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Paranoia continued

Unless those suffering from paranoia are able to resolve their fears, they will come to feel lonely, lost and rejected. Therapy can be very beneficial in the recovery process, although those with paranoia are likely to be reluctant to enter therapy and may prematurely terminate the therapeutic process.


The first goal of treatment for paranoid individuals is to help them take responsibility for their behavior. It is essential that they become aware of how their blaming, shaming, aggressive and suspicious behavior affects significant others. They need to exchange their defense mechanism of projection for a coping mechanism that lets them “own” their behavior without feeling judged. During the process of recovery they are likely to experience depression as they abandon the defense mechanisms of projection and denial—and recognize how they have hurt themselves and others.


In order to recover they need to:

•Reduce sensitivity to criticism;

•Improve social skills so as not to behave in ways that cause others to criticize and avoid them;

•Learn to relax;

•Learn to cope with difficult situations that arouse anxiety rather than avoiding them;

•Learn to trust themselves and others;

•Learn to respond appropriately to themselves and others. Be courteous and honest, avoid aloofness; and

•Learn how to make apologies and how to receive them.


Significant others can help by providing warm emotional support and by setting kind, firm, gentle limits. Paranoid individuals need people who they can love and trust. This kind of atmosphere will assist them on their journey to wholeness.


“The Harvard Medical School Mental Health Letter,” (1986, August). Volume 3, Number 2.


Hinsie, Leland E., M. D. and Campbell, Robert Jean, M.D. (1970). Psychiatric Dictionary - 4th edition. New York:  Oxford University Press.


Wilson, Holly Skodal and Kreisel, Carol Len. Psychiatric Nursing - 2nd edition. Menlo Park, California : Addison Wesley Publishing Co., Magazine Division.


Copyright 1993, El Rophe Center, Inc

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