Do you have a loved one or someone you care about who doesn’t believe they have a serious mental illness?
Do you find it difficult to help this person understand the importance of getting help?
Anosognosia is the clinical term for not having the appropriate insight into one’s mental illness . It can take weeks, months, and/or years before the individual ever comes to terms with their mental illness.
In this brief article (video), I will be discussing ways to communicate with your loved one without furthering their frustration.
Insight is important for getting psychotherapy and taking medication as needed. Without insight it is difficult to accept that one has a mental illness. Trying to help a loved one understand their behaviors without insight is very difficult. Many times, it feels impossible.
When I am working with families I often suggest a few ways to get through to individual sufferers. Some ways to bring down the defenses of someone who does not have insight includes but is not limited to:
-Respond only to emotion
-Offer help humbly
-Use safety parameters to create safety
-Encourage them if you are the target
-Watch how defensive they are
– work around this
-Pay attention to their fear response
-Bring in the law (if applicable and needed)
-Don’t defend yourself
-Don’t try to “trap them
-Avoid technical language
-Don’t defend yourself 100% of the time _Stay calm, balanced
-Bring in a neutral party