Making Contact with Psychosis

A humane approach to working with the person and witnessing their story

Facilitator: Matthew Ball


As psychotherapists or counsellors, we may believe that psychosis is not something we need concern ourselves with. But, while psychosis means a loss of contact with reality, it is a symptom rather than a medical condition in its own right and psychotic moments can exist in all of us at times of great stress and/or trauma. We may encounter psychosis of one kind or another in our work, in ourselves or in our personal circle.

R D Laing, one of the originators of the anti-psychiatric movement in the 1960’s revolutionised our understanding of psychosis and other states of mind. He believed strongly in the axiom of ‘talking and listening to the psychosis’. He posited that, if you listen carefully, the other might tell you how their world works and may even reveal what they need.

Matthew Ball views the person hearing voices, experiencing psychosis or other extreme states as the one best placed to make sense of their own reality. His approach also considers that voices and other unusual or alternative realities are likely to be related to adverse and traumatic life events that can be worked through and understood

Matthew Ball is a mental health practitioner and trainer now working in Adelaide. In addition to his nursing credentials, Matt trained as a counsellor and psychotherapist, working with and being supervised by people who had worked with Ronnie Laing. In 2017 he was awarded Australian Mental Health Nurse of the year for his work in rolling out an alternative approach to the medicalisation of psychosis in the public mental health system in South Australia. As someone who has personally experienced psychosis, Matt is also a living example of how deep understanding, respectful listening and genuine care of someone living through the hell of these experiences, can be transformational.

Workshop Overview

This 2-day workshop is designed to help you understand and enter into the lived experience of what has been labelled the ‘psychotic’. Matt will walk you through his personal journey, aligning it with theories of ontological insecurity and his new ideas on the ‘Dissociachotic’, showing how disappearing into the world of voices (or disassociation) is an escape into a place of safe terrain.

Over the 2 days you will be invited to consider and experience:

  • What do we think of as ‘psychosis’? Moving towards an understanding what we have in our minds when we think of this term
  • Benefits of an alternative approach to the accepted medical models of treatment
  • Colluding or connecting? What it means to embrace the other’s realities
  • Discussion on dissociation and psychosis and introduction of the new term Dissociachotic
  • Working with psychosis: how do we ‘get in the way’ and how can we move ourselves out of the way?
  • Cultural and spiritual meaning and metaphor as an understanding of psychosis
  • Discussion on non-psychosis, being non-goal-orientated and co-existing in the same experience as an opportunity for psychosis to ‘evaporate’
  • Exploration of engaging with voices and other ‘psychotic’ states
  • Examination of some current intentional approaches to working with psychosis, including community, network, individual and trauma therapy approaches

Cost: $560/$480 Early Bird (Early Bird payments by 28 June 2019)

This event counts as 12 hours of category A CPD for PACFA’s membership renewal requirements

For full details regarding the event please go to the website.


19/07/2019 - 20/07/2019
9:30 am - 4:30 pm

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