Description - Worlds of Psychotic People by Els van Dongen
'Forty five years ago, we youngsters played an exciting if questionable game. In a large house on the corner of our street a crazy woman lived alone We left our marbles and our balls on the pavement and hid behind trees in the gardens, listening to her with pounding hearts. Six years ago, the psychotic patients of Saint Anthony's, a psychiatric hospital in the Netherlands, played an exciting game with me.' Fascination with and curiosity about the world of madness is not only a child's pastime: it seems to be without limits. Throughout the ages anthropologists, philosophers, historians, psychiatrists and psychotics themselves have discussed and described the symptoms of madness. But how seriously should we take madness? Is there any truth in the old idea that psychotic people have access to a world of meaning which remains locked to others? Worlds of Psychotic People brings a fresh twenty-first century voice to the lives of those with serious psychological disorders, focusing on the manner in which psychiatric patients experience their subjective worlds.
Based on ethnographic research gathered at the psychiatric hospital of Saint Anthony's in the Netherlands over a period of five years, it seeks to describe from the perspective of the mental patient some of the fears and hopes that mark an individual's encounter with the fixed reality-structures of a clinical mental ward. Balancing empirical detail gleaned from patient interviews and observation with the author's theoretical insights into clinical psychiatric practice, Worlds of Psychotic People considers such dilemmas as: how do psychotics struggle to express subjectivity in an atmosphere designed to restrain demonstrative emotion? How do they maintain personal integrity within a completely ordered regime? How do the distinctive symptoms displayed by many psychotic and schizophrenic patients - including disordered speech, the experiencing of words as physical sensations, and fear of touch - interact with the demands of standard therapeutic procedure?
Introducing the concept of the psychotic patient as a wanderer through culture, creating a 'bricolage' reality from materials at hand, Els van Dongen aims to open up the often secretive exchanges that take place between therapists and patients, and to seek new meanings and interpretations from these for use within the therapeutic endeavour.
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(235mm x 159mm x 25mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
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