Get an intimate inside look into a therapy session with a person diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Jonathan Harnisch In Session Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT): An Intimate Inside Look Into A Therapy Session With A Person Diagnosed With Schizoaffective Disorder
Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) combines mindfulness and cognitive therapy. The main idea of this is that we tend to have thought patterns that make us upset. By habit, we typically let these patterns flow without thinking about their logic. We also tend to reflect on them as if they provide new information and are actually things to react to. MBCT is a way of identifying these patterns and learning to simply observe them without reacting them with the typical distress that usually accompanies them. Since a lot of my distress comes from very well defined patterns in thinking (e.g. My dad ripped me off) I thought MBCT could be very helpful for me and so far it has been.
My doctor and I are so glad I have been finding our therapy sessions helpful! Like any skill, it takes practice, and there will be and have been ups and downs.
To review the concepts within the presented video recording:
FAB: This is a phenomenon (rather than a technique itself) in which we tend to judge others' behaviors more harshly than our own. Specifically, we tend to see our own negative behavior as situational, while we see others' negative behavior as related to their personality (who they are as a person). In other words, we don't tend to see other people's behavior in context.
With that said, I think making the FAB often leads me to have very negative and even catastrophic beliefs about those around me. For example, when my caregiver, can't help me with something, it's [not necessarily] because "she doesn't like me," rather than "she's super busy," or "dealing with stress at home."
As I know now, I think an important thing I can and have been practicing is to consider alternative explanations for others' behaviors.
MBCT: This is a combination of mindfulness and cognitive therapy. It suggests that we tend to think irrationally in many situations, and that this becomes habitual. We often just let our thoughts take us to a distressing place, even though we know the thoughts may not be logical, and we never really find the particular thought process productive. MBCT encourages us to observe the thought processes, without buying into it and letting us get worked up about the thoughts. So, for example, instead of playing out an unpleasant interaction in our mind until it upsets us, we would (1) notice we were having the thought, and then (2) say, "Ok, that's interesting, I'm thinking about my fight with so-and-so. That's unpleasant, but not worth thinking about right now. Let me refocus on something else." In a sense, when I notice I am ruminating, I am letting go of the thought process.
I have found meditation as not only relaxing and grounding sometimes, but also a way of finding out where your mind goes. It can clue you into where your mind may go when you're not meditating. It can help you identify the distressing topics you will probably find yourself habitually thinking about during the day (e.g. I was ripped off financially), so you can then practice letting them pass without buying into them emotionally. We want to do this with thought patterns that are either irrational and/or unproductive.
However, if we're thinking of something that is rational and/or productive, then those are the thoughts we want to follow and invest in emotionally.
Having written this out has helped me clear things up some from the video recorded therapy session. I continue with therapy and living life with schizophrenia.
Unfortunately, I wasn't able to achieve my 10th consecutive day of positive, well-balanced and mindful mental illness recovery, but that is okay and to be expected. All my efforts lately in my own mental health, recovery and peace of mind finally caught up to me and finally exhausted me. I am hanging in there with hope. However, for now the beast of schizophrenia has again taken over again. I will restart another time, hopefully soon. No worries, just keeping things real and sharing my experiences, triumphs and bumps in the road. I know that when one door closes, another always opens. It’s these hallways that are the real bitch. — Feeling overwhelmed in New Mexico.
— Feeling overwhelmed at The Hot Club.
I am feeling a little bit better and stronger now. But no, I am not fine. I am sad, sick, hurt, angry, mad, and disappointed. But you know what? I don’t think people understand how stressful it is to explain what’s going on in your head when you don’t even understand it yourself. So I am not sure if I am feeling better or I’m just used to being sick. I did go on a spending spree, spending a little over $10,000 throughout the night. My inheritance was stolen due to family conflict and inheritance, medical, and other power of attorney rights. I'll put on a smile and move on. It will hurt, but I will survive. Sometimes I don’t feel like to live. I don’t want to kill myself. I just want it all to stop or go away. I want to be calm. I want to be happy. I feel tired. It’s a kind of tired that sleep can’t fix. So often I just hope I fall asleep and never wake up. I’m scared. I’m scared of people. I’m scared of doctors. I’m scared of disease. I’m scared of life. I’m scared of death. But most of all I’m scared of me. All I really need is the right medication, whose side effects won’t kill me or make me worse. Doctors who listen and care. Family members who won’t judge me, and are willing to help me in my journey, friends who try to understand, my bed, comfy pillows, a heating pad, blankets a good night’s rest and above all fucking cure.
— Jonathan Harnisch
JONATHAN HARNISCH FILM NYU FILM | MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATE | SCHIZOPHRENIA SPECTRUM | AUTHOR | ARTIST | BLOGGER | PODCAST HOST | PATENT HOLDER | HEDGE FUND MANAGER | FILM & TV PRODUCER | MUSICIAN