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Living Outside Mental Illness: Qualitative Studies of Recovery in Schizophrenia

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Overview

Schizophrenia is widely considered the most severe and disabling of the mental illnesses. Yet recent research has demonstrated that many people afflicted with the disorder are able to recover to a significant degree. Living Outside Mental Illness demonstrates the importance of listening to what people diagnosed with schizophrenia themselves have to say about their struggle, and shows the dramatic effect this approach can have on clinical practice and social policy. It presents an in depth investigation, based on a phenomenological perspective, of experiences of illness and recovery as illuminated by compelling first person descriptions. The author has crafted a work that is reader friendly and accessible, and the volume forcefully makes the case for the utility of qualitative methods in improving our understanding of the reasons for the success or failure of mental health services. The research has important clinical and policy implications, and will be of key interest to those in psychology and the helping professions as well as to people in recovery and their families.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Qualitative research in the social sciences involves the use of methodologies that seek a more holistic view of its subjects, using participant observation, textual interpretation, or, in this case, open-ended interviews. Many mental health experts would deny that schizophrenics could usefully participate in such interviews, because their illness leads to the inability (and lack of desire) to interact with others. However, Davidson (psychiatry, Yale) and his colleagues have conducted a number of interviews with long-term residents of state mental hospitals during their transition to community living. It was found that the interviewees wanted to build friendships and were generally well aware of their illness and its social consequences-both contrary to perceived psychiatric wisdom. While the second half of the book is devoted to these findings, the first half is a methodological discourse on the underpinnings of narrative technique, based on the work of philosopher Edmund Husserl. Philosophers and students of research methodology will be interested in this part of the book, while those who are directly involved with mental health patients are the natural audience for the second half. For academic subject collections.-Mary Ann Hughes, Neill P.L., Pullman, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher
“I see this book as an important accomplishment. It contains numerous helpful suggestions about how to go about eliciting narratives as a means of encouraging patients along their recovery journey.”
-Psychiatric Services

,

“This volume makes the case for the utility of qualitative methods in improving our understanding of the reasons for the success or failure of mental health services.”
-Family Therapy

,

“Davidson’s book leaves one with an image of the inside of schizophrenia as essentially mysterious but the possibilities of recovery as hopeful if uncertain.”
-Journal of Mental Health

,

“Davidson takes an interesting approach to the disorder and makes a compelling case for the use of person centered narratives to find out what is going on with recovery in persons with schizophrenia. Recommended.”

-Choice,

“The book provides a window into the experiences of a person with schizophrenia . . . a rich narrative.”
-The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814719435
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Series: Qualitative Studies in Psychology
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 227
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.88 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Larry Davidson is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Program on Poverty, Disability, and Urban Health of the Yale University Institution for Social and Policy Studies. He also serves as Senior Clinical Officer and Mental Health Policy Director for the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Is There an Outside to Mental Illness? 31
2 Eliciting Narratives 61
3 Understanding Narratives 93
4 Living Inside Schizophrenia 126
5 Living Outside Schizophrenia 159
Conclusion 199
Epilogue 210
Works Cited 213
Index 225
About the Author 228
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