What is Normal?: Psychotherapists Explore the Question

Editor : Roz Carroll, Editor : Jane Ryan

What is Normal?: Psychotherapists Explore the Question

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : November 2020
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 192
  • Category :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 95210
  • ISBN 13 : 9781913494209
  • ISBN 10 : 1913494209

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Many people strive to be normal, and deviation from accepted norms can feel likefailure. But why do we want to be normal? And what does that mean? Ordinary? Sane? Similar? When probed, the notion of normality starts to look fragile. It is not clear who decides what being normal means or who is entitled to say. Nonetheless, concerns about conforming and being accepted are deeply pervasive.

With an extraordinary diversity of perspectives, the authors featured in this collection – all psychotherapists – use biographical accounts, political analyses and clinical vignettes to challenge the concept of normality. Through these stories and discussions, it emerges that our very uniqueness, oddness and differences as individuals are what make us fully human.

At a time of rapid social change, the freedom to be oneself – whatever form that takes – is at the core of contemporary debate, and this volume makes a vital contribution to that project.

Reviews and Endorsements

This compilation of insightful, thoughtful, and highly original explorations gently subverts the concepts of normal as conventional and of what we often call ‘disease’ as abnormal. Written with sensitivity and compassion, it is a challenging and much needed contribution to the psychotherapeutic literature.
Gabor Maté, M.D., author of When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress

What is Normal? is a really brilliant resource for therapists – or anyone – who has serious doubts about the set of ideas and ideals that passes itself off as ‘normality’. This book manages to be simultaneously comforting and challenging, presenting a stunning array of provocations to anyone who thinks there’s anything normal about normality.
Anouchka Grose, psychoanalyst and author of A Guide to Eco-Anxiety and Are You Considering Therapy?

Roz Carroll and Jane Ryan have done an absolutely excellent job at bringing together some of the world’s most creative and intelligent psychotherapists to teach us about the complex concept of ‘normality’. This should be core reading for anyone interested in the idea that all people are unique individuals who cannot be categorised by conventions.
Professor Estela Welldon, author of Mother, Madonna, Whore

Solid and scholarly … with its life-affirming personal testimonies it could also help equip us with what Gramsci called ‘optimism of will’.
Therapy Today

Table of Contents

About the Authors

1. The new normal
Tania Glyde

2. Therapy and hope: are they really normal?
Andrew Samuels

3. No escape from ‘normal’
Doris Brothers

4. The normal couple therapist
Jane Haberlin

5. Your normal, my normal. Disruptions, accommodations and respect between therapist and patient
Susie Orbach

6. Black paranormal: a playlist
Foluke Taylor

7. Normal sex
Meg-John Barker

8. Minding the gap: a couple psychotherapist’s perspective
Christopher Clulow

9. Born to love, driven to destroy
Felicity de Zulueta

10. The myth of normality
Chris Oakley

11. The shifting landscape of sexual normality
Dany Nobus

12. Norms and normality: a socio-psychoanalytic approach
Stephen Seligman

13. Why would I want to be normal?
Lennox K. Thomas

14. The problem of words. It’s why we are all mad!
Phil Mollon

15. Negotiating the normal
Ann Shearer

16. Flourishing: the ‘normal’ therapist versus the ‘healthy’ therapist
Brett Kahr

17. Cultural schizophrenia and internalised racism are not normal
Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga

18. In the therapy room: are all patients normal?
Valerie Sinason

19. When simply being human is abnormal
Stephen Setterberg

20. Future flat-packed or future fluid? Why normal is the problem
Roz Carroll


About the Editor(s)

Roz Carroll is a relational body psychotherapist and supervisor. She teaches on the MA in Integrative Psychotherapy at The Minster Centre and has been a regular speaker for Confer for twenty years. She is committed to interdisciplinary dialogue. She is the author of numerous articles and chapters on subjects from working with the body in psychotherapy, to intersubjectivity, collective trauma, culture, and the mediating value of creative process.

Jane Ryan trained as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist in the early 1990s. She is the founder and director of Confer, an independent organisation that provides cutting-edge continuing professional development for psychotherapists and medical doctors. It also aims to provide a non-partisan space for the exchange of views between approaches.

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