Our speaker is booked for the Janis Black Warner Speaker Series set for Wednesday, October 7, 2020, 7 pm.

Joining us will be Sanjeet Sihota, MSW, who suffered his first episode of mental illness at age 21 and went on to require three hospitalizations, the last of which occurred in 1995. In 1998, Sanjeet received specialized psychosocial rehabilitation services, where according to Sanjeet, “I finally was offered a relationship in which someone treated me like a close friend and not a mentally ill person.” With the help of these services, Sanjeet was able to reintegrate into the community; in 2003, he finished his Bachelor’s degree in psychology at UCLA, then completed his Master’s in Social Work at USC, specializing in recovery for people with serious forms of mental illness. In 2007, Mr. Sihota established his own company, PeerCoach, and works in collaboration with many of the top psychiatrists from UCLA and the southern California area to provide evidence-based psychosocial rehabilitation. Mr. Sihota is a certified LEAP trainer and is a part of Dr. Amador’s LEAP faculty. He has been a featured speaker throughout California providing instruction, motivation, and inspiration to families and patients suffering with mental disorders. He is also very involved with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

The goal of the presentation is to give attendees the knowledge and skills needed to build a collaborative relationship with the mentally ill person or persons suffering from anosognosia to help them get treatment and services. Anosognosia is a type of denial of mental illness that goes beyond mere psychological denial; this is the clinical term for the lack of insight required to understand you have a mental illness. Anosognosia is a neurological disorder thought to be caused by abnormalities in the frontal lobes. The important thing to remember is the anosognosia is neurological and beyond a patient’s control. You cannot talk someone out of a delusion. Understandably, anosognosia is one of the more troubling symptoms of severe mental illness as it prevents a person from getting the help they need.

A set of seven evidence-based communication tools are taught. Participants will learn to 1) listen without opining, 2) empathize without reality-testing, 3) identify areas of agreement, 4) apologize for words and actions that harmed the relationship, 5) respectfully delay giving contrary opinions, 6) give recommendations/opinions in a manner that increases trust and communicates respect, and 7) quickly form partnerships to achieve common goals that are linked to treatment and/or requests. Participants will learn that we rarely win on the strength of our arguments and instead, win on the strength of our relationships.

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Janis Black Warner Speaker Series for October 2020: Sanjeet Sihota

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