Alternatives, critical psychiatry, philosophy, politics

Publications on critical psychiatry, alternatives, philosophical and political reflections

Doctoring the Mind: Is Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good?
Bibliography of First-Person Narratives of Madness In English (4th edition, 2009)
Psychiatry – The Alternative Textbook, Volume 1: Psychiatry Deconstructed (2009)
Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry (2007)
Madness explained – psychosis and human nature (2004)
Users and Abusers of Psychiatry: A Critical Look at Psychiatric Practice (2000)
Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason
Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia
The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976, 1990, 2000)
When Self-Consciousness Breaks: Alien Voices and Inserted Thoughts (Philosophical Psychopathology)
Deconstructing Paranoia
Totality and Infinity: An Essay On Exteriority
This is madness : a critical look at psychiatry and the future of mental health services
This is madness too: a critical look at psychiatry and the future of mental health services
Deconstructing Psychopathology

Doctoring the Mind: Is Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good? Richard Bentall (2009)

Toward the end of the twentieth century, the solution to mental illness seemed to be found. It lay in biological solutions, focusing on mental illness as a problem of the brain, to be managed or improved through drugs. We entered the “Prozac Age” and believed we had moved far beyond the time of frontal lobotomies to an age of good and successful mental healthcare. Biological psychiatry had triumphed.

Except maybe it hadn’t. Starting with surprising evidence from the World Health Organization that suggests that people recover better from mental illness in a developing country than in the first world, Doctoring the Mind asks the question: how good are our mental healthcare services, really? Richard P. Bentall picks apart the science that underlies our current psychiatric practice. He puts the patient back at the heart of treatment for mental illness, making the case that a good relationship between patients and their doctors is the most important indicator of whether someone will recover.

Arguing passionately for a future of mental health treatment that focuses as much on patients as individuals as on the brain itself, this is a book set to redefine our understanding of the treatment of madness in the twenty-first century.

Bibliography of First-Person Narratives of Madness In English (4th edition, 2008) Compiled by Professor Gail A. Hornstein (2009)

This Bibliography is in four sections: (1) personal accounts of madness written by survivors themselves; (2) narratives written by family members; (3) anthologies and critical analyses of the madness narrative genre; and (4) websites featuring oral histories and other first-person madness accounts. PDF download available.

Psychiatry – The Alternative Textbook, Volume 1: Psychiatry Deconstructed by Phil Virden with Alec Jenner and Lin Bigwood, (2009)

Volume 1: Psychiatry Deconstructed by Phil Virden with Alec Jenner and Lin Bigwood

The first alternative, non-medical textbook of Psychiatry. Volume 1 demonstrates the striking absence of bio-chemical or genetic evidence for any aspect of Psychiatry’s conventional ‘medical model of mental illness’.
Yesterday I received your encyclopedia (for that’s what it is) of alternative psychiatry … I spent much of the past 24 hours scanning and reading it and congratulate you and your collaborators for this fine piece of work. Thomas Szasz

Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry Peter Stastny / Peter Lehmann (Eds.), (2007)

The book highlights alternatives beyond psychiatry, current possibilities of self-help for individuals experiencing madness, and strategies toward implementing humane treatment. 61 authors (ex-)users and survivors of psychiatry, therapists, psychiatrists, lawyers, social scientists and relatives from all continents­ report about their alternative work, their objectives and successes, their individual and collective experiences.

Madness explained – psychosis and human nature by Richard P Bentall (2004)

This groundbreaking work argues that we cannot define madness as an illness to be cured like any other, that labels such as ‘schizophrenia’ and ‘manic depression’ are meaningless, and that experiences such as delusions and hearing voices are in fact exaggerations of the mental foibles to which everyone is vulnerable.

Users and Abusers of Psychiatry: A Critical Look at Psychiatric Practice by Lucy Johnstone and Dorothy Rowe (2000)

This book is a critical look at traditional psychiatric treatment, arguing that it very often makes people worse rather than better, and illustrated by various real-life examples. The book goes on to show how the theory underpinning psychiatry is deeply flawed and lacking in evidence, and discusses the various vested interests in keeping things this way and resisting change. It also looks at a number of alternatives to the biomedical model. It is written in clear language, accessible to service users and carers as well as professionals.

Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason by Michel Foucault

Publisher Comments:
What does it mean to be mad? In Madness and Civilization, perhaps his masterpiece, Michel Foucault examines the archaeology of madness in the West from 1500 to 1800 — from the Middle Ages, when insanity was considered part of everyday life and fools and crazies walked the streets freely, to the time when such people began to be considered a threat, asylums were first built, and a wall was erected between the “insane” and the rest of humanity.
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Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari

Publisher Comments:
Gilles Deleuze (1925-1995) was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Paris VIII. He is a key figure in poststructuralism, and one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century.
Félix Guattari (1930-1992) was a psychiatrist at the La Borde Clinic, as well as being a major social theorist and radical activist.

Anti-Oedipus is a radical philosophical analysis of desire that shows how we can combat the compulsion to dominate ourselves and others. As Michel Foucault says in his Preface it is an ‘Introduction to Non-Fascist Living’.

In synthesis, anti-Oedipus attempts to conjoin capitalism with schizophrenia.
The generalised coding of social activity by capital produces a plane of immanence or smooth space, where dysfunctional action is required to enable the development and exploitation of surplus value.
The tedium of the working day with its breaks, interruptions and repetition, is rehearsed and played out through the schools of the west. This is the development of the schizophrenic necessity of capital, the foundation of capitalist political economy on the abstract subjective essence of wealth as theorised by Marx (1844). Through this system, production becomes an end in itself. It is a cosmopolitan, universal energy that overthrows every restriction and bond, yet encounters limits and barriers that are interior and immanent to it.
These limits and barriers are reproduced on a larger scale involving police states, the vigilance of the citizens, perhaps even war. Capitalism doesn’t work without expansion, it creates schizophrenic flows of sign-signifiers that are checked and regulated by the despotism of paranoiac over-coding, which is continually attempting to designate some unity and characterises the nature of the modern, liberal and democratic state.

The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (1976, 1990, 2000) by Julian Jaynes

Julian Jaynes speculates that until late in the second millennium B.C. men had no consciousness but were automatically obeying the voices of gods. Presents a theory of the bicameral mind which holds that ancient peoples could not “think” as we do today and were therefore “unconscious,” a result of the domination of the right hemisphere; only catastrophe forced mankind to “learn” consciousness, a product of human history and culture and one that issues from the brain’s left hemisphere. Three forms of human awareness, the bicameral or god-run man; the modern or problem-solving man; and contemporary forms of throwbacks to bicamerality (e.g., religious frenzy, hypnotism, and schizophrenia) are examined in terms of the physiology of the brain and how it applies to human psychology, culture, and history.

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When Self-Consciousness Breaks: Alien Voices and Inserted Thoughts (Philosophical Psychopathology) by G. Lynn Stephens, George Graham

Book Description from Amazon
In this book, G. Lynn Stephens and George Graham examine verbal hallucinations and thought insertion as examples of what they call “alienated self-consciousness.” In such cases, a subject is directly or introspectively aware of an episode in her mental life but experiences it as alien, as somehow attributable to another person.

Stephens and Graham explore two sorts of questions about verbal hallucinations and thought insertion. The first is their phenomenology–what the experience is like for the subject. The second concerns the implications of alien episodes for our general understanding of self-consciousness. Psychopathologists look at alien episodes for what they reveal about the underlying pathology of mental illness. As philosophers, the authors ask what they reveal about the underlying psychological structure and processes of human self-consciousness.

The authors suggest that alien episodes are caused by a disturbed sense of agency, a condition in which the subject no longer has the sense of being the agent who thinks or carries out the thought. Distinguishing the sense of subjectivity from that of agency, they make the case that the sense of agency is a key element in self-consciousness.

Deconstructing Paranoia, PhD Thesis (1999) by David Harper

An Analysis of the Discourses Associated with the Concept of Paranoid Delusion.
This thesis details assumptions implicit in discourse about paranoia and describes the interests and consequences of different discursive frameworks. It is organized into three parts.

In the first part, I focus on the production of paranoia in a range of cultural contexts using a form of discourse analysis to explore both how a history of paranoia is constructed and to identify some of the interests at work in that construction. Then I go on to analyse discourse about paranoia in popular culture and look at how paranoia is an identity which can be taken on or used to position the Other which leads to the de-legitimisation of their views. Finally, in this section, I use a form of deconstruction to examine professional texts about paranoia drawing out some implicit oppositional assumptions.

In the second part I again use discourse analysis to examine three topics which emerged in interviews with nine users of psychiatric services and twelve professionals who have worked with them. I explore how emotion is related to paranoia and notions like belief and action. I then go on to describe how people (especially professionals) employ certain rhetorical devices which establish im/plausibility and detail the influence of race, gender and class on this process. Finally I elucidate oppositions along which views about medication intersect and note some of the discursive effects of the organisation of talk about medication.

Finally, in the third part, I stand back from the study and focus on issues of reflexivity in the research and point towards specific implications arising from my analysis.

Totality and Infinity: An Essay On Exteriority by Emanuelle Levinas

Totality and Infinity is a profound and challenging work of philosophy. Levinas provides an interesting viewpoint on the problem of modern alienation in that he explains how separation can be understood as a basic condition of Being.
*Excerpt from Wikipedia:*
Levinas’ work is based on the ethics of the Other or, in his own terms, on “ethics as first philosophy.”
For Levinas, the Other is not knowable and cannot be made into an object of the self, as is done by traditional metaphysics (which Levinas called “ontology”). Levinas prefers to think of philosophy as the “knowledge of love” rather than the love of knowledge (the literal Greek meaning of the word “philosophy”). By his lights, ethics becomes an entity independent of subjectivity to the point where ethical responsibility is integral to the subject; hence an ethics of responsibility precedes any “objective searching after truth.”
*A review from Amazon:*
Levinas shows in this book that the face to face relation with the Other is the source for our capacity to have theoretical and practical knowledge.
This theoretical and practical `knowledge’ – science and law/politics – are fundamentally social. In this way, the ethical relation opens and conditions this `knowledge,’ while always exceeding it.
What if science claimed to discover that women were `inferior’ to men? We would no doubt question the `truth’ of this discovery. Why? Because such a claim seems to exceed the bounds of what scientific activity can produce. This example shows how ethics exceeds theoretical knowledge.
The same goes for the `practical.’ Why do we think that segregation is wrong or unjust? Why is excluding the `other’ from basic political participation, and the responsibility and rights it entails, a problem? Political theory and practice, which in its way is a kind of `scientific ethics,’ can also lead to problematic situations. How are we able to judge or discern or resist claims that seek to justify unethical attitudes and practices?
The face-to-face is Levinas’s attempt to grapple with this perennial problem.

This is madness : a critical look at psychiatry and the future of mental health services edited by Craig Newnes, Guy Holmes and Cailzie Dunn. (1999)

Part One: Psychiatry in context. Histories of psychiatry, Craig Newnes Social inequalities and mental health, Jennie Williams Racism and mental health, Nimisha Patel and Iyabo A. Fatimilehin

Part Two: What psychiatry does. Diagnosis, Mary Boyle Drugs, David Crepaz-Keay ECT: The facts psychiatry declines to mention, Katy Arscott Do families cause ‘schizophrenia’? Revisiting a taboo subject, Lucy Johnstone Psychiatric hospitals and patients’ councils, Marese Hudson
Part Three: Alternatives and alliances. Hearing voices and the politics of oppression, Ron Coleman Collaborative conversations, Peter Hulme User involvement in mental health service development, David Pilgrim and Lesley Hitchman The service user/survivor movement, Peter Campbell Survivor controlled alternatives to psychiatric services, Vivien Lindow
Part Four: Beyond psychiatry. The duty of community care: The Wokingham MIND crisis house, Pam Jenkinson Promoting community resources, Janet Bostock, Valerie Noble and Rachel Winter The role of education in the lives of people with mental health difficulties, Tracey Austin Green approaches to occupational and income needs in preventing chronic dependency, Brian Davey The future of mental health services, Craig Newnes and Guy Holmes

This is madness too : critical perspectives on mental health services edited by Craig Newnes, Guy Holmes and Cailzie Dunn. (2001)

Part One: The lunatics have taken over the asylum. Mental health policy: a suitable case for treatment, Peter Beresford and Suzy Croft Integrating critical psychiatry into psychiatric training, Duncan Double Policing happiness, Mark Rapley

Part Two: Risk and dangerousness. What people need to know about the drug treatment of children, Peter Breggin The SSRI suicides, David Healey ‘I’ve never said ‘no’ to anything in my life’: helping people with learning disabilities who experience psychological problems, Biza Stenfert Kroese and Guy Holmes Coming off neuroleptics, Peter Lehmann
Part Three: Rights . . . and wrongs. Surviving social inclusion, Peter Campbell When ‘No’ means ‘Yes’: informed consent themes with children and teenagers, Steve Baldwin Controlled bodies, controlled eating: the treatment of eating disorders, Vivien J Lewis and Sara Cureton Relatives and carers, Olive Bucknall and Guy Holmes
Part Four: An end to madness. Survivor research, Vivien Lindow This is therapy: a person-centred critique of the contemporary psychiatric system, Pete Sanders and Keith Tudor The future approach for community mental health, Fran Silvestri and Susan Hallwright Developing a survivor discourse to replace the ‘psychopathology’ of breakdown and crisis, Jan Wallcraft and John Michaelson

Deconstructing Psychopathology Authored by: Ian Parker, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK; Eugenie Georgaca, City College, Greece; David Harper, University of East London; Terence McLaughlin; Mark Stowell-Smith Ashworth Hospital, Liverpool (1996)

Accessible and practical, Deconstructing Psychopathology provides a critical perspective on the institutions, practices, and presuppositions that underlie the study of psychopathology. The authors, who come from such areas as clinical psychology, psychiatric social work, psychoanalysis, and action research, challenge the traditions of the field in three ways: First, they analyze the notion of psychopathology as a conventional term in psychology and psychiatry, through the language and institutions that keep it in place. Next, they explore the deconstructive responses and resources and their implications for the theoretical practices that sustain clinical treatments. And finally, they offer an alternative way of seeing psychopathology along with practical models for critical professional work and good practice. This practical and well-written book will be an invaluable text for students and practitioners working to understand mental health.

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