Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience. He is a professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College in New York City and the author of eight books including this national best seller of “I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment.” In addition to his books, Dr. Amador was co-chair of the last text revision of the schizophrenia and related disorders section of the DSM IV-TR and is internationally sought-after speaker.
Among his academic and impressive professional credentials, Dr Amador is a past member of the board of directors of The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and director of research at NAMI.
In this book’s latest edition, Dr Amador explains that of 6 million Americans who suffer from severe mental illness, 50% believe they don’t have a mental illness. It is because they don’t have insight, a symptom technically known as anosognosia. It is not an act of denial on the patient’s part, the doctor explains, but considered to be caused by a neurological deficit. It is a symptom of the brain disorder, and not a willful psychological state.
Lack of insight results in refusal of treatment, often medication non-compliance, leading to delusions or hallucinations, lack of personal hygiene and isolation. And for many, drug and or alcohol abuse follow.
The question is, how do we reach our loved one, friend, spouse or patient to get them to do what will be good for them? Although the cure for schizophrenia has not been found, in his book Dr Amador offers us invaluable tools that will help us improve the lives of those afflicted with the illness. Dr Amador’s technique is simple. It is called LEAP, for Listen, Empathize, Agree and Partner. Listening, without commenting or disagreeing. Empathy, meaning showing genuine emotion even in the face of a person’s delusions. Agreeing, in a neutral way. Partnering with the person to achieve shared goals.
Dr Amador’s technique is based on his own personal experience in an effort to better understand and improve communication with his brother, the late Henry Amador, who had schizophrenia.
“I Am Not Sick; I Don’t Need Help!” is a must for family members, friends, therapists, and members of law enforcement, medical doctors and service providers. It teaches us all how to better communicate and convince someone with mental illness to accept treatment. It is a book that shows us we are not alone, and a guide to the road of recovery for those afflicted with schizophrenia who do need our help.
Review by: Silvia Kloc