The following is a discussion paper I wrote some time ago. It suggests a change in attitude to the treatment and possible therapies available for persons suffering mental Illnesses. At first glance it may appear to be rather radical but actually it is quite conservative. Cognitive behaviour therapy taken a step further, The premise of this paper is approximately 12 years of "casual" research and discussion with consumers of the mental health industry here in Melbourne Australia. Your comments and feedback would be very appreciated. Mental Illness A new approach A Discussion Paper Introduction When considering the nature of mental illness it is important that we define what it is we are considering. Mental illness is a mental condition that prevents the sufferer from participating in life in the way he or she would wish. It is a condition that places the sufferer in a state of dysfunction. It is a condition that society wants to protect itself from for it deems the mental state of the sufferer to be precarious, unreal and relatively unpredictable. Within the following example of mental aberration I will use the condition notoriously referred to as Schizophrenia. Schizophrenia demonstrates the greatest variety and complexities of the aberrant mental state and I intend to suggest a way that will allow us to treat and cure this condition. w w w w Schizophrenia is about ability, not ordinary ability but extraordinary ability. At some time in the patient’s life his brain has acquired a sensory ability or abilities that the patient has little to no control over. The ability(s) are acquired intuitively and usually discounted as inconsequential by the patient himself and as delusion or hallucination by the medical profession when he or she is finally admitted to hospital or some form of professional therapy and care. The abilities I refer to are of a sensory nature: intuitive sensory abilities of an extraordinary nature. The patient immediately becomes embattled with what he senses as ordinary sensory behaviour and that which he himself would consider extraordinary sensory ability. At this juncture it is worth considering for a moment what it is we may actually be sensing. It has been known for some time that we are instinctively receptive to Pheromones, that is chemicals secreted by ourselves and other animals. For example pheromones have been linked to issues such as sexual attraction and fear responses; all instinctive in nature. Our ability to sense these pheromones can cause profound changes in our moods and thinking. Our imaginations being heavily influenced by what we sense. It is proposed that by learning again how to interpret these scents (Pheromones) we may afford the patient some benefit. Society is telling him that his ability is delusional and yet he knows that it isn’t. His imagination tries to accommodate society and his own experiences, putting himself in a state of self delusion because he is inclined to deny his ability as real because society is saying that this is the case. So we have at least two abilities happening. The first is his ability to know what is extraordinary (Aberrant) sensing this and the actual intuitive ability that he has acquired which is also sensed. A classic example would be paranoid schizophrenia where by the patient feels a strong sense of conspiracy, that the CIA or the police are watching him or his parents are threatening to kill him etc. A normal person is quite capable of sensing conspiracy in fact we are all part of a conspiracy. We are all part of everyone else’s plans. The wife or girlfriend is planning a special dinner. The government is planning to introduce a new tax. The guy down the pub is planning to punch him in the nose etc. So the patient has developed an ability to sense conspiracy to a depth that would be considered extraordinary. His sense of reality is threatened and he becomes deluded trying to deal with his sensory ability and that which society would consider normal. For instance he senses his girlfriend’s plans for dinner and feels threatened because of his fear of his ability to sense this. He behaves badly trying to cope with all the mixed signals that his brain is trying to interpret. He behaves badly and arrives in the hospital in an extreme state of anxiety. The premise I am using here is that fear is always real. Not always understood for what it is but very real and valid. The ability to understand and learn from it is the ability that needs to be learned and it is only by achieving understanding and learning that the patient has any chance of recovery. To deny the ability is to provoke delusion. To nurture the ability is to free the patient of delusion. Strangely enough it is society’s state of delusion as to the nature of Schizophrenia that is actually perpetrating and enforcing a delusion upon the sufferer. Society having the delusion that extraordinary ability doesn’t exist. Which is of course not true as some of our most gifted people exhibit extraordinary ability all of which could be considered intuitive. I am suggesting that the patient’s sensory abilities have somehow achieved a greater depth than would be considered normal and like a person studying martial arts the patient must learn sensory discipline and nurture his ability to the level that he is comfortable with. I believe that our current approach to Schizophrenia is in fact quite deluded and as you would now understand the patient is also aware of this causing even more grief. Medication rejection, hospitalisation rejection etc are all symptoms of our “insane” approach to schizophrenia: the patient being caught between two worlds and not knowing what to believe. Sensory ability is essentially reflexive in that until controlled by other governing reflexes the ability continues to exist at all times in a way that is ungoverned and it is only when the ability is governed by learned reflexes that the ability is controlled and the patient’s anxiety and comfort levels return to “normal” w w w w Conclusion What I propose is that the patient be treated as a person who has abilities yet to be governed and not denied. That the treating staff attempt to identify what abilities are in play and structure a learning and therapy program that helps the patient in the achievement of comfort by allowing him to achieve the skills and disciplines needed. Many programs can be developed that are able to help the patient with the above in mind. Open mindedness to what the patient is describing as delusion and treating the description in the light of uncontrolled intuitive ability will achieve significant results. By acknowledging the reality of our reaction to Pheromones and working with this sensory ability will be of benefit . Schizophrenia = Acute Sensory Disorder Care to discuss?