4. Communicating effectively with your relative, problem solving and setting limits


Challenges to effective communication

Many factors can create barriers in communication between you and a relative who is experiencing or recovering from psychosis. For example, symptoms of psychosis may interfere with a person’s ability to communicate with their family and friends.

It is understandable if communication becomes disrupted when your relative is:

    agitated or preoccupied because of the symptoms of psychosis
    confused because they’re unable to separate what’s real from what isn’t
    having a hard time concentrating, especially if they are hearing voices
    having problems organizing thoughts and expressing ideas
    withdrawing or not talking
    feeling irritable or angry or experiencing unpredictable behaviour
    anxious or fearful
    having suspicious thoughts.

It’s possible that you are also contributing to communication problems by:

    not wanting to acknowledge the extent or severity of the problem, perhaps because of fear
    fearing intense emotional reactions
    feeling discouraged from previous unsuccessful experiences communicating with the person
    feeling angry or frustrated with the situation.

Both of you may be contributing to communication barriers by:

    talking about sensitive topics when you’re hungry, tired, physically unwell, mentally unwell or stressed
    having fears about the future
    feeling overwhelmed about the symptoms or diagnosis
    needing more skills and practice in how to listen, validate and express emotions.

Empowering Families Affected by Psychosis © , CAMH.