Forbidden Narratives: Critical Autobiography as Social Science explores overlapping layers of voices and stories that convey the social relations of psychiatric survivor participation within a community mental health service system. It is written from the perspective of a woman who, in the course of working with the survivor movement, had a physical and emotional breakdown. Ironically, the author found herself personally confronted with issues she typically dealt with only from a distance: as a mental health professional, a researcher, and an activist.
The author of this volume writes herself into her work as a major character. Narratives such as this have traditionally been forbidden as outside proper professional standards. Now they are claiming and receiving attention. Forbidden Narratives has the power to speak to a broad audience not only of mental health professionals but also policy makers, sociologists and feminists. It is about the breaking up of professional discourse. It demonstrates and signals profound changes in the social sciences.
Kathryn Church is a post-doctoral fellow at the Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Canada. She has just completed a study of community economic development among low-income people in Toronto's downtown core. Dr.Church has worked for over a decade with members of the Canadian psychiatric survivor movement, provincially and nationally, to facilitate their participation in making mental health policy.
"Social Science is changing quickly in response to a variety of pressures. At the core of this change is a resurgence of the subjective: using the self as data' in the argument as opposed to the older view from anywhere.' Forbidden Narratives both exemplifies and advances this shift. Kathryn Church does not simply exhort her colleagues to change how they work; rather, she demonstrates change in herself, tracing it down to the bone, literally in her case." -- Arthur W. Frank of University of Calgary, Canada