How Distress Language Cured Corinna West’s “Psychosis”

By Ken Braiterman

(NOTE: Corinna West gave me permission to write and post this story using her name. She read, reviewed, and made suggestions prior to publication.)

Corinna West and Ken Braiterman: We Taught Each Other to Use Distress Language

One night in 2008, Corinna West called and said she was “psychotic.” She was afraid she’d be fired, go to the hospital, and lose all the ground she’d gained. She had lost sleep and was hallucinating, she said. When the “symptoms” started, she got scared, and called me for support.

Disease vs. Distress Language

In those

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Emotional distress causes psychosis

Sometimes it’s not genetic: how Emotional Distress causes psychosis, and not the other way around

The main reason to talk about emotional distress instead of a disease based approach is that it’s more accurate. The well shared theory is that genetic predisposition causes psychosis which causes emotional distress. However, when you look at the details, you’ll find that instead it’s the other way around. Emotional distress causes psychosis which causes genetic change. Many times the root cause is not genetic at all.

Genetic research leads to evidence that emotional distress causes psychosis

The claim that’s been made for many years

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Overcoming Distress, Building My Capacity for Happiness

Thanksgiving, 2011

2011 has been the happiest year of my life. 2010 was the second happiest. I have more friends, more close friends, more and better activities, and stronger connections to the community than ever before. I’ve been aware of that for some time. But this Thanksgiving, I began to feel something new: I am successfully building my capacity for happiness.

Ken Braiterman

Sitting in temple a week before Thanksgiving, I had the feeling that I belong here. I’m connected to the people in this congregation. Until now, I was like the old Groucho Marx joke: “I

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