The Paradox of Insight

Previous research has linked higher levels of insight and awareness to better treatment outcomes. However, higher levels of insight have also been associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, and hopelessness, and lower levels of self-esteem, quality of life, and psychosocial functioning. Inconsistent research exists in understanding the effects of insight, as well as understanding the various variables that influence the effect, such as neurocognitive functioning. Investigation into the complexities in defining and measuring insight and treatment outcomes are reviewed. Due to the increase in depressive symptoms and hopelessness, the increased risk of suicidality is also highlighted. The limitations of current therapeutic approaches are reviewed, advocating for the implementation of facilitating a purposeful and useful insight from a recovery-oriented therapy perspective. Narrative therapy, metacognition, self-complexity theory, and Adlerian theory are highlighted as therapeutic solutions for this insight paradox.

Pamela C. Gehrke
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PDF icon Gehrke MP 2011.pdf318.31 KB