Dear Barbara

At 02:04 PM 7/3/97 +1000, you wrote:
>Hi everyone joining this discussion.

Me, I didn't join, had no intention of joining. I just got sucked in. I'm
still wondering how it happened!


>Also some people do want a label. They want something that validates their
>experience. So whilst some do not like having the label, others do and who
>are we to discount them?

Is it then reasonable to say that being labelled, for some people, validates
their construing of themselves? What is a label if not, in some sense, one
pole of a construct? If so, it is initially presumably someone else's
construct, a 'given' construct, adopted into the (core?) structure of the
labelee, maybe because it provides a missing link in their hierarchy?.
Could this be taken as a definition of compliance _other than_ in a "them
and us" sense (see below)? I'm groping in the dark, here, but there's so
much has emerged about the need for tidying up terminology in this thread.
It doesn't help having my hands tied by relative ignorance!

>I also noted from my response to Rob Adelman how much the use of terminology
>such as compliance evoked very much an "us and them" response from me. This
>is something I don't usually do, but I usually don't talk about compliance
>either. How easy it is to slip into old patterns.
>The voice hearing experience is fascinating and I agree much more notice
>needs to be taken of content...
>.... I think the only way the understand these things is to ask the
>experts, those who have the experience. Yet I still maintain the
>relationship has to be different if people are really going to be open. This
>is not merely anti-psychiatry rhetoric.

I couldn't agree more. The whole discussion is drifting a bit towards the
theoretical and we need to share the experience in order to understand it.
PCP seems to me to be a natural approach. Research questions: Do the
"voices" construe? Can we get at the underlying construct hierarchies?
What relationships do these have with their auditors' systems? What does
this tell us about the nature of consciousness? (Add "if sos" and "if
anythings" to taste.)
>Rob talks about the denial issue and finding some way of working with people
>in some way of managing their illness. I think just being there, available
>and more as a friend than a health professional is what the people in our
>research have asked for. Also the majority of people found other consumers
>to be the ones with whom they wished to talk, and they found the contact
>they had with them far more useful than the contact they had with health

Hardly surprising, when you think about it. Health professionals try to
validate their own construct systems. Friends try to validate each others'.
The implications of the sociality corollary loom large here.

>I'd also agree with Esteban's comments. I can't remember the researchers but
>isn't there a big study going on about the similarity of delusions in
>western culture and the experience of sharmans in eastern cultures? Now this
>is really interesting stuff. Many times I have discussed people's psychotic
>experiences with them and it is generally the case that it is easy to
>understand where they come from.

How widespread _is_ "psychotic" experience? I reckon I have had experiences
that would, in another context, be regarded as psychotic, e.g. occasionally
I remember - not very clearly, but compellingly - things that, on
reflection, never happened - couldn't have happened - to me and I am
convinced they were not dreams. Spontaneously recovered spurious memories,
if you like. None of them are dramatic, just everyday, plausible, neutral
to pleasurable things. Yes, it's easy to understand where they came from.
It's also easy, in that context, to see how psychosis could be the
consequence of someone's re-contruing of such episodes - the clients', their
family's or friends' - should the client's behaviour defy construing or
invalidate their construct systems. In those cases, who is not complying?
Who is in denial?

Thanks, Barbara.

Got to work!



W. Ramsay,
Dept. of Educational Studies,
University of Strathclyde,
Jordanhill Campus,
G13 1PP,

'phone: +44 (0)141 950 3364 (direct dial-in)
fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367
'fax: +44 (0)141 950 3367