Re: Schizophrenia

Maureen Silos (
Wed, 09 Dec 1998 13:16:26 -0800

Yes, I would like to have a copy too! Tahnk you.


At 04:01 PM 12/9/98 -0500, you wrote:
>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
>> >
>> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>> ^^^
>> >
>Esteban Laso
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Maureen Silos, Ph.D.
UCLA, Center for African American Studies
phone: 310/825-7403(work); 310/450-4659 (home)
fax: 310/825-5019