1st Edition

Psychosis and The Traumatised Self
Understanding and Change

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 29, 2022
ISBN 9780367491796
March 29, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
224 Pages

USD $32.95

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Book Description

Psychosis and The Traumatised Self explores what it is like to experience psychosis for individuals with histories of childhood physical and sexual abuse.

The book additionally explores how meaning expressed in psychosis might originate from the effects of abuse, but also long-term life difficulties, motivations, memories, social history and struggles to narrate and understand. One chapter focuses on refugees who suffered trauma as adults and later became psychotic. Another chapter examines how trauma leads to the destruction of certainty and trust thereby opening a pathway to persecutory ideas. Drawing on a developmental model of trauma, it is proposed that dissociated parts of the self that developed during childhood contribute to psychosis in adults when undergoing difficulties and stress.

Presented with case illustrations, the book will be useful for those who work in the area of psychosis and abuse to understand the experiences of individuals and how we might develop appropriate therapy and care.

Table of Contents

1 Psychosis and trauma; 2 Physical abuse and psychosis; 3 Sexual abuse and psychosis; 4 Refugees and psychosis; 5 Transformation of meaning in psychosis; 6 Psychosis and the fragmented self; 7 Trauma, psychosis, and the taken for granted world; 8 Understanding and working with the self in psychosis; 9 Therapy for psychosis and the traumatized self

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John Rhodes is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire. He wrote ‘Narrative CBT: Distinctive Features’ (2014) and co-authored ‘Narrative CBT for Psychosis’ (2009). He has published articles in the areas of psychosis, trauma, and depression.


This is a detailed, discerning, and original study of trauma and psychosis. By reflecting carefully on first-person accounts, Rhodes provides important insights into a range of traumatic experiences and how they relate to psychosis. The book will be an invaluable resource for clinicians and researchers, promoting empathy, theoretical understanding, and effective therapy.

Matthew Ratcliffe, Professor of Philosophy, University of York

John Rhodes’ book is a great example of how qualitative research can contribute to the development of psychotherapeutic approaches. Drawing on a phenomenological analysis of interviews with people with psychosis diagnoses who have experienced different types of trauma, Rhodes discusses the implications of this analysis for therapeutic work. He reviews a range of different therapeutic approaches and then describes his use of an integrated approach that draws on Schema Therapy. The book will be of value both to practitioners and qualitative researchers interested in clinical practice.

David Harper, Professor, Programme Director (Academic) of the Professional Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London.

This book makes a major contribution to understanding how abuse and trauma, including political violence, inform our understanding of psychoses and those who experience them.  Its rich analysis of the experiences of the personal experiences of his patients helps the reader better understand the role of trauma in the making of the self, including the psychotic self, and how we then attempt to live in the world. The book draws on concepts and theories from both science and philosophy to enrich its account. It ends with a cornucopia of rich ideas about therapy for those with psychotic experiences based on the long clinical experience of the author. 


Oliver Mason, Reader in Clinical Psychology, University of Surrey

Real world clinical work with persons diagnosed with psychosis often reveals deep and complex histories of trauma. This novel and original volume by John Rhodes offers a rich exploration of differing forms of trauma and their deep effects on the experience of self-coherence and one’s place in the world. Practical and novel approaches to treatment are described that go beyond addressing symptoms and skills and offer patients opportunities for some of the most meaningful and subjective forms of recovery.

Paul H Lysaker Ph.D.

Clinical Psychologist Richard L Roudebush VA Medical Center

Professor of Clinical Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, Indiana University School of Medicine