“When we stop telling others what’s wrong and what they need, we might just create the space they need to speak for themselves . . . We don’t need to be smart or clever or all knowing - we just need to be willing to listen.”
Dave Umbongo, Recovery Network, Toronto

Do you have unusual experiences - ideas others don’t share or perceptions of alternate realities? Have you wondered where these experiences come from or what they’re about? Recovery-oriented talk therapy can be one path to understanding and becoming more empowered in difficult situations.

Many people who have had unusual experiences see them not as ‘symptoms’, but in a variety of ways: as survival mechanisms, an identity crisis, as spiritual emergencies, a healing process, finding a prophetic voice, as a way to express the ‘unspeakable’, to call out abuse or injustice, or a label given to invalidate critics . . .

A majority of people diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia’ can recover, according to global research. There is a great deal of evidence that psychosis is much more about problems in life - including trauma, racism, losses, ostracism, or isolation - than genes or chemical imbalances. As with other stressful situations, acceptance, compassion, and human connection can help.

The ‘open’, recovery-oriented approach starts with creating safe space for you to think about and, in your own time, begin speaking about your experiences. Open Dialogue family meetings help everyone to be heard by noticing and listening to all the voices of the group. We don’t try to analyze or ‘fix’ things. (People usually discover their own solutions). Psychosis work often starts amid great uncertainty and anxiety, but we trust the process of acceptance, being together, and speaking openly to begin to finding understanding and a way forward.

Psychotic experience can be very difficult, but also meaningful, understandable, and even growth-enhancing. Psychosis may be a natural human response to extreme situations. As Dan Fisher, PhD, MD, a psychiatrist long recovered from severe schizophrenia, says: “I’m a Board-certified psychiatrist. I prescribe medications. But I tell people, ‘These won’t solve your problems. You will solve your problems. These can give you some time, but you are the one who will solve your problems’.”