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5.0 out of 5 stars Psychosis and Treatment Masterfully Presented, 2 Dec 2013
This review is from: Surviving, Existing, or Living: Phase-specific therapy for severe psychosis (The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis Book Series) (Paperback)
Dr. Fullers book Surviving, Existing, or Living is an extraordinary work that presents a very comprehensive and clearly written explanation of the complex and distressing illness of psychosis.

The structure and outlines she created with the SEL model to describe the elements and manifestations of psychosis, as well as the routes and suggestions she presents as means of assisting the client out of psychosis into the present moment and life in the broader world, shows very powerfully what this process requires from both parties: client and therapist.

There is no tone of condescension towards the client on any page, and as a person who has suffered from and recovered from psychosis myself, I deeply appreciate the respectful and precise ways in which her presentations clearly separate the client from psychosis...which is a very critical differentiation, and it is precisely the differentiation that the therapist needs to help the client discover.

The SEL model is comprehensive, well organized structure for approaching this topic and process of healing, and I believe it would apply to the experience and need of the majority of people who suffer from a wide range of mental illness, psychosis and/or trauma.

This book teaches some of the most crucial things that people who are suffering psychosis need from the therapist. Dr. Fuller writes:

"The state of high distress and illogical thinking, particularly during and acute episode, makes it difficult-and sometimes unsettling-to comprehend what the person is experiencing. To grasp the experience fully, one has to walk in the dark psychological places that we usually make great efforts to avoid."

Those of us who have suffered from severe psychosis, desperately need competent, willing, and courageous therapists who will enter our most dreadful and feared places in our minds, in order to witness with us, just how bad it is/was and to shine the light on the path for us to find our way out of those dark prisons.

Regarding the clients need for safety, she wisely explains the specific kinds of flexibility and commitment and courage needed from the caregivers and therapists in order to create a trustworthy relationship with the client. My own experience was that terror was at the core of the experience of psychosis; and a sense of safety was the first medicine I needed in order for any kind of healing to take place. Dr. Fuller writes:

"The goal with the individual with psychosis is to create enough safety for the individual to engage, which necessitates a supportive, accepting approach that is less agenda-driven and flexible enough to begin and return to focus on more benign topics as needed."

She covers so many critical issues: i.e. making meaning out of hallucinations and delusions; normalizing, projections, transference and counter transferences. She deals very plainly with the issues around aggression, and sexual issues. She has excellent presentation on family work and group work.

In her last chapter on building the clinician's psychological stamina, she very clearly offers what the challenges, the needs and the rewards are for those who work with people suffering from psychosis.

"It requires patience. It requires fortitude. And it requires believing that the individual with severe psychosis can get better."

As I read through her chapters and her descriptions of the characteristics of each of the phases, (Surviving, Existing, or Living), I applaud her broad view, her deep understanding and her obvious compassion and commitment to helping those who suffer from psychosis and to help other professionals to do the same.

Dr. Fuller believes that individuals with psychosis can get better. That is what makes her work fruitful, and it is that belief that may be the key to unlock and free a host of innocent prisoners.

I am very grateful for Dr. Fuller's work, and I trust that as she and others in her field of work have dared to enter into the dark places of human psychological suffering, in order to bring hope and light, that they will also experience the great reward of witnessing relief, freedom, peace, and recovery come to places once despaired of.

Thank you, Dr. Fuller!
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