Mental Health Today (magasine) feb 2009 feature by Adam James
In 1993 ‘Accepting Voices’, by Professor Marius Romme and Sandra Escher, was published. The book argued that the voices (also known as aural hallucinations) experienced by people diagnosed with psychosis should be accepted as real. Don’t pathologise and seek to rid people of voices, the authors argued. Better to help people cope with them. Some professionals were truly alarmed by this argument. In the British Medical Journal, Raymond Cochrane, a professor of psychology, slammed the book’s message as ‘potentially dangerous’, arguing that this new approach colluded with delusions.
Coming back to our senses
How do we come back to our senses? On Friday I listened to a good talk - organised by Sharing Voices - by Hakim Archuletta who was visiting from America. His talk was relevant to helping people who are emotionally traumatised but also related to how we all live our lives these days often dis-connected from our environment (which he in turn described as a kind of ‘trauma’). I reccomend visiting his web-site which has some good exercises that are very similar to mindfulness in that they suggest practical ways of tuning back in with our bodily senses. Hakim Archuletta was talking about the need to not ‘live outside ourselves’ in our dreams and fantasies but come back to experiencing things more through our bodily senses. He suggested that the body holds our unconscious thoughts and feelings. So past traumas are unconsciously held in our bodies.
The Psychologist Volume 20 - Part 5 - (May 2007)
Diagnosis special issue - Part 5
Rufus May on Rethinking 'sanity' outside the diagnostic frame
'We cannot abandon the injured or the maimed, thinking to ensure our own safety and sanity. We must reclaim them, as they are part of ourselves.'
Brian Keenan (1993, p.288)
The other articles in this special issue have outlined some of the conceptual problems with psychiatric diagnosis. In this article, I’d like to describe some of the problems caused for mental health service users by diagnosis and clinical language before moving on to describe how it is possible to work clinically with people experiencing severe emotional distress without using psychiatric diagnosis. The work I describe best fits with a broader community psychology model, which places the ethics and politics of experiences of service users at the heart of its approach.
As a teenager with schizophrenia he saw the mental health system brutalise patients. He became a doctor to change things from within. Now he is pushing a bed from London to Brighton. Julia Stuart hears why.
At the age of 18, Rufus May was diagnosed as an incurable schizophrenic and locked up in a psychiatric hospital. Now, he is a respected psychologist and a passionate campaigner on mental health issues. He is also the guest editor of this special issue. Here, he tells his extraordinary tale.