— T. M. Luhrmann, author of Of Two Minds: An Anthropologist looks at American Psychiatry
Bethel House, located in a small fishing village in northern Japan, was founded in 1984 as an intentional community for people with schizophrenia and other psychiatric disorders. Using a unique, community approach to psychosocial recovery, Bethel House focuses as much on social integration as on therapeutic work. As a centerpiece of this approach, Bethel House started its own businesses in order to create employment and socialization opportunities for its residents and to change public attitudes toward the mentally ill, but also quite unintentionally provided a significant boost to the distressed local economy. Through its work programs, communal living, and close relationship between hospital and town, Bethel has been remarkably successful in carefully reintegrating its members into Japanese society. It has become known as a model alternative to long-term institutionalization.
In A Disability of the Soul, Karen Nakamura explores how the members of this unique community struggle with their lives, their illnesses, and the meaning of community. Told through engaging historical narrative, insightful ethnographic vignettes, and compelling life stories, her account of Bethel House depicts its achievements and setbacks, its promises and limitations. A Disability of the Soul is a sensitive and multidimensional portrait of what it means to live with mental illness in contemporary Japan.
|Publisher:||Cornell University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Table of ContentsChapter 1. ArrivalsLife Story 1. Memory and Catharsis: Kiyoshi's StoryChapter 2. Psychiatry in JapanLife Story 2. Coming of Age in Japan: Rika's StoryChapter 3. Christianity in Japan and the Establishment of Hokkaido
Chapter 4. The Founding of BethelLife Story 3. UFOs and Other Mass Delusions: Kohei's StoryChapter 5. The Doctor and the HospitalLife Story 4. 37 Years of Institutionalization: Why Did Yuzuru Never Want to Leave the Hospital?Chapter 6. Bethel TherapiesLife Story 5. Peer Support and a Meaningful Life: Gen's StoryChapter 7. DeparturesChapter 8. Beyond Bethel: A PostscriptNotes
What People are Saying About This
A Disability of the Soul is an extraordinary description of the lived experience of schizophrenics in the context of an impressive northern Japanese community program. Here we have patient stories interleaved with the history of psychiatric care for psychosis in Japan, which in turn is the context for description and analysis of a truly remarkable intentional community movement, including careful examination of its founders, sustainers, and outcomes. The book is beautifully written with great sensitivity to the tragic and ironic consequences of schizophrenia. Recovery programs such as this one are at the very cutting edge of global mental health and this is one of the first descriptions from Asia.
This is a terrific book—moving, clear, and compassionate. It not only illustrates the way psychiatric illness is shaped by culture, but also suggests that social environments can be used to improve the course and outcome of the illness. Well worth reading.