Here is the full transcript of Dr. Xavier Amador’s talk titled “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” at TEDxOrientHarbor conference.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Xavier Amador’s talk, “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help,” explores the challenges of treating individuals with serious mental illnesses who do not recognize their condition, a phenomenon known as anosognosia. Drawing from his personal experience with his brother Henry, who developed schizophrenia, Amador emphasizes the importance of understanding and empathy in treating psychiatric conditions.
He critiques traditional confrontational approaches and advocates for building non-judgmental, respectful relationships to encourage treatment acceptance. Through a role-play scenario involving a character named Richard, Amador illustrates how deeply ingrained and resistant to change delusional beliefs can be. He introduces the LEAP method (Listen, Empathize, Agree, Partner) as an effective communication strategy to engage patients.
Amador’s insights are grounded in years of research and clinical practice, aiming to shift the paradigm in how caregivers and professionals approach individuals with mental illness. Ultimately, he underscores the power of empathy, respect, and understanding in overcoming the barriers to treatment adherence and fostering better outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disorders.
Listen to the audio version here:
Understanding Psychotic Disorders
I’m a clinical psychologist who, for 30 years, has been working with people with schizophrenia, bipolar, and related psychotic disorders. Now, some people still think schizophrenia is split personality. I think it’s worth taking a moment to clarify this misconception.
When we talk about these psychotic illnesses, we’re talking about neurodevelopmental disorders, similar to Parkinson’s disease. With a person who doesn’t have Parkinson’s disease all their life, they develop it later in life. Similarly, these disorders that I’m going to be discussing emerge later.
The other thing is, I think a word about psychosis is necessary. What is it? It’s really a couple of symptoms that we see most often: false perceptions, hallucinations (hearing things, hearing voices, seeing things that aren’t there), and having delusions. I’m not talking about political opinions; I’m talking about fixed false beliefs. Sometimes they’re bizarre, like “there’s an alien implant in my brain,” or sometimes they’re not so bizarre, such as “My wife is having an affair on me.”