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A Language for Psychosis: Psychoanalysis of Psychotic States by Paul Williams

By Paul Williams

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Additional info for A Language for Psychosis: Psychoanalysis of Psychotic States

Sample text

If you pay direct attention, they disappear. Analyst: I think your daughter’s leaving for school, the Fall season, and the weekend break, combined with the progress you’ve felt that we have been making are threatening to your vulnerable self. One you, a very early you, seems rooted to red sandstone hills of your early background – Mother Nature in lieu of actual mother. The nondescript man is me whom you feel may not be able sufficiently to protect you as you leap from your protective yet threatening psychotic state into the swimming pools of ordinary, sane life.

I make these comments from the basic assumption that individual psychoanalytically oriented psychotherapy is a suitable method of treatment for wellselected psychotic patients in an appropriate setting. Many well-known studies have reached the opposite conclusion, but it has been argued that their methodology has been seriously flawed (Alanen, 1997). Working with psychotic patients in the public sector of mental health (Jackson and Williams, 1994) and in psychoanalysis in private practice left me with no doubt that psychotic patients in general and those of the schizophrenic group in particular are poorly served by contemporary psychiatry.

Templates and examples of these have already been established by workers in this field, from whom, I shall suggest, we may have much to learn. Our continuing lack of attention to, and use of, existing and available knowledge, particularly of the mental processes that take place between patients and groups of staff at different organizational levels, accounts for much of our present inability to provide consistent, quality services and care for schizophrenics. In particular, failure of utilization of existing knowledge in the realm of psychodynamics is far more relevant to our contemporary treatment situation than a lack of useful scientific knowledge.

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