Health knowledge made personal
According to what has been called the medical model, people who have been diagnosed with "schizophrenia" and with "psychosis" in general, have a brain disease or chemical imbalance. Past life experience such as trauma, according to that model, has nothing to do with why people have difficult or strange experiences now. While the medical model can easily be criticized for lacking evidence, a perhaps more important criticism of it is that it lacks any model for how people recover! If people have a brain disease today, how could they go on to have highly successful lives later? And why is it that most of those who are doing best have all long ago quit their "medical" treatment, psychiatric drugs?
The best alternative to the medical model might be described as the "life" model: people's life experience and their interpretations of their experience can lead them into some strange and often distressing mental states, in which they often get stuck, but from which they can possibly find their way out. This "finding the way out" is what we call recovery. Like people who have been inadvertently taken on a risky adventure, those who do find their way back often bring back a gift of some kind or other for the rest of us.
The author of this blog, Ron Unger LCSW, is a therapist who works with people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, using a respectful and skill building approach called cognitive therapy for psychosis. Ron has a number of family members who have been hospitalized for "mental illness" including psychosis, and Ron himself has had experiences that might have earned him a "psychosis" type of label, had he been spotted by the mental health system at the time!