- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (4 Oct. 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0141047356
- ISBN-13: 978-0141047355
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
What is Madness? Paperback – 4 Oct 2012
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More About the Author
Engrossing and enlightening . . . Leader is as much a philosopher as a psychoanalyst (Metro)
Fascinating, humane and timely . . . Leader forces us to rethink our assumptions about 'mental health' with a formidable grasp of psychiatric history and a storyteller's flair for detail (Lisa Appignanesi New Statesman)
Witty, probing . . . A myth-busting diagnosis of the method in our madness (Independent)
[Says] something that very much needs to be said (Irish Times)
About the Author
Darian Leader is a British psychoanalyst and the author of Introducing Lacan, Why do Women Write More Letters Than They Post?, Promises Lovers Make When It Gets Late, Freud's Footnotes, Stealing the Mona Lisa, Why do People Get Ill, co-written with David Corfield, The New Black, What Is Madness, and Strictly Bipolar. He practises psychoanalysis in London, and he is a member of the College of Psychoanalysts and a founding member of the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research. His new book, Hands, will be published by Hamish Hamilton in July 2016.
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Top Customer Reviews
Darian Leader guides his readers through his theories, the practice of which has clearly helped a number of his clients. The central theory posited - that psychosis is a combination of nature and nurture and can lay dormant for years or for a lifetime - sounds reasonable and is illustrated by several compelling examples. Leader's treatment of his clients relies on using their own attempts to find meaning, whether by a sustained delusion, use of language etc. which over time allows them to adjust and cope with their lives. His professional and human interest in those he helps is obvious, and he insists that treatment should not simply be aimed at stopping behaviour which might, rather than a symptom, be an attempt to relieve suffering.
He explains some of Freud's work in terms simple enough for the lay reader to grasp, but this lay reader, at least, remained slightly sceptical that Freud or even Lacan's size really does fit all. While the chapters on causes of psychosis and triggers of psychotic episodes seem thorough, I was left feeling that any number of not-unusual situations would produce madness, both the state of being and of going mad, in many children. This is not to say that I agree with the reviewer who felt that problems would be solved by better housing, more love etc. Psychosis is clearly quite distinct from melancholia or paranoia, or even neurosis.Read more ›
He often cites psychiatrists, practitioners and analysts of the 30s,40s and 50s who were working before the invention of strong medication and whose wisdom contemporary psychiatry seems to have lost.
The four rather than five stars are because I found the early chapters giving a psychoanalytic account of the development of psychosis slightly labored and heavy going but plan to revisit them in the light of the later ones.
I found the chapter on working with patients and clients illuminating and very applicable to poetry therapy, my own profession, where we explore world views but don't impose them. I had this book from the local library but have now ordered my own copy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A humane account of what psychosis is which will prove readable to professional or general reader alike. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Lark
Actually it's not a bad introduction to Lacanian psychoanalysis in general as well as well covering the subject of what colloquially is called madness in particular. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Compared to other books on madness, I just find this is waaay to heavy on the psychoanalytic approach. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Kristian Pilgaard
Tough going. I get the gist but it would be nice to have some clarifying paragraphs to summarise. I know it is generally a discussion rather than text book but sometimes the jargon... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Sean Surrey
Even though there is no reference to psychoanalysis anywhere on the book's cover, Leader's viewpoint is completely psychoanalytical and as a result will be very unsatisfying for... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Alan R. Hartley