Reinforcing delusions?

Hey there. I was looking for a bit of advice.

My husband was tentatively diagnosed prodromal paranoid schizophrenia recently. Basically, he has paranoid delusions about people photographing him, wiretapping him, hiring people to follow and record him, drug him with truth serum, etc. He has been, and is currently a good and loving man. He is caring, kind, loving towards those that are weaker than him, and very tormented from his fears and beliefs.

Recently, he has found a new therapist who has been steadily helping him to cope with day to day life, and has done wonders to bring him back to the cheerful, non-hunted man he used to be.

BUT…this therapist confirms everything he fears is TRUE. That it is all real. she tells him that he has ptsd, and that he should change our phone numbers, that I will come around to believing him. So basically on one hand he is happier than I have seen him in a long time. On the other hand. She is reinforcing his delusions, and he is starting to grow resentful that I still believe him delusional. He is in 100% denial, and it seems like she is encouraging that fully.

I know from reading posts here that this is a problem that many of us here would absolutely love to have, but I worry that this might make him worse in the long run.

Does it even matter, since delusions are somewhat permanent? He takes his meds. Should I just care about that?

Would it just cause more delusions?

It seems to drive a wedge between us, relationship-wise.

Hi Ping~
Not sure what to say about this one. I have never heard of a doctor doing this. Are you able to talk with this doctor? Maybe she is trying to gain his trust? I dont think it would cause more delusions-as his meds get into his system, he will get better. Im stumped on this one

He has offered to let me talk with his therapist, but does not want me to talk to his meds doctor. (Fear that I will tell the meds doc about his delusions.)

I worry about meeting the therapist…that I might say something and erase all the progress. :frowning:

Telling me that all the things I experience are nothing but delusions really get me angry, especially when these experiences are based on facts others can see and hear. I know when things are only in my head, but when things happen, and others deny it, I can’t help but think they are part of the problem.
One thing that does help is I got a very good digital camera that takes great pictures in near dark, and showed others that what I saw wasn’t just my imagination. Along the way, I also saw that not everything I saw was as dramatic as it seemed. Somethings turned out to be coincidence, some an illusion, but some pictures, were more than enough to make me realize I didn’t need to bother others anymore in the hopes it would confirm my reality.


Tough situation. Problem is that this illness can be very convincing and not only to those who suffer from it but to others as well. Back when I was convinced of my delusions I know I had some others convinced along with me. For instance I was convinced for some time that I had had a lobotomy. Not what would have been a legit surgical operation if it were real, but a criminal act.

During this time I believed this I lived in a therapeutic community and had many others convinced that I had in fact had this lobotomy. So convinced in fact that they sent me to get an MRI and when I returned the director of the program walked up and ripped the results out of my hands. What had them convinced along with myself of this I believe was that I was somewhat dissociative during this time and since nobody there had ever experienced dealing with someone experiencing dissociation they mistook this for brain damage caused by a…fictional lobotomy.

Myself, I wouldn’t say delusions are necessarily permanent though as I was delusional for six years or so as well as borderline psychotic before my symptoms began to subside. It’s when my symptoms subsided that I undertook the long process of deciding for myself that nearly all (though not all) of the things I have memories of didn’t literally happen to me, not in this world anyway. Nowadays though these delusional memories I suffered from being convinced of for so long still exist in the back reaches of my mind, I don’t believe they are real memories of things that happened to me.

I believe that with time recovery is possible from delusions just as with any other symptom of schizophrenia. I hope very much that this is the case.

Good luck.

Tell the therapist what you are thinking-also, that it is just between you two. You can just say what you said here.

Am I allowed to talk to his therapist? Or is there some sort of hipaa?

It all depends if he is being targeted by someone or not. that’s the problem with this type of paranoia… some people are targeted and watched like that and others aren’t but believe they are. passive watching can lead a person to believe everyone is watching.
the things he is saying can and do happen…the truth serum is a bit extreme, but the other stuff is just run of the mill surveillance… and if anyone doesn’t know it’s not just official agencies that can use these techniques… Private investigators use them … I know this for fact… I hired one to find someone for me a few years ago and they did use some of those techniques to the cost of about $700 for a 1 day surveillance stint.
As for the equipment, if you go to the right websites or get the catalogs you can buy your own spy equipment… so if someone can afford to and wants to watch someone they can… girlfriends sometimes use such devices including gps trackers attached to vehicles to see if their boyfriends are cheating… The PI agency I hired also used gps and would plant one secretly on a targets vehicle for the right price…

In other words, it may not be a delusion…what you need to find out is there any reason someone would do this to him, and try and get more details of why he says this is happening…

Trust me. I have looked into a lot of the things he says, and a lot of them just don’t add up. That and when one thing gets disproven, the story instantly shifts to cover.

Some of his beliefs are fairly unrealistic in terms of time, money, or just plain getting fired from your job as a result. Also, these people would logically be targeting me as well, if they truly had it out for him. :slight_smile:

Ok, that places it more into the unrealistic paranoia field…

Not necessarily… My late wife and I both had things like this happen…We got involved with some real X Files type stuff so it just goes with the territory. In some cases we were both watched, especially back in 2002 - 03… Afterwards just my wife was watched. I was watched by someone else on a completely different level, on the internet. I was recruited by someone and worked with them for 3 years in a legitimate operation to expose and shut down a dangerous cult that was sexually exploiting people.
So I have a little bit of experience with the real stuff… I also know there is unreasonable paranoia…I used to get that when i smoked weed years ago…not fun at all…

Lol. Yeahhhhhh…we’re pretty boring people. Not much x-files in our office jobs.

If he has a release stating that the doctor can speak with you–then yes.

You are allowed to say anything you want to the therapist. HIPAA is the law that prevents the therapist from sharing confidential patient information with you - so they can’t tell you about your husband.

But - i don’t see any issue telling the therapist about your perceptions of different incidents (that your husband perceives as actually happening - that you don’t) - and discuss these with the therapist and the danger of reinforcing these beliefs.

Treat it as a fact finding meeting - don’t make any judgements while you are there meeting the therapist (so there is no potential confrontation/issues) - but just try to learn what the therapist perceives - and their rationale for treating paranoid delusions as real.

It may be an issue of how your husband is interpreting the therapist. The current thinking with delusions is that you don’t challenge them directly - you empathize with the client’s thinking. “That must be very upsetting for you” to believe XYZ. So - not really agreeing with them, but being empathetic to the distress that these thoughts can have. You can read more about this here:

But maybe the therapist is just doing this - and it is being perceived by your husband as agreeing with the experiences as being real?

Is it possible that the therapist is saying things to try and be supportive and your husband is misconstruing what she is saying as agreement? Therapists have to walk a thin line between support and control of their patients. Trying to get a patient to open up is very difficult. As others have said, any information you can provide the therapist would only be of benefit. Talking to her is a great idea.

True. Maybe she partially believes him…Orr… Maybe is good with being diplomatic…Orr…maybe he just interprets it all. You guys are right. Maybe meet with them together, keep quiet and listen. Then, maybe call her with info later.

Augh. I hate this sneaking around. I feel like a back stabbing liar.

@Ping It isn’t backstabbing or lying if you are doing it to preserve his life. You are in a difficult situation.

If I am not a part of my son’s appointments or meetings with his treatment team than things can get misinterpreted all the time especially when he is not doing well or is delusional. As SzAdmin seems to be saying. I have been a part of meetings where my son walks away with a different idea of what has been said then what I got from it. He has an amazing ability to morph what has been said into what he wants to hear. It sounds like his therapists may be trying to be supportive and perhaps give him ideas on how to cope or even question his own thinking but he may be hearing only what he wants to hear.

As far as I know, even without a signed release, you can go to his meetings with him. Here is a link to HIPAA.

Sometimes consent can be implied. My son has not officially signed a release for his treatment team to talk to me. He did with his last one that was early intervention but not with the new one PACT. However I’m a part of all of his appointments and he allows this so to a certain degree he has implied consent. Even without a consent I am able to call his workers and talk to them. They may not be able to disclose certain facts but they CAN listen to me and my concerns.

I would recommend looking into LEAP. No you can’t argue delusions. You can be supportive without agreeing by using reflective listening. - under resources are free videos on using LEAP
LEAP is a way of communicating to build trust. Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner. - Dr. Xavier Amador is a clinical psychologist whose brother had schizophrenia. He is the founder of the LEAP Institute. Wrote the book: I’m Not Sick I Don’t Need Help! Can buy from his website.
Search Xavier Amador and LEAP on and you should find some long videos
Treatment Advocacy Center - under problems you will see anosognosia
Anosognosia looks like denial but is different.
Bayes for Schizophrenics: Reasoning in Delusional Disorders - LessWrong - helped my understand delusions

I have somewhat the same problem.
my psychiatrist said about a dellusions of mine "“about the supernatural and my experiences” that it could be and she said i dont claim too know everything.

so i had gotten a confirmation, while i needed the opposite

Thank you!!! That hipaa link is a huge help.

I managed to find “I’m not sick and I don’t need help” on the first week, when he was really badly off. It has been a help, though not always an option.