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:
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.
"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
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?
The ISPS (the International Society for the Psychological and Social Approaches to Psychosis) has a history stretching back more than fifty years during which it has witnessed the relentless pursuit of biological explanations for psychosis. The tide is now turning again. There is a welcome international resurgence of interest in a range of psychological factors in psychosis that have considerable explanatory power and also distinct therapeutic possibilities. Governments, professional groups, users and carers are increasingly expecting interventions that involve more talking and listening. Many now regard skilled practitioners in the main psychotherapeutic modalities as important components of the care of the seriously mentally ill.
The ISPS is a global society. It is composed of an increasing number of groups of professionals, family members, those with vulnerability to psychosis and others, who are organised at national, regional and more local levels around the world. Such persons recognise the potential humanitarian and therapeutic potential of skilled psychological understanding and therapy in the field of psychosis. Our members cover a wide spectrum of approaches from psychodynamic, systemic, cognitive, and arts therapies to the need-adaptive approaches, group therapies and therapeutic institutions. We are most interested in establishing meaningful dialogue with those practitioners and researchers who are more familiar with biological based approaches. Our activities include regular international and national conferences, newsletters and email discussion groups in many countries across the world.
One of our activities is in the field of publication. Routledge have recognised the importance of our field, publishing Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches. The journal complements Routledge's publishing of the ISPS book series which started in 2004. The books aim to cover many topics within the spectrum of the psychological therapies of psychosis and their application in a variety of settings. The series is intended to inform and further educate a wide range of mental health professionals as well as those developing and implementing policy.
Some of the books will be controversial and certainly our aim is to develop and change current practice in some countries. Other books will also promote the ideas of clinicians and researchers well known in some countries but not familiar to others. Our overall intention is to encourage the dissemination of existing knowledge and ideas, promote healthy debate, and encourage more research in a most important field whose secrets almost certainly do not all reside in the neurosciences.