A Japanese Jungian Perspective on Mental Health and Culture : Wandering madness book cover
1st Edition

A Japanese Jungian Perspective on Mental Health and Culture
Wandering madness

ISBN 9781138353763
Published September 10, 2018 by Routledge
150 Pages

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Book Description

A Japanese Jungian Perspective on Mental Health and Culture: Wandering Madness explores differences between Western and Japanese models of mental health. It argues that while the advent of modern mental health has brought about seminal changes in our understanding of and relationship to those who face its challenges, the cure also seems to be something of the cause, as the classification of mental disorders continues to expand and increasing numbers of people show up to fill them. In this book, psychiatrist and Jungian analyst Iwao Akita presents a new theory of psycheology in order to highlight what has been lost in our rush to medicalize the psyche, as well as offer a remedy for restoring balance.

Drawing upon examples from both Japanese and Western cultures, Dr. Akita discusses an alternative perspective to the polarized viewpoint towards which the West tends. He distinguishes the concept of madness from psychopathology and outlines its dynamics through numerous clinical and cultural examples. He describes the underlying dynamics of substance use and personality disorders, makes important links between these conditions, and clarifies how they can develop into madness. With references to familiar stories and myths from Western and Japanese cultures, this book makes an important contribution to our understanding of mental illness and health, while also making us more aware of how these issues are common to the human experience.

This book will be of key interest to academics, researchers, and postgraduate students in the fields of psychoanalysis, Jungian and Post-Jungian studies, and mental health studies. It will also appeal to psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, as well as those with a particular interest in substance use, personality disorders, madness, and cross-cultural comparisons of mental health models.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Madness Embraced

1. On the Question of Why

2. What is Madness?

3. The Impossibility of Objectivity

4. The Departure from Godhood: Everyone is Borderline and at the Borderline

5. For Those Who Wander in Mazes: Escaping the Fly Bottle

Conclusion: From Mental Health to Psycheology

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Iwao Akita, M.D., Ph.D., is a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, and Jungian analyst. He received his academic degrees from Kōchi Medical School, Japan, and completed training as a Jungian analyst atthe C. G. Jung Institute in Zürich. Dr. Akita is a professor in the Department of Clinical Psychology at Kyoto Bunkyo University. He has also been instrumental in the development of analytical psychology in Japan, serving in leadership roles for both the Japan Association of Jungian Psychology (JAJP) and the Association of Jungian Analysts, Japan (AJAJ) over many years. His works include many publications and several books in Japanese.


‘In asserting that ‘Mental disorders are not equal to madness’ Dr. Akita’s distinction between psychopathology and madness is clinically, culturally, and spiritually critical. He offers much evidence to support his claim that madness gets lost in the context of Western culture’s over-medicalization of psyche. In a world demonstrating increasing madness, this book offers a broader perspective on the dynamics of madness such as how to differentiate it from psychopathology.’- Jerome S. Bernstein, Jungian Analyst

‘Iwao Akita’s book invites the reader to wander with the author into embracing anew some key issues in psychiatry and depth psychology. His book challenges current psychiatric and psychological paradigms of diagnosis and treatment as too narrow to include the scope and depth of human madness as more than a mental health problem. It is an important book that is right for our time.’ - Robert D. Romanyshyn, Professor Emeritus of Clinical Psychology, Pacifica Graduate Institute, USA

‘This is a beautiful, challenging work. Dr. Akita and his translators have given us an invaluable corrective to the inadequacy and rigidity of contemporary psychological language. The mystery and ubiquity of psyche resists our attempts to contain it in convenient conceptual boxes. Dr. Akita draws us gently back to the questions we professionals most fear, those that remind us of how little we actually know: Why do we suffer? What is the cause of existence? This is not a reflection on the Japanese psyche. It is a gift from the Japanese psyche to psychology.’ - Sean Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, The Jung Center of Houston, USA