Psychosis as a Personal Crisis

An Experience-Based Approach

Edited by Marius Romme, Sandra Escher

© 2012 – Routledge

224 pages | 3 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415673303
pub: 2011-09-28
US Dollars$44.95
Hardback: 9780415673310
pub: 2011-09-29
US Dollars$130.00

e–Inspection Copy

About the Book

Psychosis as a Personal Crisis seeks to challenge the way people who hear voices are both viewed and treated. This book emphasises the individual variation between people who suffer from psychosis and puts forward the idea that hearing voices is not in itself a sign of mental illness.

In this book the editors bring together an international range of expert contributors, who in their daily work, their research or their personal acquaintance, focus on the personal experience of psychosis.

Further topics of discussion include:

  • accepting and making sense of hearing voices
  • the relation between trauma and paranoia
  • the limitations of contemporary psychiatry
  • the process of recovery.

This book will be essential reading for all mental health professionals, in particular those wanting to learn more about the development of the hearing voices movement and applying these ideas to better understanding those in the voice hearing community.


"In the entire book, there is a laudable effort to free voice hearers from social silence and stigma, and to promote their participation in self-help groups and forums with other persons who live with or lived through similar experiences. For this reason, this book is also of fundamental value for the persons who hear voices, for their family and friends. It is also necessary reading for any person interested in this innovating therapeutic avant-garde approach because the Hearing Voices Movement is one of social liberation." - Manuel González de Chávez, From the Foreword.

Table of Contents

Chávez, Foreword. Romme, Escher, Psychosis as a Personal Crisis: Introduction. Part I: Changes in Attitude. Martindale, Psychiatry at the Cross Roads. Hoffman, Changing Attitudes in a Clinical Setting. Johnstone, Voice Hearers Are People with Problems; Not Patients with Illness. Coleman, Taylor, The Process of Recovery and the Implications for Working in Psychosis. Escher, Useful Instruments for Exploring Hearing Voices and Paranoia. Part II: Relationship with Trauma or Other Live Experiences. Larkin, Read, Childhood Trauma and Psychosis: Revisiting the Evidence. Bullimore, The Relation Between Trauma and Paranoia. Romme, Personal Links Between Trauma, Distorted Emotions and Hearing Voices. Part III: Recovery Oriented Approaches. Escher, Hearing Voices in Children: The Message of the Voices. Seikkula, Alakare, Open Dialogue with Psychotic Patients and Their Families. Dillon, Longden, Hearing Voices Groups: Creating Safe Spaces to Share Taboo Experiences. May, Relating to Alternative Realities. Romme, Escher, Accepting and Making Sense of Hearing Voices. Corstens, May, Longden, Talking Directly with Voices. Kingdom, Cognitive Psychological Intervention: Understanding Psychosis and Cognitive Therapy. Garfield, Iagura, A Psychoanalytic Framework for Psychotic Experiences. Watkins, Using Medication Wisely in Treating Psychosis.

About the Editors

Marius Romme is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands. He is Visiting Professor at Birmingham City University, UK, and Founder and Chair of Intervoice the International Association for Voice Hearers, which has networks and support groups around the world.

Sandra Escher is a former journalist and senior staff member at the Community Mental Health Centre in Maastricht, the Netherlands. She is an honorary research fellow at Birmingham City University, UK, and Co Founder of Intervoice the International Association for Voice Hearers.

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
PSYCHOLOGY / Mental Health