Family Therapy


RE: Hypnotherapy vis-à-vis 'Schizophrenia'

Hi there.

I would appreciate any referrals to literature on this subject, or to those you consider most successful in treating those experiencing SZ disorders.

My cousin is 57 years old and has wrestled with what is now diagnosed as schizo-affective disorder, plus bipolar disorder, plus marijuana dependency. Prolixin, Lithium, Cogentin medications are prescribed for amelioration of symptoms and side-effects.

These medications are not well accepted by my cousin who will intermittently cease taking the lithium, resulting in a depressed mood and poor functioning in the world.

--- Howard N.

§     §     §

Hi, Howard ---

After fifty years of reading about and writing about psychotherapy --- and having been to a few psychotherapists myself --- I have come to believe that the best books on psychotherapy and psychopathology are:

  • Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams;
  • Carl Jung's Memories, Dreams and Reflections;
  • Jay Haley's Uncommon Therapy; and
  • Salvador Minuchin's Family Kaleidoscope: Images of Violence and Healing

Freud's book sees dreams for what they are: intimate images from a movie --- your own movie, everyone's movies --- where one part of the brain converses with the other part of the brain as we (think we) are sleeping.

Jung takes dreams and the dreamland to their logical conclusion --- bringing them to the table as it were. A good Jungian will use dreams not only as a "royal road" but as a clue-garden to the mystery (of pleasure, of pain) that lies hidden so well within all of us.

On the other hand, Jay Haley relates how one psychotherapist --- Milton Erickson --- used paradox and trances to help his patients resolve inner conflicts ... without the barbarity of heavy drugs or electroshock. Minuchin shows how families that have fallen apart (but are still stuck with each other) can meet with therapists and resolve psychopathic behavior that can be such a killer.

The first two worked for me in the 1950s because at the time, that was about all there was. I worked with a therapist who was trained in the Jungian style of treatment --- eyeball to eyeball --- utilizing Freud's concepts of dreams as a path within ... without the overload of those dratted Habsburg Victorian sensibilities.

Later, when life became grotty again (as it can, all over again) I went to a three-day workshop with Erickson (workshop! he had us all in trances --- if not stitches --- for three days) where I had a chance to partake of his technique of "reframing." He put me in a trance, and in the process, entranced me. He didn't cure me, but he surely made me see me and the world with a slightly finer perspective (see The Lourdes of Psychotherapy, now published by the Milton S. Erickson Foundation).

Later, and finally, before I bowed out of the psychotherapy business, I had a chance to watch Salvador Minuchin at work as he sought to disentangle families from the spiderwebs they often created and often cannot find their way out of.

I think these four books are the best of the bunch. If you get a chance to read them, you could then offer informed opinions to those "stuck" members of your family --- making it possible for them to choose between talk-therapy, group therapy, family therapy, or hypnotherapy. Or, even, as some may decide, no therapy.

--- C. A. Amantea
Send us e-mail


Go Home

Go to the most recent RALPH