1st Edition

The Interactive World of Severe Mental Illness Case Studies of the U.S. Mental Health System

    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    254 Pages
    by Routledge

    In our society, medication is often seen as the treatment for severe mental illness, with psychotherapy a secondary treatment. However, quality social interaction may be as important for the recovery of those with severe mental illness as are treatments. This volume makes this point while describing the emotionally moving lives of eight individuals with severe mental illness as they exist in the U.S. mental health system. Offering social and psychological insight into their experiences, these stories demonstrate how patients can create meaningful lives in the face of great difficulties.

    Based on in-depth interviews with clients with severe mental illness, this volume explores which structures of interaction encourage growth for people with severe mental illness, and which trigger psychological damage. It considers the clients’ relationships with friends, family, peers, spouses, lovers, co-workers, mental health professionals, institutions, the community, and the society as a whole. It focuses specifically on how structures of social interaction can promote or harm psychological growth, and how interaction dynamics affect the psychological well-being of individuals with severe mental illness.

    Introduction Purposes of the book—The Treatment of Mental Illness in the United States. Part I: Interaction Structures—1. Interaction Structures with Institutions; 2. Interaction Structures with Families; 3. Social Interactions with Friends; Part II: Introduction to the Cases/The Narratives—4. The Depersonalized Musician; 5. The Woman Who Couldn’t Get Her Abuser Out of Her Head; 6. The Depressed Man in Chronic Pain; 7. The Last Train Out of Berlin; 8. The Woman Who Believed She had No Heart; 9. Monster Woman; 10. The Woman Who Never Mourned; 11. The Man Who Lived in a Dumpster; Part III: Other Interaction Issues-- 12. The Tavistock Method: A Growth Promoting Form of Group Interaction; 13. Synthesis: Reflections on the Structure of Interaction; 14. Conclusion; 15. Epilogue.


    Diana J. Semmelhack is Professor of Behavioral Medicine at Midwestern University in Downers Grove, IL and a Board Certified Clinical Psychologist. She has done extensive research on group work.

    Larry Ende received his PhD in literature from SUNY Buffalo and MSW from the Jane Addams College of Social Work. He specializes in psychodynamically-oriented therapy.

    Arthur Freeman is Professor of Psychology and Executive Program Director of the Clinical Psychology programs at Midwestern University (Downers Grove, IL and Glendale, AZ).

    Clive Hazell operates a private practice in Chicago, IL and teaches at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Colleen L. Barron is a mental health professional working with severely mentally ill adults. She received her Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from Benedictine University.

    Garry L. Treft is Administrative Coordinator for the Department of Behavioral Medicine at Midwestern University.