Living With Psychosis


SKU paperback Category

175 in stock


Recovery and Wellbeing

By Elina Baker and Melanie Attwater

ISBN: 978-1-78382-231-7
Published: 2015
Pages: 118
Key Themes: Mental Health, Psychosis, Recovery


In this book, We use the word psychosis to describe experiences
outside of shared reality, such as voices, visions and an awareness of other
unusual occurrences, which someone may find distressing. Based on our work running groups to support people who have these kinds of
experiences, this book brings together psychological ideas about and
personal experience of recovery in relation to psychosis. Each chapter also contains a section for reflection, to give you the opportunity to think about how to use these ideas and experiences in your own recovery.

We hope that this book will enable other people struggling with
psychosis, either personally or as a relative, friend or worker, to find ways
of understanding and managing these experiences successfully. We also want to give a message of hope, to let people know that they are not alone and that recovery is possible.

About the Author

Elina Baker

I am a clinical psychologist and I have worked with people with psychosis for fifteen years. During this time I have learnt about organisations like the Hearing Voices network and how people with psychosis can help each other move forward from that experience. I have also seen how mental health services can sometimes make things worse for people, through giving them medication with debilitating side effects or making them feel that they have no control over their lives. As a result, I decided to set up groups where people could learn about other ways of coping with their experiences and hear about recovery from people who knew what it was like, because they had been through it themselves. I was delighted to have the opportunity to work with Melanie, who could bring both her personal perspective and a lot of valuable knowledge from her work as an occupational therapist.

We have seen people learn and grow through coming to the Life with Psychosis group, and then getting involved in running it, sharing the benefit of their experience with people at an earlier stage on the recovery journey. I know that groups can be difficult, especially for people with psychosis, who can feel very wary of other people and get easily overwhelmed. So, I hope that this book will give more people the chance to learn about ways of coping with and understanding their experience of psychosis. It is meant to be a work book that someone can go through on their own, or with the support of a mental health worker. Obviously we cant put in all the information that someone will need so there are lots of suggestions of other places to find out more about the topics we discuss. The book is written in the order we discuss topics in the group, as our group members have found it helpful to develop coping strategies before tackling the challenging questions about how to make sense of their experiences. However, you can look at the different sections in whatever order works for you.

Melanie Attwater

I wanted to help write this book to give hope and motivation to people who have psychosis.

When I had my first psychotic episode twenty years ago all I wanted was for someone to tell me that something good could come out of the situation I found myself in. Since then I have discovered that psychosis could actually be a blessing. Psychosis has given my life a purpose, a sense of focus and direction and changed me as a person. My subsequent career in mental health has given me fulfilment, rewards, and a productive role full of personal meaning.

My recovery started by learning everything I could about mental health. I found it to be a fascinating subject. I learnt how to make sense of my own experiences and look for the kernel of truth in all my memories, fears and preoccupations. I needed to know why I had become unwell and more importantly how I could get better and have a good life.

An Occupational Therapist helped me and she seemed a real and reachable person. Also I was envious of her job: it seemed varied and creative. After my Occupational Therapy training I have been working in mental health ever since, now as a Senior Mental Health Practitioner in the Psychosis and Recovery Team.

I now see the same doctors and nurses at my work that have treated me in the past, as I work in the same NHS Trust. I feel no embarrassment. Instead I feel in quite a powerful position to have a patients view of the people who are also my colleagues. I hope I can remind them that recovery is real and possible and right beside them.

I feel I can help the people with mental health problems that come to me. I treat them in the way I wish I had always been treated, and I share my knowledge of recovery with them to try and give them hope and motivation to find a recovery path for themselves. I try to help them find a positive perspective of their experiences.

I have been co facilitating the Life With Psychosis Group since it began in 2011. In the group I have met many inspiring, intelligent and kind people with psychosis. They are all people who are looking for ways to explore their experiences, to find understanding and holistic wellbeing for themselves and for each other. I hope to share some of the positivity we experience as a group to inspire others that psychosis can be a positive experience and a path to living a full, meaningful and satisfying life.


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