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Recent research has suggested that persons with severe mental disorders may have psychological control mechanisms that influence the course of their disorders. One mechanism that appears to be particularly significant is the low turning point. Based on data obtained as part of an intensive follow-along study, the low turning point process is described in this report. It is identified as involving three phases: a) an initial rigid focus on one coping mechanism for dealing with stress; b) relinquishing of that focus and decompensation; and c) reorganizing one's life more broadly. The functioning that emerges from this experience often appears to be more adaptive than that existing before its onset. Conceptual implications of this process are discussed.