UNDERSTANDING AND HELPING THE SCHIZO--PHRENIC: A Guide for the Family and Friends by
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UNDERSTANDING AND HELPING THE SCHIZO--PHRENIC: A Guide for the Family and Friends

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KIRKUS REVIEW

. . . a schizophrenic person acts in life as a dreamer acts in the dream."" Dr. Arieti, an authority on schizophrenia in his roles as an author (Interpretation of Schizophrenia, 1975) and a practicing psychiatrist, offers an accessible and compassionate perspective on understanding and relating to victims of this disease. Warning signals (remarkable change in personality, withdrawal from life, feelings of despair) are described, along with such patterns of schizophrenic thought as: primitive logic (where a single common quality of two objects is seen as identicality); word salads (language flow based on something other than word-meaning); and hallucinations. A plea for understanding the patient's internal state runs through the book: "". . . it is not done out of stubbornness, caprice, antagonism. . . to him, his idea is. . . based on an absolute conviction of its truth."" Emphasizing the role of prevention and the usefulness of intervention, Arieti discusses biological, psychological, and social factors in the etiology of the disease. Advice ranges from information on types of hospitals, therapies, and drugs to a general orientation on the problems of living with a schizophrenic; facing the patient's hostility and unconventional behavior, his/ her coexisting needs for freedom and structure, companionship and privacy are lucidly described. Arieti is cautiously optimistic throughout. While he doesn't claim that a recovered schizophrenic will be immune to further attacks, he maintains that patients may successfully learn to deal with challenges and also to avoid things they cannot cope with. Whether involved with a schizophrenic or not, readers will find that the qualities attributed to an effective therapeutic environment--""concern, patience, endurance, and a sense of hopefulness about the patient's ability to change""--also characterize this very caring book.

Pub Date: Aug. 27th, 1979
Publisher: Basic Books