• Madness Contested: power and practice

Madness Contested: power and practice

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ISBN 978 1 906254 43 8 (2013)
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Contributors include Peter Beresford, Mary Boyle, John Cromby, Jacqui Dillon, Dave Harper, Eleanor Longden, Midlands Psychology group, Joanna Moncrieff, David Pilgrim, Phil Thomas and Jan Wallcraft.

This book contests how both society and Mental Health Services conceptualise and respond to madness.  Despite sustained criticisms from academia, survivor groups and practitioners, the bio-genetic model of madness prevails and therefore shapes our very notions of what madness is, who the mad are and how to respond. This dominant yet narrow view, at the heart of the psychiatric system, is misinformed and misleading as well as fraught with tensions between the provision of care and the function of social control. How and why does this system continue? What can be done to change it?

Encompassing both academic analysis and practical application, Madness Contested brings together nurses, service-users, psychiatrists, psychologists, practitioners, and academics who promote alternative ways to understand and approach madness. Their contributions debate questions such as: What are the processes and forms of power involved in the current system? What interests are at play in maintaining dominant theories and practices? What are the alternative conceptualizations of madness? Can practice incorporate openness, modesty and a desire for equality? The perspectives are broad yet complimentary.

Of interest to all those interested in critical debates and alternative models of madness and mental health care, including: academics, practitioners, service users, survivors, carers, students.

Steven Coles, Sarah Keenan and  Bob Diamond

Part One: Questioning the Domination of Madness
Chapter 1: Persistence of Medicalisation: Is the presentation of alternatives part of the problem? Mary Boyle

Chapter 2: Paranoia: Contested and contextualised. John Cromby and Dave Harper

Chapter 3: Meaning, Madness and Marginalisation.  Steven Coles

Chapter 4: From Constructive Engagement to Coerced Recovery. Alastair Morgan and Anne Felton

Chapter 5: Mental Disorder and the Socioethical Challenge of Reasonableness. David Pilgrim and Floris Tomasini

Chapter 6: The Pharmaceutical Industry and Mental Disorder. Joan Busfield

Chapter 7: Clinical Psychology in Psychiatric Services: The magician’s assistant? Steven Coles, Bob Diamond and Sarah Keenan

Chapter 8: Manifesto for a Social Materialist Psychology of Distress. Midlands Psychology Group

Chapter 9: Soteria: Context, practice and philosophy. Philip Thomas

Part Two: Exploring the Liberation of Madness
Chapter 10: Recovery, Discovery and Revolution: The work of intervoice and the hearing voices movement. Eleanor Longden, Dirk Corstens and Jacqui Dillon

Chapter 11: Experiential Knowledge and the Reconception of Madness. Peter Beresford

Chapter 12: Service User Led Research on Psychosis: Marginalisation and the struggle for progression. Jan Wallcraft

Chapter 13: The Patient’s Dilemma: An analysis of user’s experiences of taking neuroleptic drugs. Joanna Moncrieff, David Cohen and John Mason

Chapter 14: Speaking Out Against the Apartheid Approach to our Minds. Rufus May, Rebecca Smith, Sophie Ashton, Ivan Fontaine, Chris Rushworth and Pete Bull

Chapter 15: Toxic Mental Environments and other Psychology in the Real World Groups. Guy Holmes

Chapter 16: Readdressing the Balance of power: Psychiatric medication in Nottingham. Nottingham Mind Medication Group

Chapter 17: Ordinary and Extraordinary People: Acting to make a difference. Leicester Living with Psychiatric Medication Group

Chapter 18: Peer Support. Becky Shaw

Chapter 19: A Critical Journey from Involvement to Emancipation: A narrative account. Theo Stickley

Chapter 20: Rebuilding the House of Mental Health services with Home Truths. Bob Diamond

Chapter 21: A Beacon of Hope: Alternative approaches to crisis. Fiona Venner and Michele Noad

The book is a remarkable piece of work. It covers just about every contentious concept in the present ‘mental illness’ debate, and brings to bear an abundance of new insights and up-to-date research findings. Phil Hickey, Ph.D, behaviourismandmentalhealth.com blog

This impressive volume not only comprehensively critiques the simplistic, pessimistic medical model that dominates the mental health world, but provides an array of exciting exceptions and alternatives. A must read for all interested in creating more effective, humane, evidence-based approaches to madness. Professor John Read, University of Auckland

I must confess that when I first started reading this book, given that I am very familiar with the critical literature (and there is plenty of it about), I found myself wondering what is there to say that hasn’t already been said, particularly as practitioners like myself have grown tired of the lack of impact critical thinking has had on mainstream mental health service delivery in this country. Well I was to be pleasantly surprised. Most chapters offered some new insights, practical ideas, or examples of already existing projects that offers new hope to those of us who are desperate to see radically reformed mental health services. It seems that combinations of critical thinkers working alongside active current and ex-service users can make a difference, not just on paper, but in the real world of mental health care. Sami Timimi, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and director of postgraduate education in the National Health Service in Lincolnshire

… a timely and inspiring collection of ideas and summaries of actions from people who share concerns, questions and discontent about dominant views and practices in the way we understand and respond to madness … The style of the book is consistent with the writers' values and philosophy in that it is based upon co-construction of ideas and practices from a diverse group of people and privileges accounts from people with relevant lived experience. Having said that, there is also a recognition that this, in fact, applies to us all There is really no 'them and us' in mental health but rather 'we all act in crazy ways and we all fail to hear each other properly' (May et al, p. 246). Gillian Bowden, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust; DCP Adult Service Area Lead; Clinical Psychology Forum, August 2013

It was impossible for me to read this new collection dispassionately and I will not be the only one. I found myself in turn punching the air and nervously chewing my fingernails. I loved it. If you are looking for a gentle introduction to the politics of psychiatry, with diplomatic suggestions for conservative change, then this book is not for you. Jonathan Gadsby, PhD candidate at Birmingham City University


Steven Coles

Steven Coles is a Clinical Psychologist in adult mental health services in Nottingham. He is questioning of how power is used and misused within mental health services and society. The stories recounted to him of fear, misery and madness has helped him to understand the social and material nature of these experiences; as well as how current cultural values and morality shape the responses of society and mental health services. Steven attempts to bring issues of power, the social – material world and ethics to the forefront of his role, including publications, debates, conferences, as well as sharing and reflecting on ideas with staff, people within services and those outside the organisation.

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Steven Coles

Sarah Keenan

Sarah Keenan is a clinical psychologist working in Nottingham city community mental health services with people who experience enduring mental health difficulties. Sarah’s previous publications and clinical interests focus on how social context influences distress, and how and why these influences and expressions of distress are often medicalised or minimised within mental health services. Sarah has also taken an active role in helping to bring people together who have experiences of mental health services to share knowledge and support each other through informal meetings, formal debates on key issues and the successful Psychosis in Context conference series.

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Sarah Keenan

Bob Diamond

Bob Diamond is a Clinical Psychologist and Mental Health Advisor currently working in Higher Education. He is interested in enduring mental health difficulties and drawing on the ideas and practice from critical and community psychology. When previously working in adult mental health services, he sought to establish a psychological presence whilst questioning the oppressive dominance of psychiatry. He advocates more personally meaningful supportive services that acknowledge and where possible address historical, material and social injustices. He is a member of the Midlands Psychology Group.

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Bob Diamond