For this lab we experienced first-hand what it would be like to have voices or sounds in your head. We downloaded a couple tracks and were told to listen to the tracks with headphones in and simultaneously complete an assignment with a group. The sounds ranged from paranoid voices to random musical noises. From these tracks I was able to learn that there are a huge variety of things that people can hear. Some of the voices were negative and I could understand how it could affect one’s emotions and self-esteem, especially if they hear those thoughts everyday. I found it especially difficult because I can hardly focus when I listen to regular music while doing work. It was hard communicating with the other group members without being distracted from the noise and voices in the tracks. This exercise was very effective in allowing our class to understand how people with psychosis experience daily hallucinations and positive and negative symptoms.
What are positive symptoms? Symptoms that are added – “positive symptoms represent aberrations in behaviour or behaviour that is not typically present in other individuals, such
as hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, and disorganized behaviour” (Brown & Stoffel, 2011).
What are negative symptoms? Symptoms that are subtracted – “negative symptoms are the absence of typical function, such as flat affect, social withdrawal, and difficulty initiating activity. Negative symptoms have a greater impact on functioning and are related to early onset, poor outcomes, and cognitive impairment (Brown & Stoffel, 2011).”
Coping: Many people have different ways to cope with general life stresses. For me, I like to speak with my friends, listen to music or participate in a flow occupation such as playing the guitar or going to the gym. According to Brown & Stoffel, there are two overarching classification systems that are commonly used to categorize coping strategies.
1) Emotion focused or problem focused coping
2) Approach or avoidance oriented (see page 76 in Brown and Stoffel for more detailed information)
Examples of coping: psychoeducation, meditation, yoga, cognitive behavioural approaches, skills training
Brown, C. and Stoffel, V. (2011). Occupational therapy in mental health: a vision for participation. Philadelphia: FA Davis Company.