Inventing the Self

Meaning making from psychosis…

October 29th, 2013 by Alessandro Mitrotti · No Comments

Rufus May suggests we consider voices “a meaningful expression of distress”. He encourages recovery through a combination of mindfulness, self-expression and socialization, this approach, in contrast to medication and hospitalization is both hopeful and humane.

It occurs to me that the lived experience of the his patients of must be something akin to living with any disease. the symptoms persist to greater or lesser degrees while the hearers learn to endure. I imagine that if hearing voices was accompanied by physical pain, it might be different.

The overarching premise that guides May as well as McCarthy-Jones (chapter 5) is the idea that the “important transition is not from voice-hearer to non-voice hearer, but from patient voice-hearer to healthy voice-hearer.”

The way May talked to voice of his Top Dog, he engaged in a compassionate dialogue, so rather than  dismissing the voices as a symptom, he is actively engaging the “whole”patient in a sort of group therapy. Through Top Dog, Rufus engaged the patient and the patient achieved a degree integration… This is encouraging.

The stories of voice-hearers are stories of transformation, stories of victory over adversity which ultimately become part of their autobiographical narrative and hence their identities. The self may be shattered by schizophrenia but can be reconstituted and enhanced by recovery.

It strikes me that these ideas are really new and cutting edge, like those of Alvin Noe and dare I say, Susan Blackmore…

Throughout these readings I have been to wondering about the relationship of language to voice-hearing: If a patient did not have the capacity for language, how might the condition be manifest? Is language an integral part of the illness?

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