Emotional Health

One Important Tool For  Family Relationships and Communications


Dr. Xavier Amador, Founder of the LEAP INSTITUTE and co-Founder of the LEAP FOUNDATION, is an internationally renowned clinical psychologist and leader in his field. His books, authoritative clinical research, worldwide speaking tours and extensive work in schizophrenia, bipolar and other disorders have been translated into 30 languages. Dr. Amador is the author of the International Best Seller, “I am Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help!” He is also a family caregiver of two close relatives with schizophrenia and another with bipolar disorder.

Learn to LEAP

LEAP (Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner) shows you how to quickly gain the trust of someone with whom you are in conflict because of their anosognosia (unawareness of illness). Anosognosia and our usual response to it drives persons with mental illness away from families and the treatment they need. If anosognosia is the disease, a LEAP-relationship is the cure. Scientific evidence is clear: trusting relationships result in acceptance of treatment and services.

When you Listen-Empathize-Agree-Partner, you stop trying to force your adversary to admit he\she is wrong and you begin to listen in a new way that immediately lowers anger and defensiveness, conveys genuine understanding, and establishes empathy and respect for their point of view, even when you disagree with it. The result is you become more trustworthy.

LEAP focuses on transforming the relationship first. It grew out of Dr. Xavier Amador’s:

  • Thirty years of hands-on clinical experience with families, couples, and patients who lacked insight into their mental illness and/or addictions
  • A very personal and successful struggle to convince his brother Henry, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, to accept treatment.
  • Experience gained from hundreds of LEAP seminars involving thousands of clinicians, family members, law enforcement and couples.
  • Twenty-five years of clinical research supported by the NIMH, Stanley Research Foundation, Elizabeth K. Dollard Trust, American Psychiatric Association and the National Alliance on Research on Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD, BBRF).

When you use LEAP, you transform conflict and paranoia to partnership and trust. If anosognosia is the disease, a LEAP-relationship is the cure. Scientific evidence is clear: trusting relationships result in acceptance of treatment and services.

Dr. Xavier Amador shares a life story. While studying to become a clinical psychologist, Dr. Xavier Amador had a life-altering experience when his older brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

In an effort to understand and help his brother, he and his colleagues at Colombia University uncovered a new way to approach patients previously thought to be in denial.

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