This revised and updated second edition is a rhetorical analysis of written communication in the mental health community. As such, it contributes to the growing body of research being done in rhetoric and composition studies on the nature of writing and reading in highly specialized professional discourse communities. Many compelling questions answered in this volume include:
* What "ideological biases" are reflected in the language the nurse/rhetorician uses to talk to and talk about the patient?
* How does language figure into the process of constructing meaning in this context?
* What social interactions -- with the patient, with other nurses, with physicians -- influence the nurse's attempt to construct meaning in this context?
* How do the readers of assessment construct their own meanings of the assessment?
Based on an ongoing collaboration between composition studies specialists and mental health practitioners, this book presents research of value not only to writing scholars and teachers, but also to professional clinicians, their teachers, and those who read mental health records in order to make critically important decisions. It can also be valuable as a model for other scholars to follow when conducting similar long-range studies of other writing-intensive professions.
"Particularly valuable…are the authors' discussions of the language of mental health reports and the 'ideological biases' that govern the work of mental health professionals. These discussions help us see what kinds of questions can and should be asked. By enabling us to investigate the language and thought of one type of nonacademic setting, this book enables us to consider issues that are fundamental to our field."
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York, From the Foreword
Contents: L. Odell, A Rhetorician's Foreword. J.L. Levenson, A Clinician's Foreword. Preface to the Second Edition. Introduction: The Growing Importance of Mental Health Records. A Review of the Literature on Mental Health Records. A Descriptive Taxonomy of Mental Health Records. Writer/Reader Biases and Mental Health Records. More on the DSM: The Language System of Mental Health Records. Clinicians' Thoughts on Mental Health Records: A Pilot Survey. Improving Mental Health Records: Instructional Strategies and Research Priorities. New Developments: 1992 to 1994.