Through Chaos and Calm: Holding the Experience of Psychosis in the Family

04/27/2023 12:00 PM - 01:15 PM ET


Through Chaos and Calm: Holding the Experience of Psychosis in the Family



Past research has mostly explored family and friends’ experience from the perspective of giving support to enable the recovery of the ‘patient’, reinforcing a biomedical view of psychosis.

This view sees involvement of family and friends of value only in service to the clinical team, with little insight into family and friends’ own experiences or process, or understanding of the dynamic of mutual affect and interdependence of the family and social system.

The findings from a research study - which surveyed 60 family members and friends and interviewed 10 in depth - expand our understanding of family and friends’ experience as valid in its own right; bring insight into the domains of experience family and friends encounter, and describe their potential journey through experiences of chaos and calm. The research explores the possibility of personal growth for family and friends as they meet their own difficult emotions, and looks at the impact on the whole family system.

Our hope is that the findings will support better understanding of, and more compassionate interactions with family and friends by clinical teams and others, while empowering family and friends to find meaning, to self-care effectively and to access appropriate and timely support for themselves.

Can't make it live? Don't worry a recording will be sent to all those who register.

About the presenter(s):

Jenny Sanders Kowalczuk is a writer and researcher. She has a background in health communications and health policy. She has lived experience from supporting a young adult through many episodes of psychosis and this experience has radically altered her perspective on mental illness and health services. She writes from a parents perspective on the experience of supporting a young adult experiencing psychosis and hospitalization.

Joanna Monaghan is a psychotherapist and co-founder of Safely Held Spaces, the organization which co-created and commissioned this research. She has lived experience of supporting friends experiencing altered states and psychosis. She has a background in international human rights and is a passionate advocate for more empowering and compassionate mental health support in the UK.

Safely Held Spaces’ vision is of safe, compassionate, empowering spaces in local communities in the UK for people experiencing extreme mental and emotional distress and altered states, often called psychosis, and for the people supporting them.

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