≡ Menu

If you are new to this site, Questions and Answers about Recovery can be a good place to start!

Why Suppressing Psychosis Often Backfires – And What Works Better!

Are psychotic experiences something that should simply be suppressed?  These experiences cause so many problems, it may seem that the answer should always be yes!

But there’s a paradox when we try hard to get rid of psychotic experiences.  Our efforts to do so can quickly make the problem worse! 

At its simplest level, we see the basis for this when we try too hard to get rid of a thought.  For example if you focus too much on not thinking about elephants, they will be on your mind all day.  If you focus on not having the thought that you might have germs on your hand, you might spend all day washing your hands to make sure there is no basis for the thought. 

And if you are very sure you shouldn’t be having a thought, it might start to seem that the thought is coming from somewhere else, like a brain implant or a demon or telepathy from someone you don’t like.  Now the battle is really on!  But the prognosis for winning this battle is not good.  Efforts to get rid of what now seem like voices etc. just make them seem more important and more compelling.  Things can rapidly spin out of control, and go to some really dark places, which often just convinces everyone involved that doubling down on attempts at suppression is the way to go!

Fortunately, there is a better way.  Paradoxically, it involves accepting even the “crazy” thoughts or voices that seemed to be causing so much trouble, but in away that avoids making too much of them.

Our brains are weird, our minds are weird, and that’s OK.  We can learn to help people not make too much of the weirdness, and to identify what helps them move on and make a life they value, and to connect with the people and activities they love.

Finding the common humanity within the sometimes freaky experiences that get called psychosis is a key part of the CBT for psychosis approach called “normalizing.”  It can help a lot in getting people to change their relationship with tricky experiences, rather than seeing those experiences as pathology that requires suppression and elimination.

If you would like a better idea of what normalizing is, check out this video:

For those who want to learn more about how CBT and a few other therapy options can be helpful for psychosis, or what gets called that, there is a series of 5 seminars that I am offering over the next few months.  Attending one or more of these seminars could be a very affordable way to grow your competence in a psychological approach for psychosis – and you can save by accessing Early Bird pricing that only lasts through 4/5/24!

Each seminar will be 4 hours long, and will provide time for questions, discussion, and practice. Continuing education credits will be available for most US professionals. Each seminar will be recorded, and those who register will have access to the recording. CE credit however will only be available to those who attend the seminar live (on Zoom, or in person in Eugene OR) for the entire seminar.

The seminars are:

Date: 3/29/24 –  Essential Elements of CBT for Psychosis: Engagement Style, Normalizing, & Developing a Formulation

Date: 5/10/24 – Paranoia and Troublesome Beliefs: A CBT Approach

Date: 6/21/24 – Voices, Visions, and Other Altered Perceptions: Changing Outcomes with CBT

Date: 7/19/24 – Trauma, Dissociation, and Psychosis: CBT and Other Approaches to Understanding and Recovery

Date: 8/16/24 – Addressing Cultural and Spiritual Issues Within Treatment for Psychosis

The most affordable option is to register for all 5 seminars as a bundle (only 59.99 per seminar if you register by 4/5/24) but you can also register for seminars individually.

For more information and to access options for registration, go to this link.

2 comments… add one
  • I would love to get to get on your mailing list


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.