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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Nicholas Greco IV, MS, BCETS, CATSM (Columbia College of Missouri)
Description: This is a cutting edge book that tackles the ever-present, ever-powerful stigma which permeates mental illness. The book delves into a myriad of topics such as the doctor/patient relationship, the legal system, family and friend networks, society at large, stigma of oneself, and much, much more.
Purpose: The purpose is to expose the stigma of mental illness for what it truly is — prejudice against a group of individuals who are different than the "norm." The authors seek to educate readers and promote the eradication of the barriers stigma produces. The authors take a highly empirical approach in discussing the stigma of mental illness, the impact on the mentally ill, theoretical models of stigma, and strategies for stigma change. The editor is well known by reputation, is a prolific writer and a dedicated clinician and researcher.
Audience: The audience is quite diverse and includes, but is not limited to, clinical psychologists, rehabilitation psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, and all others interested in changing the hurtful stigma. Ideal for graduate school classes as well as opening up the minds of those enrolled in undergraduate courses such as psychopathology/abnormal psychology and social psychology. The editor and authors are from various well-known and well-respected institutions such as the University of Chicago, UIC, Loyola, and Columbia College. A number of them make up the Chicago Consortium for Stigma Research.
Features: The book is comprehensive in nature and transcends the commonplace complaints about stigma and actually provides empirical support and methods for change. There are powerful messages throughout the book, but none more powerful than how the authors empower the reader to think beyond classroom learning, clinical training, clinical practice. The most riveting chapter is the first-person accounts of stigma which really gets not only at the heart of the matter but presents a totally different point of view. Challenging the media conception of mental illness and encouraging more positive views of mental illness are highlighted in Chapter 13. The book examines the legal side in Chapter 9 with stigma and the police. This is a timely and essential chapter as so many of the mentally ill interact with those who are undertrained, unaware, and lack the compassion so vital in maintaining one's own positive view of self.
Assessment: This book is truly a gem and a beacon of light for those working to eliminate the stigma of mental illness. It is truly worthy of being considered one of the finest books in the field and equally deserving of a place on every clinician's shelf.