Psychology, Mental Health and Distress
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Psychology, Mental Health and Distress

by John Cromby, David Harper, Paula Reavey

What does the word 'schizophrenia' mean to you? Perhaps your first thought is of someone with a medical condition that involves some kind of brain disease? But what if you knew that the person in question had been through a traumatic childhood? Would that change how you thought about their mental health? And what impact does this have on how we as a society

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What does the word 'schizophrenia' mean to you? Perhaps your first thought is of someone with a medical condition that involves some kind of brain disease? But what if you knew that the person in question had been through a traumatic childhood? Would that change how you thought about their mental health? And what impact does this have on how we as a society interact with people with mental distress?

Psychology, Mental Health and Distress is the first mainstream textbook that reconsiders the traditional emphasis on the biological and psychiatric models for what is commonly, but contentiously, known as 'abnormal psychology' or 'psychopathology'. It provides a fully rounded account of mental distress, including social and relationship causes, and challenges your preconceptions about what you think you know about mental health.

Key features:

  • Reflects new approaches to mental health and the kinds of psychological interventions (or 'treatments') for those experiencing distress, moving away from a limited diagnostic model
  • Offers a wealth of case stories to portray the reality of living with distress, building your empathy to encourage sensitive practice
  • Fully informed by current experimental, qualitative and theoretical psychological research including research into hearing voices
  • Written by a team of leading clinical and social psychologists with additional contributions by renowned figures including Richard Bentall, a bestselling Penguin author whose Madness Explained won the 2004 BPS Book Award
  • Includes a chapter authored by those with first-hand experience of mental health services, ensuring you understand the nuances of this emotionally charged, and often controversial, topic

The authors draw from a range of experience, examples and approaches to present this student-friendly and engaging text: core reading for anyone serious about understanding mental health issues.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

The review feedback was extremely positive. Reviewers praised the work as a much-needed departure form the traditional approach taken by other books in this area. The authors' excellent writing style was commented on, as was the critical perspective that's often missing from mainstream books. The inclusion of real world issues and the excellent use of case studies was applauded. Full reviews are available on request, but here are some key quotes:
Ron Roberts, Kingston:
"This looks to be the kind of text I have been hoping to see for many a long year. Comprehensive, critical, and so refreshing ... This is a book head and shoulders over anything else out there ... This book has everything I would want to see in a psychology text. It combines a humanistic and scientific approach, encourages critical thinking and should become the standard by which others are judged for many years. It may well have an effect on the way clinical psychology itself educates its practitioners ... In fact of the many reviews I have ever done over the years this is by far the best book I have seen."

Kate Bennett, Liverpool:
"The more I read this book, the more I enjoy it. I really appreciate its focus and its philosophy. It approaches the area with very much the approach I take in my own thinking. As far as I have seen there are no books which have the same layout, approach or philosophy ... I appreciate also hearing from different voices, and especially from service users."
Grant Jeffery, Edinburgh Napier:
"I think this is a terrific project and it seems to be very much on-track ... at its best, it presents arguments and discourses instead of 'facts' and as such is a very helpful educational tool ... Might be useful for a broader range of students - counselling students, health care students such as nurses etc."
Michelle Lafrance, St Thomas University (Canada):
"This is a much needed text ... Well done. The proposed text would represent the first that I know of to adopt a critical perspective on the topic of 'abnormal psychology.' Its time has come.

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Product Details

Palgrave Macmillan
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 10.90(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

John Cromby is Senior Lecturer at Loughborough University, UK. Previously, he conducted research and teaching at the Universities of Nottingham and Bradford, and he has experience of working in mental health, drug addiction, and learning disability settings. His work engages with the ways that bodies and social processes come together to produce experience, including experiences of distress. In recent years this has meant exploring topics including paranoia, clinical sadness, emotion and fear of crime, and experimenting with methods of jointly analysing textual data and embodied activity. He is a former editor of the journal Subjectivity.

David Harper is Reader in Clinical Psychology at the University of East London (UEL), UK. He trained as a clinical psychologist at the University of Liverpool and worked as a clinical psychologist in National Health Service mental health services in the north-west of the UK for nine years. For a number of years he combined work as a clinician with part-time study for a PhD at Manchester Metropolitan University. He has been at UEL since 2000 and his research interests are in applying critical psychology and social constructionist ideas to the understanding both of distress (particularly paranoia and unusual experiences and beliefs) and the work of mental health professions. He co-authored Deconstructing psychopathology (1995) and co-edited Qualitative research methods in mental health and psychotherapy: An introduction for students and practitioners (2012). He undertakes a small amount of clinical work as a Consultant Clinical Psychologist in Newham as part of the Systemic Consultation Service.

Paula Reavey is Professor of Psychology at London South Bank University, UK, where she delivers a module on the psychology of mental health and distress. She edited the volume Visual Psychologies: Using and Interpreting Images in Qualitative Research (2011) and also co-edited two volumes, New Feminist Stories of Child Sexual Abuse: Sexual Scripts and Dangerous Dialogues (with Sam Warner, 2003) and Memory Matters: Contexts for Understanding Sexual Abuse Recollections (with Janice Haaken, 2009). She is currently working on a co-authored book Vital Memory: Ethics, Affect and Agency (with Steven D. Brown, 2013) and has also published numerous articles on social remembering, child sexual abuse and sexuality, mental distress, and embodiment and space, using a variety of methodologies, including memory work, discourse analysis and visual methods.

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