Working with delusions is similar to hallucinations, except that more non-verbal techniques are required. You will need to sit in silence longer and with more patience, as delusions do not tend to go away, ever. The person may not verbally express them as often, but they are usually omnipresent.
Try to offer empathy and focus on the emotions that the person is experiencing. Arguing facts and details may cause the person to shut down and perceive you as judging them. By offering support with no judgement that doesn’t confirm or deny the delusion, the person may feel consoled and trust that you care for them. Some things to keep in mind as you speak to the person:
1. Pay attention to the emotions of the person
2. Discuss the way you see the delusion
3. Express that you are concerned about the person
4. Offer to pursue therapy together but be strategic
5. Ask the person why they believe as they do and be open-minded
6. Avoid getting frustrated and expressing that to the person
7. Learn about Cognitive Distortions or Thinking Errors
8. Model engagement in reality testing
Information for these strategies are from Tamara Hill’s article on PsychCentral, an independant mental health website with information and content overseen and created by mental health professionals.