A MSW (Institute of Mental Health)
& Rotary Club of Northam Initiative

Caregiving Guidelines

Managing your Loved One's Illness Effectively

Effective and Constructive Communication Tips

Managing Non-Communication Behaviours

Managing Relapses and Crises

Effective & Constructive Communication Tips

Psychosis changes the way a person communicates
People with psychosis often speak, hear and understand information differently from others. They are likely to misinterpret events and what people say. It is also common for people with psychosis to struggle with expressing their thoughts and feelings, as they may not feel comfortable to do so.

Dos and Don’ts in Communication



  1. Keep communication simple, clear and brief
  2. Ask only ONE question at a time.
  3. Stick to the current problem/issue. It is not helpful to bring up past events.
  4. Always remain calm when communicating.
  5. Choose the best time for both parties to talk. Reduce noise in the surroundings e.g. turn off the television or radio.
  6. If your loved one is having difficulties identifying his feelings, provide choices to help him to do so e.g. are you feeling angry, sad or worried right now?
  7. Show empathy or concern for how he feels.
  8. Be patient, give him time to express his thoughts.


  1. Avoid giving advice, unless he asks for it.
  2. Avoid interrupting him.
  3. Try not to talk down to him. For example. “You are acting so childishly.”
  4. Avoid name-calling eg. “stupid”, “dumb”, “crazy”.
  5. Do not yell, shout or speak loudly.
  6. Avoid making personal comments about your loved one when you are trying to communicate about a specific behaviour of his.
  7. Don’t criticise your loved one’s behaviour. Try to keep in mind that the behaviour may be part of the illness.