• A Straight-Talking Introduction to the Causes of Mental Health Problems

A Straight-Talking Introduction to the Causes of Mental Health Problems

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ISBN 978 1 906254 19 3 (2010)
Cover Price: £9.99
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A pocket sized, good value series of succinct, thought provoking introductions ideal for students in all mental health disciplines, psychiatric service users, carers and indeed everyone with an interest in mental health. The authors are acknowledged leaders in their respective specialist fields with reputations for clear thinking, realistic, compassionate approaches and straight talking.

Rather than accept that solutions to mental health problems are owned by the medical professions, these books look at alternatives and provide information so that the users of psychiatric services, their families and carers can make more decisions about their own lives. Becoming more active in mental health issues requires knowledge — this series of books is a starting point for anyone who wants to know more about mental health problems. These books also introduce ways of working collaboratively with doctors, psychiatrists and counsellors.

The causes of mental health problems are often more complicated than we would like. This book presents straightforward summaries of the history, theories and research about the various possible causes. Because there is no single convenient answer to the questions explored in this book, competing viewpoints are presented. Readers are encouraged to focus on what fits best with their own experience and decide what might be most helpful.

Other books in this series

• The Power Threat Meaning Framework    Mary Boyle and Lucy Johnstone 

• Psychiatric Drugs Joanna Moncrieff

• Psychiatric Diagnosis Lucy Johnstone

• Children's Mental Health Problems Sami Timimi

• Being a User of Psychiatric Services Peter Beresford


1. Our beliefs and motives

2. A brief history of causal beliefs

3. The twentieth century and beyond: The illness approach

4. Can we understand causes through diagnosis and labels?

5. Public opinion: Depression is caused by depressing things happening

6. Is the public right? What the research says about the causes of mental health problems

7. Psychological theories: How events operate on us to create problems

    (A) Psychodynamic

    (B) Attachment Theory

    (C) Learning Theory

    (D) Social Learning Theory

    (E) Humanistic

    (F) Cognitive

8. An example: Formulating depression 

9. Keep thinking (and feeling) about the causes of mental health problems

'Read and Sanders provide a humorous, compassionate, and easy to read adventure through the most significant features of the mental health terrain, using their personal insights from years of experience. They weave a rich account of various treatment approaches, the underlying philosophies, and how these approaches relate to each other from the viewpoint of somebody who is not a clinician but may have a stake in improved mental health outcomes.'
Matthew H Loxton, The Journal of Critical Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy

‘An accessible look at complex issues which empowers the reader to start thinking for themselves. A refreshing antidote to the simplistic and pessimistic biomedical model.’ Jacqui Dillon, Chair, Hearing Voices Network

‘This brilliantly engaging, understandable and thoughtful book describes current opinion about the causes of mental health problems and will equip service users, carers and professionals alike with empowering knowledge.' Tony Morrison, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester

'Very clear and understandable, helped me enormously.' Amazon Reviewer

John Read

Dr John Read worked in the UK and USA for 20 years as a Clinical Psychologist and manager of mental health services. He joined the Psychology Department of the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 1994. In May 2013 he moved back to the UK taking up a postition at the Department of Psychological Sciences, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool. He is co-editor (with Loren Mosher and Richard Bentall) of Models of Madness: Psychological, social and biological approaches to schizophrenia (Routledge, 2004) and founding editor of the research journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches.

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John Read

Pete Sanders

Pete Sanders spent over 30 years practising as a counsellor, educator and clinical supervisor. He has written, co-written and edited numerous books, chapters and papers on many aspects of counselling, psychotherapy and mental health. He continues to have active interest in developing person-centred theory, the politics of counselling and psychotherapy, and the demedicalisation of distress. He has given keynote addresses at several UK and European conferences and also offers workshops in a few areas that continue to interest him. He is a pre-therapy/contact work trainer and trustee of the Soteria Network UK.  Follow Pete Sanders at http://twitter.com/@PeteSanders51

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Pete Sanders