Experiencing Psychosis

Personal and Professional Perspectives

Edited by Jim Geekie, Patte Randal, Debra Lampshire, John Read

© 2011 – Routledge

248 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415580342
pub: 2011-07-29
US Dollars$49.95
Hardback: 9780415580335
pub: 2011-07-29
US Dollars$140.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Extensive scientific research has been conducted into understanding and learning more about psychotic experiences. However, in existing research the voice of subjective experience is rarely taken into consideration. In this book, first-person accounts are brought centre-stage and examined alongside current research to suggest how personal experience can contribute to professional understanding, and therefore the treatment, of psychosis.

Experiencing Psychosis brings together a range of contributors who have either experienced psychosis on a personal level or conducted research into the topic. Chapters are presented in pairs providing information from both personal and research perspectives on specific aspects of psychosis including: hearing voices, delusional beliefs, and trauma as well as cultural, existential and spiritual issues. Experts from the field recognise that first and foremost psychosis is a human experience and that those who suffer from psychotic episodes must have some involvement in any genuine attempts to make sense of the experience.

This book will be essential reading for all mental health professionals involved with psychosis. The accessible style and compelling personal histories will also attract service users and their families.


"This is one of the most exciting, novel and important books I have read in a long time. It is ground-breaking and unique through the way it combines first-person accounts of, and reflections on psychosis with professional accounts, theory and research." - Anne Cooke, Department of Applied Psychology, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK

"Congratulations to Jim Geekie and all the contributors to this very important and powerful document about understanding and treating people with serious mental illness. This book reminds us that we must recognize the personhood of every patient and try to understand the personal meaning of experiences such as hallucinations and delusions." - Dr Paul Fink, Past President, American Psychiatric Association

"Experiencing Psychosis is a real eye opener when it comes to understanding psychosis from the personal perspectives of those who experience it. The book combines personal narratives, professional accounts, theory and research in a clear and coherent way. It takes the reader on a journey through the extraordinary human experience of what the medical model calls psychosis, and helps us to appreciate that in order to understand the symptoms of mental illness, it is not enough to just describe them but it is crucial to consider the personal, social, cultural and spiritual contexts in which the psychotic experiences take place." - Maria Tiina Lindholm-Ventola, Private Practice, Winter 2011

"This was an enlightening and inspiring read. I finished the book thinking that not enough emphasis is placed on the lived experience within our understanding of psychosis. This would be a useful introduction text for those wanting to develop an understanding of the psychotic experience regardless of professional modality. The perspectives of this would be of particular relevance to mental health professionals in training as well as those who have lost sight of the individual's voice in their practice." - Ciaran O'Driscoll, Journal of Mental Health (Vol. 22, No. 3)

Table of Contents

Geekie, Randal, Read, Lampshire, Introduction. Roe, Lysaker, The Importance of Personal Narratives in Recovery from Psychosis. Dillon, Recovery from 'Psychosis'. Davidson, Hurrying Slowly: Initial Steps Towards Recovering from Psychosis. Bidois, A Cultural and Personal Perspective of Psychosis. Lambrecht, Taitimu, Exploring Culture, Subjectivity and Psychosis. Randal, Subjective Experience of Spirituality and Psychosis. Lukoff, Spirituality and Psychosis. Lauveng, When You Have Lost Yourself, There's Really Not Very Much Left. Geekie, The Uncertainty of Being: Existential Aspects of the Experience of Psychosis. Byrne, At Risk of Developing Psychosis: A Personal Account. Hardy, At Risk of Developing Psychosis: The Research Perspective. Boevink, Corstens, My Body Remembers; I Refused: Childhood Trauma, Dissociation and Psychosis. Read, Research into the Subjective Experience of, and Beliefs about, the Link Between Psychosis and Bad Things Happening. Lampshire, The Sounds of a Wounded World. Beavan, Myriad Voices Myriad Meanings: Review of the Research into the Subjective Experience of Hearing Voices. Wraphire, Deluded Loner. Campbell, Morrison, Subjective Experiences of Delusions and Paranoia. Longden, Negative Symptoms: More, Not Less. Lievre, Schweitzer, The Subjective Experience of Negative Symptoms: Characteristics of Emotional Withdrawal. Neugeboren, I Called You My Brother. Read, Magliano, The Subjective Experience and Beliefs of Relatives of People who Experience Psychosis. Randal, Geekie, Read, Lampshire, Concluding Comments.

About the Editors

Jim Geekie is a Clinical Psychologist working in the Early Psychosis Service at St Luke's Community Mental Health Centre, Auckland District Health Board (ADHB), New Zealand.

Patte Randal works as a Medical Officer in Rehabilitation Psychiatry at Buchanan Rehabilitation Centre, ADHB, New Zealand.

Debra Lampshire works for Auckland University and ADHB, New Zealand, leading the development in service-user involvement.

John Read is Professor in Clinical Psychology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand and is 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 fifty years during which it has witnessed the relentless pursuit of biological explanations for psychosis. The tide has been turning in recent years and there is a welcome international resurgence of interest in a range of psychological factors that have considerable explanatory power and therapeutic possibilities. Governments, professional groups, people with personal experience of psychosis and family members are increasingly expecting 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.

ISPS is a global society. It aims to promote psychological and social approaches both to understanding and to treating psychosis. It also aims to bring together different perspectives on these issues. ISPS is composed of individuals, networks and institutional members from a wide range of backgrounds and is especially concerned that those with personal experience of psychosis and their family members are fully involved in our activities alongside practitioners and researchers, and that all benefit from this. Our members recognise the potential humanitarian and therapeutic potential of skilled psychological understanding and therapy in the field of psychosis. ISPS embraces a wide spectrum of approaches from psychodynamic, systemic, cognitive, and arts therapies to need-adapted and dialogical approaches, family and group therapies and residential therapeutic communities.

We are also most interested in establishing meaningful dialogue with those practitioners and researchers who are more familiar with biological-based approaches. There is increasing empirical evidence for the interaction of genes and biology with the emotional and social environment, and there are important examples of the impact of life experiences in the fields of trauma, attachment, social relationships and therapy.

ISPS activities include regular international and national conferences, newsletters and email discussion groups. Routledge has recognised the importance of our field in publishing both the book series and the ISPS journal: Psychosis - Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches with the two complementing one another. The series started in 2004 and by 2015 it contained 19 books and 2 monographs, with further publications in preparation. A wide range of topics are covered and we hope this reflects some success in our aim of bringing together a rich range of perspectives.

The book series is intended as a resource for a broad range of mental health professionals, as well as those developing and implementing policy and people whose interest in psychosis is at a personal level. We aim for rigorous academic standards and at the same time accessibility to a wide range of readers, and for the books to promote the ideas of clinicians and researchers who may be well known in some countries, but not so familiar in others. Our overall intention is to encourage the dissemination of existing knowledge and ideas, promote productive debate, and encourage more research in a most important field whose secrets certainly do not all reside in the neurosciences.

This series also includes a monograph strand, which consists of high-level academic texts aimed at researchers, academics and postgraduate students. Within the monograph strand the focus tends to be somewhat more conceptual, and less directly clinical, than in the main strand.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
PSYCHOLOGY / Psychopathology / Schizophrenia