Utilizing Delusions as a Source of Information

As I have indicated in previous memos, the delusions can provide information regarding the individual’s concept of the self and outside world, dysfunctional beliefs and motivation, etc. The grandiose delusions may generally be seen as a compensation for attitudes of inferiority and unacceptability. On the grandiose delusions, we usually, can discover what the individual “really” wants (i.e., to help other people).

I have not discussed paranoid delusions very much in the past but after going over the content of several paranoid delusions, with Elisa, the following seems to be clear: the individual has some feelings of being rejected, depreciated, criticized, etc.  The point is that these understandable—even normal—feelings and beliefs are transformed into bizarre beliefs, which often take a concrete form: being poisoned, being contaminated by other people’s spit, being followed by the mafia.  When one is able to deal with the underlying concerns and fears, one can make headway.  Finally, when the individual engages in behaviors that compensate for the fears-for example, teaching others, helping others, or providing a leadership role-these compensatory behaviors lead to an attenuation of the delusions, as well as bringing the individuals out of their shells.