Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Psychosis

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Dr John Read, Professor Richard Bentall, Loren Mosher, John Read, Jacqui Dillon
Routledge, Jun 19, 2013 - Psychology - 448 pages

Are hallucinations and delusions really symptoms of an illness called ‘schizophrenia’? Are mental health problems really caused by chemical imbalances and genetic predispositions? Are psychiatric drugs as effective and safe as the drug companies claim? Is madness preventable?

This second edition of Models of Madness challenges those who hold to simplistic, pessimistic and often damaging theories and treatments of madness. In particular it challenges beliefs that madness can be explained without reference to social causes and challenges the excessive preoccupation with chemical imbalances and genetic predispositions as causes of human misery, including the conditions that are given the name 'schizophrenia'. This edition updates the now extensive body of research showing that hallucinations, delusions etc. are best understood as reactions to adverse life events and that psychological and social approaches to helping are more effective and far safer than psychiatric drugs and electroshock treatment. A new final chapter discusses why such a damaging ideology has come to dominate mental health and, most importantly, how to change that.

Models of Madness is divided into three sections:

  • Section One provides a history of madness, including examples of violence against the ‘mentally ill’, before critiquing the theories and treatments of contemporary biological psychiatry and documenting the corrupting influence of drug companies.
  • Section Two summarises the research showing that hallucinations, delusions etc. are primarily caused by adverse life events (eg. parental loss, bullying, abuse and neglect in childhood, poverty, etc) and can be understood using psychological models ranging from cognitive to psychodynamic.
  • Section Three presents the evidence for a range of effective psychological and social approaches to treatment, from cognitive and family therapy to primary prevention.

This book brings together thirty-seven contributors from ten countries and a wide range of scientific disciplines. It provides an evidence-based, optimistic antidote to the pessimism of biological psychiatry. Models of Madness will be essential reading for all involved in mental health, including service users, family members, service managers, policy makers, nurses, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, counsellors, psychoanalysts, social workers, occupational therapists, art therapists.


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Well borrowed title by our Personality Disorders team. Donna Murtha. Mental Health Library, The Mount Annexe, Leeds. Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. Read full review


Schizophrenia is not an illness JOHN READ LOREN MOSHER
the mass murder
Psychosis povertyand ethnicity
Gender andpsychosis
Psychodynamic approaches to understanding
From heresy
Intergenerational parenting
Creating societies where
The work of experiencebased experts
Cognitive therapyfor people experiencing psychosis

Electroconvulsive therapy
The role of bio
LARSEN ANDJOHANNES LANGEVELD 25 Nonhospitalnonmedication interventions
Replacing ideology
VOLKMAR ADERHOLDAND EVELIN GOTTWALZ 27 Creating evidencebased effective and humane mental

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About the author (2013)

John Read is a Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool and is Editor of the scientific journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches. He is author of numerous books and over 100 research articles. In 2010 Professor Read was awarded the New Zealand Psychological Society’s Hunter Award, presented every three years, for excellence in scholarship and contribution to the profession.

Jacqui Dillon is a campaigner, writer, international speaker and trainer specialising in hearing voices, psychosis, dissociation, trauma, abuse, healing and recovery. She is the national Chair of the Hearing Voices Network in England, a Board member of Intervoice – the International Network for Training, Education and Research into Hearing Voices. Jacqui is an Honorary Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. This is her third co-edited book about psychosis.

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