Re: Schizophrenia

Esteban Laso (
Wed, 09 Dec 1998 16:01:30 -0500


I would like a copy of your paper, please! Can you email it to me?
Thanks a lot!

Barbara Tooth wrote:

> Tim I haven't read many of the posts about schizophrenia as yet, but your
> first observation has stirred me to a quick reply whilst I remember.
> I think people who have a diagnosis of schizophrenia CAN and DO routinely
> check their constructions against social consensus and modify them
> accordingly. Lets consider the following scenario. A person has the
> symptoms of schizophrenia, they come into contact with well meaning health
> professionals (many of whom have very clinical and poor prognostic views
> about such things) and they effectively check their constructions against
> the social consensus and modify their behaviour accordingly. They are
> advised to avoid stress, stop studying, stop working, take medications
> that produce side effects that are often worse than the symptoms and often
> produce symptoms that are then interpreted as symptoms of the disorder.
> Many people are told they need to be cared for, many scheduled and
> sometimes held down and sedated and put in seclusion rooms. It is easy to
> begin to construct a world with little hope for the future, a world
> dominated by what a person can not do rather than a world dominated by what
> they can, a world where they need "help" etc etc.
> >From the research I have undertaken looking at what people who have a
> diagnosis of schizophrenia (and consider themselves to be "in recovery")
> have found to be the most important factors in their recovery it seems that
> many people do effectively construe others constructions of their
> constructions and modify their behaviour accordingly and that this is one
> of the major things they have to recover from. For a majority of people we
> spoke to, they accepted the "system" for many years but it wasn't until
> they became determined to overcome the impact of the disorder on their
> lives that they began to recover.
> Of couse there were many findings from the research, but the one thing that
> never ceases to amaze me is that whenever I present the findings at
> conferences there are always some (many) health professionals who get
> upset, whilst consumers say "yes, that is what it is like". Health
> professionals are invalidated, consumers validated. Sounds a bit like where
> you started your first observation. Some health professionals have an
> inability to check their constructions against the social consensus and
> modify them accordingly.
> If anyone wants a copy of the report I would be happy to email it.
> Barbara Tooth
> ----------
> > From: Tim A. Connor <>
> > To:
> > Subject: Re: Schizophrenia
> > Date: Monday, 30 November 1998 16:30
> >
> >
> > In working with "schizophrenics" (Kelly always put that in scare quotes,
> > so I'll follow him), I've struggled to understand and find ways to help
> > them with their difficulties that are consistent with constructivist
> > principles. A few things stand out:
> >
> > 1) It seems to me that the core of "schizophrenia" is not the content of
> > their constructions, but their inability to do what most of us do
> > routinely--to check our constructions against social consensus and modify
> > them accordingly (or not modify them, but to effectively construe others'
> > constructions of our constructions, and temper our social behavior
> > accordingly). In other words, an impairment of sociality and
> commonality.
> > There are lots of people who have unusual, even seriously annoying,
> belief
> > systems and yet manage to avoid getting diagnosed. They must be able to
> > do something that "schizophrenics" can't.
> >
> > 2) Even if, as I think we must, we concede that "schizophrenia" (or at
> > least some "schizophrenias") has its roots in some dysfunction of the
> > brain chemistry, we still need to take into account the effect on
> > personality development of having such a condition. Not only the
> > difficulty of construing and anticipating our own experiences, but the
> > constant invalidation of our constructions by others. ( I have worked,
> > I'm sorry to say, in places where clients were all but forbidden to talk
> > about their "delusions" or "hallucinations" and staff were told to simply
> > change the subject if the client tried to talk about his or her bizarre
> > experiences or fears. I can't think of many situations less conducive to
> > mental health than being unable to communicate one's experience to
> > anyone.) Normalizing the brain chemistry does not "cure"
> "schizophrenia,"
> > though it may be a necessary precondition for such a "cure."
> >
> > 3) To have a relationship with someone, I need to construe his/her
> > constructions, including constructions of self, but I don't need to take
> > them at face value. I don't assume that either I or the client
> > necessarily have the "correct" construction of the situation, but that we
> > can benefit from each others' perspectives. So I have no hesitation
> about
> > saying, "I know that you believe you are not ill, and that (elaborate
> > system involving the US Govt., the Marines, almost all psychiatrists, and
> > a special research project dealing with ESP) is true; well it doesn't
> make
> > sense to me, and frankly I think it's a symptom of your problem and that
> > you might well change your mind if you agreed to take the recommended
> dose
> > of Zyprexa. But that's your choice to make...what are you willing to
> > experiment with to make your life a little better today?" The "credulous
> > approach" doesn't mean I have to share the client's world view, only to
> > assume that it makes sense to him/her and try to understand how.
> >
> > I think the constructivist/biological dichotomy is a rather unproductive
> > one (on both sides), hopefully one to be transcended someday. I do find
> > that the more we learn about neurobiology, the more support there is for
> > constructivist psychology, but most of the people on the biomedical side
> > don't seem to have noticed yet.
> >
> > Tim
> >
> >
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> ^^^^
> > Tim Connor, M.S. "Psychotherapy is not
> > Pacific University an applied science, it
> > School of Professional Psychology is a basic science in
> > 2004 Pacific Avenue which the scientists
> > Forest Grove, OR 97116 USA are the client and his
> > <> therapist"
> > --George Kelly
> >
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> ^^^
> >

Esteban Laso
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