OMG: Talking to “schizophrenics” helps them!!

Oh no, I want to be happy                                           and I am really quite glad that Benedict Carey has FINALLY got around to publishing an article about the effectiveness of psychotherapy for people diagnosed with schizophrenia. This is a welcome message, one that can inspire hope for those diagnosed and their loved ones. It will hopefully inspire current and future mental health professionals to engage in this very rewarding work.

Often when I tell people that I specialize in working  with people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychosis, they are either in awe (e.g., it’s great that YOU want to do that work, because I definitely do NOT want to!) or wonder what the heck the point is (e.g. does that help, do those people really get better?!). So, it is definitely wonderful that the popular media is finally aware that people diagnosed with schizophrenia benefit from psychotherapy.

But, frankly, I was disappointed with Carey’s article for a couple of reasons, beginning with the headline that refers to “schizophrenics”. OK, Mr.Carey he may not have editorial decisions regarding the headline. But, really? Schizophrenics? Is that all they are? How about “people diagnosed with schizophrenia”?  Is the editorial staff of the NY Times really so unaware of the stigma of referring to someone as “a schizophrenic”?

My second major complaint is the lack of historical context of this article.  Psychotherapy has successfully used with people with schizophrenia since the last century. Even if we limit the discussion to CBT, Aaron Beck first wrote about therapy for psychosis in 1952!

There are thousands of therapists who have been doing effective work for a long time. I am too tired and lazy right now to go into the details,



but I am just going to give you all a couple of names and you can look it up yourself.

1. Bertram Karon, Ph.D. 

In 1994, the American Psychological Association produced a DVD entitled “Effective Psychoanalytic Therapy of Schizophrenia and Other Severe Disorders”

2. Courtenay Harding, Ph.D.

This is a nice summary of Dr. Harding’s Vermont study and other research on recovery from schizophrenia. Please note, her study was published in 1987.

3. Here is Brian Koehler’s summary from 2006 of the long-term follow up studies on schizophrenia.

‘Nuff said for now. Time to work on my luncheon presentation for SF.

Peace out,

Jessica Arenella, ISPS-US Bloggette


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One Response to OMG: Talking to “schizophrenics” helps them!!

  1. Pingback: 2nd & 3rd stories in NY Times about people with schizophrenia doing alright! | Blogging With ISPS-US

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