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)
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.
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.