Local woman’s book offers hope to those with schizophrenia and their families

Credit: Contributed photo

Credit: Contributed photo

After helping her son successfully battle schizophrenia, Linda Snow-Griffin of Fairfield Twp. has written a book she believes will give others hope.

“I’d like people to know that it can be a journey of hope,” she said. “The majority of people do recover from schizophrenia and meet the criteria for recovery. And even if you don’t, it’s still a lot better than it was 50 or 60 years ago, because there are still opportunities to find ways to manage your symptoms and live a more productive life than in the past.”

“It’s about my son’s recovery from schizophrenia, and all we learned along the way,” said Snow-Griffin, a longtime Butler County resident who holds a doctorate in counseling psychology. “It’s a book written from my perspective as a mother, and also as psychologist. But it’s also a memoir about my son’s experience, and how we coped as a family.”

“And then I added a lot of up-to-date information about the illness, the stigma and stereotyping, the family impact and care-giver needs,” she said. “I wrote it for families that are on a similar journey, but I’m also hoping that people who are not directly experiencing mental illness in their family can learn more about this illness of schizophrenia, because it’s so often misunderstood.”

The book is called “Hope and Learning, Our Journey with Schizophrenia.” It was published by London-based Trigger, which specializes in mental-health books, with half of proceeds going to mental health charities.

Snow-Griffin, now retired, had a practice in West Chester Twp. for three decades. Her son, married and successfully employed, goes by Jacob in the book and is recovered from schizophrenia.

Two decades ago, Snow-Griffin didn’t think such recovery was possible, “because my experience and training in graduate was schizophrenia was something that was going to be a lifetime problem and he would probably be institutionalized or heavily sedated all his life,” she said.

“But so much research has come out since the 1970s and a lot of good scientific information, and treatment methods,” she said. “According to the American Psychology Association 2014 guidelines, he has met recovery.”

He still takes medication, and meets with a therapist when he needs to, but he meets the APA’s four standards for recovery: He is able to take good care of himself physically; he has a stable and safe home; he has a job where he is making an important contribution to the world; and he participates in social activities and has a supportive community around him.

Some 60 percent of people with schizophrenia meet recovery standards within 10 years, she said.

Her son, 39, has been married more than a decade and works in the computer field.

Medications have improved, and client-centered treatment teams, which can be led by patients themselves, have been successful, she said.

The book can be purchased at the Strauss Gallery and Gift Shop, 222 High St., in Hamilton; Barnes & Noble in West Chester; Amazon.com; and triggerhub.org. She has a website where she blogs, lindasnow-griffinphd.com.

Other tips:

  • “It’s very helpful for families to be involved in treatment, Snow-Griffin said. “Research is finding that the more families are involved on the treatment team, the sooner someone recovers, the fewer relapses they have, and the better they stay recovered.”
  • Even with that family involvement, family members do not have to attend every therapy session, and patients retain their confidentiality with their therapists. The sessions help family learn how they can help with the recovery process.
  • Medications sometimes need to be tweaked over time.

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