LEAP Institute

About LEAP

LEAP® is a communication program to help you create relationships with people who are unable to understand they are ill, with the goal of helping them accept treatment. The LEAP training program is evidence-based.

The LEAP Story

LEAP is for any relationship, but it also gives you the tools you need to persuade someone in “denial” about mental illness to accept treatment and services. It grew out of Dr. Xavier Amador’s experience:

Who is LEAP for?

If you are a family member, clinician, or criminal justice professional attempting to help someone with anosognosia for serious mental illness (does not believe they are ill) and refuses treatment, the LEAP training program is for you. 

If you are a mental healthcare professional wanting to help someone accept treatment and services.

If you are a criminal justice professional (judge, police/public safety officer, corrections, probation, prosecutor or defense attorney) working to gain the cooperation and preserve the safety of persons with serious mental illness while encouraging them to accept treatment.

If you are a policymaker, executive, manager, or other leader who needs evidence-based education and practices to inform and positively transform the work of your organization.

Since the year 2000, we have received countless requests from visitors to our website and readers of “I AM NOT SICK, I Don’t Need Help!”  for information on how to attend LEAP trainings. These requests have come from Mental Health Care Providers (HCPs) in addition to others who try and help persons with mental illness. In that time we have trained tens of thousands of HCPs (doctors, psychologists, nurses, social workers, case managers, peer-counselors, etc.).

Relationships between HCPs and persons with serious mental illness are often characterized by mutual distrust (whether stated openly or implicitly), disagreements, and a loss of respect for the other person’s point of view. This stems from many of the symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and similar illnesses (including unawareness of illness and paranoia). It stems also from HCPs not having the communication tools needed to bridge the interpersonal chasms these symptoms create.

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.

An unprecedented number of Americans with untreated serious mental illness are encountering criminal justice professionals and becoming entangled in our justice system. Whether you are a judge, police officer, deputy, corrections officer, prosecutor, defense attorney, or probation officer (criminal court and diversion courts), LEAP will help you in your work with persons who have serious mental illness and especially those who are unaware they are ill (have anosognosia).

The LEAP training program and education gives you evidence-based tools to:

  • De-escalate an angry, aggressive and/or paranoid person
  • Establish trust quickly
  • Transform noncompliant, oppositional and resistant persons into compliant, cooperative and trusting “partners”
  • Divert persons with serious mental illness from the criminal justice system into the mental healthcare system

You will learn evidence-based communication tools and tactics designed to accomplish all of the above. LEAP-CIT and LEAP Training program for law enforcement/public safety officers and for all other Criminal Justice professionals (attorneys, probation, judges, etc.), is evidence-based, practical and comprehensive.

Course evaluations and endorsements from criminal justice professionals are available upon request. LEAP has been featured at the crisis intervention team (CIT) International Training Conference, criminal defense attorny conferences, DOJ Office of Justice Programs conference, Trainings of the Judiciary, probation and corrections.

Praise for LEAP and the LEAP Training Program

I very strongly recommend that all families and therapists learn and use LEAP to help patients with mental illness who are not aware they are ill and would benefit from treatment.
Aaron T. Beck
Psychiatrist, Professor Emeritus, University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Amador’s LEAP method takes you by the hand and heart and leads you to an understanding that gives you the power to break the impasse and get what you need. I know of nothing even in the same league.
Gerry Spence
author of New York Times Best Seller “How to Argue and Win Every Time"
Because of LEAP and your book our daughter is finally in treatment and working again after seven years of homelessness and our having no contact with her. Thank you Dr. Amador!
I can’t thank you enough for bringing our father back to us.