Psychosis in the Family: The Journey of a Transpersonal Psychotherapist and Mother

Author(s) : Janet C. Love

Part of The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy series - more in this series

Psychosis in the Family: The Journey of a Transpersonal Psychotherapist and Mother

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This is a book written not just by a professional transpersonal psychotherapist but by someone who has walked the heart-rending path and experienced the psychological trauma of loving someone in psychosis; psychosis which still remains the greatest taboo in society today, together with its implicit diagnosis of a lifelong sentence of medication and no cure. It is in the main a personal and moving narrative of a mother looking to help her son avoid such a lifelong sentence of medication whilst trying to research holistic resources and alternative approaches for treatment at the same time as negotiating the vagaries of the current mental health system. It is often a tale of despair and frustration, yet also gives a compassionate voice. Transpersonal and transgenerational psychotherapeutic insights back up the personal narrative. It includes an accessible inquiry into how unconscious forces influence our mind, our bodies and the entire family system. Its hypothesis is that if we cannot understand our own unconscious responses how can we understand those of our loved ones in psychotic episodes? This is a highly readable, provocative weave of story and theory, one of the great untold stories of our time.

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This groundbreaking book is the first guide for families and mental health professionals to include both a personal and professional psychotherapeutic narrative which acknowledges the deep psychological trauma of loving someone in psychosis. The story presents psychosis as being unlike other illnesses. The main presenting symptoms of psychotic behaviour are not the paranoid delusions, however bizarre they might be. The most dangerous belief of all is that the person does not have the insight to realise they are ill and present themselves as healthy. The family or primary carers who carry the awareness of the illness for them are therefore of crucial relevance in any home treatment plan - a fact not yet universally acknowledged.
This book does not just focus on practical information but offers psycho-spiritual therapeutic insights into the complex emotional responses of loving someone in an altered state of consciousness. It also provides, in accessible terms, an investigation into how the unconscious forces of the mind affect us all, as a way of understanding the illness, our loved ones and ourselves. It also includes current research into holistic treatments for mental health - an area often completely overlooked in psychiatry.
It is a compelling and provocative weave of story and theory. It has the direct aim of lifting the curtain of shame surrounding the greatest taboo in society, psychosis, through reminding us all that psychosis is simply one aspect of being human.

"I recommend this book as a moving account of a woman's struggle to get help for a son suffering from psychosis. It vividly portrays the problems faced as families try to cope with mental illness, against a background of confusion and sometimes indifference amongst mental health professionals."
Professor Richard Bentall, author of Madness Explained

'Janet Love's book Psychosis in the Family stands with such extraordinary works as Milner's The Hands of the Living God, and Dorman's Dante's Cure in evoking the experience of psychosis. But this time it is seen from within the family of the sufferer, particularly from the mother's point of view, herself a psychotherapist, yet as a mother exposed as totally as anyone could be to the disintegrating impact of psychosis, yet also paradoxically healing and regenerative. This amazingly vivid account grips the attention from start to finish, evoking poignantly what so many have experienced: the sheer excruciating, unfathomable, ungraspability of the experience and nature of psychosis on any single model. The devastation wrought by the inadequacies and bureaucratic closedness of our mental care systems is painfully articulated, yet it is not anti-psychiatric, and one of the heroes is a psychiatrist. Familial, and intergenerational, fault lines are agonisingly evoked, yet without going down the 'schizophrenogenic family' model. This is a book full of pain, full of madness, yet full of sanity. Psychotherapy is affirmed, but does not get off scot-free either! It is both a clarion call about the failures of our services, yet an awesome message of hope and overcoming!'
- Heward Wilkinson, UKCP Fellow, Chair of UKCP Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy Section, Integrative Psychotherapist, Psychiatric Nurse, and author of The Muse as Therapist: a New Poetic Paradigm for Psychotherapy

The 21st century has seen a significant shift amongst us to take more responsibility for our illnesses through being able to access unlimited information on diagnoses and treatments through the Internet. To date, severe mental illness has been a particularly closed book, with only psychiatrists and mental health professionals professing to know its secrets and mysteries. In particular, psychosis has been a subject which for centuries has lain behind the locked doors of the experts just as the severely mentally ill have been hidden away from the public eye in locked wards.

'Psychosis in the Family is a courageous book which tells us about the reality of living with psychosis.'
- Tony O'Brien, Metapsychology Online Review

Chapter One: Drawing the Line
Chapter Two: Living in the Shadows
Chapter Three: Disorder, Disorder
Chapter Four: Finding Kindred Spirits
Chapter Five: Surrendering
Chapter Six: The Wounded Storyteller
Chapter Seven: The Power of the Multigenerational Psyche
Chapter Eight: War and Peace

About the Author(s)

Janet Love is a Transpersonal Psychotherapist, a member of the UKCP and MBACP, Autogenic Therapist, dip AT, Life Coach, AMAC and Systemic Constellation Therapist. For many years a self-employed interior designer, Janet changed career in mid-life and came to London to train as a Transpersonal Psychotherapist at the Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education in West London and is now an experienced Transpersonal Psychotherapist. After her training in the 'talking cure' with a spiritual bias, she wanted to address some of the stress she was still experiencing in her life. It seemed a natural progression to train in Autogenic Therapy. She then turned to the work of Bert Hellinger and Trans-Generational Healing. She has trained in Systemic Constellations work with Dr Albrecht Mahr, Professor Franz Ruppert, and Vivian Broughton, and studied with Bert Hellinger.

Customer Reviews

Our customers have given this title an average rating of 5 out of 5 from 3 review(s), add your own review for this title.

Gillian Kelly on 22/12/2009 16:07:31

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (5 out of 5)

It seems to me that this book has been written as a profound act of service to all families struggling with psychosis. It conveys with great - sometimes appalling- clarity the loneliness of families, especially parents and especially, as in the author's case,single parents trying to find healing for the one they love.

I found much of value here, as a psychotherapist myself and a Family Constellations practitioner but most of all,I was affected as a human being. I was awed by Janet Love's love for her son and by her tenacity in the face of so much that was at the very least unhelpful and at worst downright obstructive. I hope that this may strengthen and inspire others and that some of the effective solutions she found will point the way for them.

Suzanne Evans on 21/12/2009 16:54:20

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (5 out of 5)

As a former Mental health worker, I wish I had had access to Janet Love's heartfelt account of her experiences a number of years ago. She held my attention from start to finish. I highly reccommend this book to mental health workers of all disciplines as well as sufferers of psychotic disorders and their families. All stand to benefit from reading about what Janet Love and her son have been through. Please - don't take my word for it - just read it.

Betty K Rudd on 21/09/2009 09:50:15

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (5 out of 5)

A page turner. Made me smile and made me choke with tears. I found it hard putting the book down and couldn't wait to get back to it!

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