Finding Hope in the Lived Experience of Psychosis: Reflections on Trauma, Use of Power and Re-visioning Psychiatry

Author(s) : Patte Randal, Author(s) : Josephine Stanton

Finding Hope in the Lived Experience of Psychosis: Reflections on Trauma, Use of Power and Re-visioning Psychiatry

Book Details

  • Publisher : Routledge
  • Published : July 2022
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 237
  • Category :
    Clinical Psychology
  • Catalogue No : 96589
  • ISBN 13 : 9780367721909
  • ISBN 10 : 9780367721

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This book offers first-person accounts of the experience of psychosis from the inside and the outside, through the eyes of two doctors, one of whom has experienced psychosis and both of whom have worked for decades in the field of psychiatry.

Underpinned by rigorous academic analysis using an evocative duo-ethnographic approach, the book explores the cultural and subcultural influences from childhood onwards – both traumatic and resilience-building – that have shaped their lives. Both authors reflect on strategies they learned early in life for dealing with challenges, each managing to function at a high level while avoiding awareness of their vulnerability. They reflect on the potential dangers of using their expertise and position of power in psychiatry simply to diagnose mental illness and prescribe medication. The differences and similarities in the authors’ stories provide a productive tension highlighting the complexities of this paradigm shift that is happening in psychiatry.

Written in the form of two interacting memoirs, this book is of great interest to researchers, clinicians, and practicing psychologists, as well as a general audience with interest in psychosis.

Reviews and Endorsements

A big takeaway from this book is the inequitable clash of world views when a person with lived experience of mental distress enters the sanctum of mainstream psychiatry. As a psychiatric registrar Patte Randal used her lived experience to foster connection, meaning and hope while many of her colleagues were steeped in psychiatric pessimism, biological reductionism, risk management and the use of force. Patte paid a heavy price but persisted for decades and triumphed with recovery affirming approaches that, unlike much of mainstream psychiatry, honour the etymology of her profession as ‘healers of the soul’. - Mary O’Hagan: Former Mental Health Commissioner; Author Madness Made Me

This book is remarkable for its scope, its honesty and directness. Dr. Randal’s life covers so many different perspectives on psychosis and extreme experiences. She has built on Laing’s recognition of finding meaning and the value of human contact for people with psychosis. Through her personal adventures and academic research she has inspired others, including her co-author and interviewer Dr. Stanton, and also built a teaching resource in this complex field. Dr.Stanton describes her own journey and helps link us to other positive developments in psychiatric therapy. If life is a "gigantic cosmic jig-saw puzzle" then this inspiring book may help you find solutions. - Nick Argyle (MRCPsych; FRANZCP) Psychiatrist in Australasia working with refugees: Formerly Clinical Director Auckland District Health Board.

"Finding Hope in the Lived Experience of Psychosis provides readers with a unique perspective on paths to recovery. The authors bring out the knowledge and insight that come both from personal experience with psychosis and from professional careers as doctors working in psychiatry. Their exploration of psychosis and extreme states makes for an evocative read." - Robert Whitaker author of Anatomy of an Epidemic

'The beautiful story-telling stands out in this honest, rich and moving dual account of psychosis viewed from the inside and the outside. Written by two women doctors, trained in psychiatry, this unique evocative book provides a window into a deeply personal experience, and enriches the literature in this complex field. -Patrick McGorry Executive Director Orygen Youth Health Research Centre and Professor of Youth Mental Health at University of Melbourne.

'This moving and thought-provoking book is built around the autobiographical accounts of two women doctors who trained as psychiatrists - Patte Randal and Josephine Stanton - and describes their journeys through the profession and as human beings navigating the vicissitudes, challenges, and traumas of life. Crucially, one of the women, Patte, has experienced psychosis herself and through that experience has come to see it as a spiritual emergency, a view that contrasts starkly with the medical reductionist approach of many of her colleagues in mainstream psychiatry. This perspective has enabled her to develop a more human and holistic way of approaching people who are experiencing a psychotic crisis. Readers will appreciate this book’s openness and honesty. It testifies to the importance of being with and learning from people who have lived experience of mental illness and offers an uplifting, positive vision of the way that psychiatry can be practiced in the future.’ - Richard P Bentall, Professor of Psychology; Author of Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature and Doctoring the Mind: Why Psychiatric Treatments Fail


 

 

 

 

 

About the Author(s)

Patte Randal, LRPC, MRCS, DPhil, has personal experience of recovery from psychosis. Her published research includes evaluation of a therapeutic intervention she developed for people with treatment refractory psychosis, and qualitative exploration of doctors’ experience of mental health care. Retired from 30 years of clinical practice, she now promotes the implementation of ‘The Gift Box’, a collaborative resilience-building tool based on her ‘Re-covery’ model.

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Josephine Stanton, MA, MBChB, FRANZCP, is a psychiatrist working with adolescents, children, mothers and babies and their families. Her research has included qualitative studies of mothers who have killed their children, experiences of doctors who have become patients of psychiatrists, and referrers and young people’s experience of engaging with an acute inpatient unit.

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