Making Sense of Madness: Contesting the Meaning of Schizophrenia (Paperback) book cover

Making Sense of Madness

Contesting the Meaning of Schizophrenia

By Jim Geekie, John Read

© 2009 – Routledge

208 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2009-05-06
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Description

The experience of madness – which might also be referred to more formally as ‘schizophrenia’ or ‘psychosis’ – consists of a complex, confusing and often distressing collection of experiences, such as hearing voices or developing unusual, seemingly unfounded beliefs. Madness, in its various forms and guises, seems to be a ubiquitous feature of being human, yet our ability to make sense of madness, and our knowledge of how to help those who are so troubled, is limited.

Making Sense of Madness explores the subjective experiences of madness. Using clients' stories and verbatim descriptions, it argues that the experience of 'madness' is an integral part of what it is to be human, and that greater focus on subjective experiences can contribute to professional understandings and ways of helping those who might be troubled by these experiences.

Areas of discussion include:

  • how people who experience psychosis make sense of it themselves
  • scientific/professional understandings of ‘madness'
  • what the public thinks about ‘schizophrenia’

Making Sense of Madness will be essential reading for all mental health professionals as well as being of great interest to people who experience psychosis and their families and friends.

Reviews

"Jim Geekie and John Read have written a fascinating book about what psychiatrists call 'schizophrenia'. They address the usually ignored issue of how people who experience hallucinations and delusions make sense of those experiences themselves. They also tackle why it is that experts continue to disagree about what 'schizophrenia' is and, indeed, whether it exists at all. This is a 'must read' for all mental health professionals and everyone else interested in madness." - Professor Paul J Fink, Past President American Psychiatric Association, Temple University School of Medicine, USA

"One can only hope that every new trainee in mental health will first read this book before exposing him - or herself to the confusing amount of theories and categorizations that have become accepted as "knowledge" of madness. Developing an attitude of continuously contesting and questioning accepted knowledge will help close the current gap between subjective experience and professional reductionism." - Prof. dr J. van Os, Dept. Psychiatry and Neuropsychology, Maastricht University, The Netherlands

"At long last, a book that eloquently demonstrates the necessity to listen to subjective experiences of madness in order to gain real insight into sanity, madness and the human condition. Humane, accessible and illuminating." - Jacqui Dillon, Chair of the National Hearing Voices Network, UK

"This is a book that should be read by all trainees in psychiatry." - The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry

Table of Contents

Introduction. The Subjective Experience of Madness. Making Sense of Madness I: Subjective Experience. Making Sense of Madness II: Lay Understandings. What Does the Public Think About ‘Schizophrenia?’ Making Sense of Madness III: Scientific/Professional Understandings of ‘Madness.’ Bringing it all Together. What ‘Schizophrenia’ Really Is. Where to From Here?

About the Authors

Jim Geekie is a clinical psychologist who has been working for Auckland District Health Board in New Zealand since 1995, mostly in the area of early intervention for psychosis. Before moving to New Zealand, he worked in Scotland and England as a psychologist, and before that he spent a few years living in East Africa, where he was employed as a teacher of psychology and philosophy.

John Read is an Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Before that he worked for twenty years as a clinical psychologist and manager of mental health services – predominantly in services for people diagnosed psychotic in the USA and New Zealand. He is the coordinating editor of Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Schizophrenia (Routledge, 2004) and editor of the journal 'Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches'.

About the Series

The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis Book Series

ISPS (The International Society for Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis) has a history stretching back more than five decades, during which it has witnessed the relentless pursuit of biological explanations for psychosis. This tide has been turning in recent years and there is growing international interest in a range of psychological, social and cultural factors that have considerable explanatory traction and distinct therapeutic possibilities. Governments, professional groups, people with personal experience of psychosis and family members are increasingly exploring interventions that involve more talking and listening. Many now regard practitioners skilled in psychological therapies as an essential component of the care of people with psychosis.

A global society active in at least twenty countries, ISPS is composed of a diverse range of individuals, networks and institutional members. Key to its ethos is that individuals with personal experience of psychosis, and their families and friends, are fully involved alongside practitioners and researchers, and that all benefit from this collaboration.

ISPS’s core aim is to promote psychological and social approaches to understanding and treating psychosis. Recognising the humanitarian and therapeutic potential of these perspectives, ISPS embraces a wide spectrum of therapeutic approaches from psychodynamic, systemic, cognitive, and arts therapies, to need-adapted and dialogical approaches, family and group therapies and residential therapeutic communities. A further ambition is to draw together diverse viewpoints on psychosis and to foster discussion and debate across the biomedical and social sciences, including establishing meaningful dialogue with practitioners and researchers who are more familiar with biological-based approaches. Such discussion is now increasingly supported by empirical evidence of the interaction of genes and biology with the emotional and social environment especially in the fields of trauma, attachment, social relationships and therapy.

Ways in which ISPS pursues its aims include international and national conferences, real and virtual networks, and publication of the journal Psychosis. The book series is intended to complement these activities by providing a resource for those wanting to consider aspects of psychosis in detail. It now also includes a monograph strand primarily targeted at academics. Central to both strands is the combination of rigorous, in-depth intellectual content and accessibility to a wide range of readers. We aim for the series to be a resource for mental health professionals of all disciplines, for those developing and implementing policy, for academics in the social and clinical sciences, and for people whose interest in psychosis stems from personal or family experience. We hope that the book series will help challenge excessively biological ways of conceptualising and treating psychosis through the dissemination of existing knowledge and ideas and by fostering new interdisciplinary dialogues and perspectives.

For more information about ISPS, email isps@isps.org or visit our website, www.isps.org.  

For more information about the journal Psychosis visit  www.isps.org/index.php/publications/journal.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSY022050
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychopathology / Schizophrenia