Users and Abusers of Psychiatry : A Critical Look at Psychiatric Practice book cover
1st Edition

Users and Abusers of Psychiatry
A Critical Look at Psychiatric Practice

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after September 23, 2021
ISBN 9780367559816
September 23, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
332 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Users and Abusers of Psychiatry is a radically different, critical account of day-to-day practice in psychiatric settings. Using real-life examples and her own experience as a clinical psychologist, Lucy Johnstone argues that the traditional way of treating mental distress can often exacerbate people's original difficulties, leaving them powerless and re-traumatised.

She draws on a range of evidence to present a very different understanding of psychiatric breakdown than that found in standard medical textbooks, and to suggest new ways forward.

The extended introduction to this Classic Edition brings the book up to date by revisiting its themes and tracing the changes in mental health practice over the last three decades. The book’s accessibility and clarity have ensured that it remains a classic in a growing field, and it is as relevant today as when it was first published.

Users and Abusers of Psychiatry is a challenging but ultimately inspiring read for all who are involved in mental health - whether as professionals, students, service users, relatives or interested lay people.

Table of Contents

Introduction to the Classic Edition; Acknowledgements; Glossary; 1: The story of a depressed housewife; 2: The Rescue Game; 3: The sick role; 4: The treatment barrier; 5: Women’s and men’s role problems and psychiatry; 6: The professionals and their training; 7: A brief history of psychiatry; 8: Physical treatments and the role of the drug industry; 9: Resistance in the system; 10: Psychiatry and wider society; 11: Pointers to the future

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Dr Lucy Johnstone is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and worked in Adult Mental Health for many years. She has written and lectured widely on critical perspectives in mental health theory and practice. She is a lead author of the ‘Power Threat Meaning Framework’ (2018), an ambitious and influential project outlining a conceptual alternative to psychiatric diagnosis.


‘With lucid simplicity Lucy sets out the conflict at the heart of psychiatry… Lucy is an outstanding psychologist, one of the leaders in her generation of psychologists.’ Dorothy Rowe, from the foreword to the first edition

‘It is written with humanity, in clear and straightforward language…… its key arguments remain relevant today and, in many ways, are more urgent.’David Harper, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of East London