What is psychosis?

Psychosis is a mental health condition characterised by one or more "episodes" in which the individual experiences perceptual changes that are not shared with others around them.  The two main symptoms of psychosis are;

  • Hallucinations: the most common of which results in the individual seeing (visual) or hearing (auditory) things that others don't. Other forms of hallucination include alterations to the senses including touch, smell and taste.
  • Delusions - falsely held beliefs that have little or no evidence to support them. Often these can be very complicated and on seemly unconnected topics. At times these delusional belief systems can lead to an individual feeling persecuted or becoming suspicious or paranoid about individuals, groups of people or organisations

These two symptoms may be experienced separately or together and can be so severe that they alter an individual’s way of thinking, acting and how they feel emotionally. This may have far reaching effects on that person’s ability to manage day to day tasks, their ability to look after themselves and their relationships with others. 


Signs & Symptoms

  • In addition to someone suffering from a psychotic episode they may also feel:
  • Anxious
  • Stressed
  • Persecuted or victimised
  • Scared
  • Confused
  • Frustrated or angry
  • Mistrust of those others or organisations
  • Disbelieved or misunderstood
  • Alone and isolated
  • Depressed

Psychosis in itself is not a mental health illness, but is the result of another underlying condition or illness, including other mental health issues such as:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Severe depression
  • Sever forms of postnatal depression (puerperal psychosis)
  • Paranoid Personality disorder, Paranoid Disorder, Delusional disorder

Impact on the Family

Hallucinations and delusions are such powerful experiences that the person who experiences them believes and feels them to be fundamentally real. Attempts by others to demonstrate that these thoughts are false or irrational may be met with resistance and this could give rise to feeling of doubt and mistrust. This feature of psychosis can lead to a great deal of conflict within the family as the sufferer can become distrustful or paranoid about the motives of those close to them, in severe cases believing they are out to harm them.


Support for Psychosis

How can we help?

The Practice MK offers an extensive range Counselling and Psychotherapy, often called Talking Therapies to help individuals and their families to make sense of what is often a confusing and frightening experience. Therapy sessions are delivered by practitioners trained in psychosis intervention and will provide the opportunity to discuss issues in a safe, understanding and supportive environment.  

Individuals and therapist may wish to discuss current or past issue affecting them, feelings they have around these issues and how these issues affect them and those around them. During sessions, individuals and therapists will look at coping strategies and methods to ensure positive outcomes for all concerned.



The first stage is an assessment with one of our Psychologists to determine the presence or not of psychosis and determine its severity.  Following your assessment we will formulate an effective intervention delivered by our talking therapies team.


We will invite you to attend a course of therapy sessions to help support you and your family manage your condition.  We may reccomend one or more of the following interventions.

  • Cognitive Behaviour Therpay (CBT)
  • Psychotherapy
  • Family therapy

Useful information from our Mental Health Collection

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