Recovery is Possible

Great progress has been made in our understanding of the voice-hearing & uncommon beliefs associated with 'schizophrenia' & similar labels over the past 25 years.

Since the 1970s we have known that 'schizophrenia' often takes a different course in developing countries than it does in America. A return to work, family, & usual activities, without relapse, is the norm in many parts of the world. Other discoveries evolving from the self-help movement & psychotherapy research have enabled thousands of people to begin living life the way they want, rather than fulfilling the negative predictions about 'schizophrenia' that we usually hear in the mental health profession.

Recovery from severe psychological distress is possible. It may not be easy. Patience & persistence are needed as you work toward your goals. You may find yourself facing problems & feelings that can seem overwhelming at first. You may decide that your current lifestyle is preferable & you do not want a change. Recovery begins with your decision — and many recent developments give hope that real change is possible, if you want it.

I have specialized training in several modes of evidence-based or user-created methods of psychosis recovery. I collaborate with service users to identify & work toward their goals, emphasizing safety, respect, transparency, & care.

Recent Research on Recovery

World Health Organization (1969, 1978, 1997): 50-60% of people in developing countries who meet Western criteria for schizophrenia diagnosis recover without disability or subsequent relapse within 5-15 years. Only 30% of people receiving standard treatment in our mental health system achieve this level of recovery in their lifetime.

book living with voices

Harding et al., 1987: 55-60% of people with chronic schizophrenia released from Vermont State Hospital in the early 1960s, with community support, were found to be living without disability or significant symptoms 25 years later. The large majority of the recovered group were not receiving ongoing treatment, such as medication.

Seikkula et al. (1994-2011): The prevalence of chronic schizophrenia has gone down 80% in Western Lapland, Finland, using integrated family therapy & other psychosocial support as primary interventions.

Romme, Escher, et al. (1987): Across cultures, 2-8% of people hear voices (that others can't hear) on a regular basis. Only a minority of these people develop psychiatric problems. Acceptance of voices, searching for the meaning of voices, profiling one's voices, & engaging voices in dialogue are some of the many ways voice-hearers have used to recover from negative voicehearing experiences.