Main content

Developing resilience to psychosis: resilience to psychosis can lead to a shared reality. How does that work? I encourage you to delve into this blog about developing resilience to psychosis. It offers valuable insights that can make a positive difference in the lives of those who are affected and their loved ones.

Sensitivity to psychosis can be challenging, for the people who experience it, as well as their loved ones. But what isn’t talked about very often during treatment is this: resilience to this vulnerability is possible and can be developed.

Though ‘resilience’ (let alone ‘resilience to psychosis’) is a complex concept, it can actually be worked on, even in susceptibility to psychosis. Let’s familiarise ourselves with the elements of resilience and understand how you can strengthen yourself against a vulnerability to psychosis.

What is Resilience?

Resilience refers to an individual’s ability to adjust themselves to stress and adversity, and to recover from it. It is a combination of their personal, social, and surrounding sectors that contribute to an individual’s capacity to face these challenges.

  1. The power of social interactions 

One of the strongest factors that contributes to resilience is social interaction. People are social creatures by nature. We live, work, and play in communities, and these social interactions make up a shared reality.

The shared reality is a type of alignment between several spirits of different people who perceive and interpret the world in their own way. By communicating and forming relationships with others, we align ourselves to this ‘shared reality’. Not only does this help us to develop understanding and empathy, but also to channel our vulnerability to psychosis (into a certain place or situation).

  1. The Relationship with Yourself: The Unique Human Experience 

People are unique because they have the capability to experience that they experience. This means that we are not only aware of our environment, but also of ourselves. We can observe and analyse our own thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. This ability to observe ourselves offers a powerful tool to relate to our own psychosis, and sensitivity to different moods.

  1. Approaches of Experience Experts: Bipolar in Order

A movement called “Bipolar in Order” stresses the importance of self-observation, even during challenging periods like hypomania, so people’s own behaviour can be regulated.

Hypomania is a state of increased energy levels, mood-swings, and activity, that isn’t as severe as complete mania, but can be problematic if left untreated.

People who follow the approach of ‘Bipolar in Order’, learn to observe and channel their behaviour, even during hypomanic or psychotic episodes. This means that, despite their challenging experiences, they can behave in a way that doesn’t make other people feel compelled to immediately seek help or call the crisis team for them.

Is this easy? Does it always work? No it doesn’t. But it can make people achieve something that makes a difference in their lives.

  1. Learning through Trial and Error 

Developing resilience, especially in sensitivity to psychosis, is not an easy task. It requires conscious effort, practice, and sometimes it requires experiencing setbacks. It’s important to understand that trial and error is part of the learning process. 

  1. The Involvement of Mental Health Services 

Though the Dutch mental health services offer a lot of support, their focus lies mainly on suppression of the psychosis. This can be in conflict with approaches that stress the importance of learning how to relate to your vulnerability. So sometimes you need to learn how to make your healthcare professionals take a similar approach. 

Other Strategies for resilience to psychosis

In addition to the above-mentioned approaches there are lots of other strategies that can help develop resilience, like mindfulness, meditation, exercise, and maintaining a routine. What might work for one person, may be a nightmare for another. So try to look at the different options to find out which one works best for you.

The Challenge of Social Interaction and the Importance of Recovery Academies

Resilience to psychosis is possible, though it is hard work. By connecting yourself to others, observing yourself, and actively working on your resilience, you can lead a fulfilling life, even when facing challenges.

But it is undeniable that for certain people, especially those who struggle with a psychological condition, it can be a challenge to engage themselves in social interactions on a regular basis. The anxieties and insecurities and sometimes the stigma that is attached to their experiences can isolate them and put them off socialising with other people.

The importance of recovery academies and walk-in clinics

This is where the importance of recovery academies and walk-in clinics comes in. These institutions recognise the power of community and shared experiences. They offer a safe and supporting environment where people can learn, share, and grow amongst others who have faced similar challenges.

The emerging network of recovery academies and walk-in clinics in the Netherlands is an encouraging development. These centres emphasise improving resilience and enable people to develop skills and strategies to deal with their sensitivity to psychosis. They don’t just offer tools and means to promote resilience, but also the unmissable element of human contact and shared reality.

Sensitivity to psychosis; an aspect of human experience

By giving people space to learn and grow in an understanding and accepting environment, recovery academies are the root of a society in which vulnerability to psychosis is no longer seen as an insurmountable obstacle, but as a part of human expedience, with which people can learn how to live and flourish.

Resilience to psychosis: Conclusion

Discovering the potential for resilience to psychosis can be a transformative journey, shedding light on new possibilities for healing and recovery. So, don’t hesitate to explore this blog and embark on your path towards greater understanding and resilience.

Prof. dr. Jim van OsChair Division Neuroscience, Utrecht University Medical Centre. Jim is also Visiting Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Institute of Psychiatry in London. Jim works at the interface of ‘hard’ brain science, health services research, art and subjective experiences of people with ‘lived experience’ in mental healthcare. 

Jim has been appearing on the Thomson-Reuter Web of Science list of ‘most influential scientific minds of our time’ since 2014. In 2014 he published his book ‘Beyond DSM-5‘, and in 2016 the book ‘Good Mental Health Care’. 

Want to read more?

Did you know that PsychosisNet regularly posts new content?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *