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Dr. Guy Holmes
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Mental Health Ethics
Mental Health Ethics
by Phil Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £26.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars essential reading for any mental health worker, 11 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Mental Health Ethics (Paperback)
Workers in the mental health system, in case discussion meetings, ward rounds or in their own supervision, are frequently discussing the key question in ethics - what should I do? Yet all of us have had virtually no training in ethics. Reading Phil Barker's book might help fill that gap. The opening chapter is the best short review of the history of moral philosophy that I have read. The rest of the book looks at key ethical issues - rearding treatments e.g. ect and medication; professions e.g. nursing and OT; relationships between therapists and clients; and law e.g. the mental health act and advance directives. Whilst some chapters meander around a bit, all are packed with interesting facts about mental health, many of which might startle people who see the system as largely benign. All readers will be helped to think through a key question in mental health work - 'What right do we have to even think about changing the way people are?' Highly recommended and a thoroughly enjoyable read.


A Straight Talking Introduction to Being a Mental Health Service User (Straight Talking Introductions)
A Straight Talking Introduction to Being a Mental Health Service User (Straight Talking Introductions)
by Peter Beresford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.50

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great concise account - does what it says on the cover, 18 Nov. 2010
Whether you be a mental health service user/survivor or a worker in the field this book will provide you with a comprehensive yet quickly digestible account of the main issues relating to what is sometimes referred to as the 'service user movement'. It draws upon the work of well-known people in this field (e.g. Peter Campbell and Judi Chamberlin) as well as citing people who have not had their thoughts published before but thanks to the great body of research conducted by the author get a chance to communicate their wise reflections on what it is like to be a service user in the UK. Not only does the book describe service user/survivor critiques of existing services, it sets out ways in which service user-led services can provide the kinds of help that people actually want. It may surprise some people saturated in the rhetoric of evidence-based practice and NICE Guidelines (which prejudicially rate service user testimonies as the least powerful kind of evidence) to discover that alternatives that encompass the vast myriad of ways people can be helped, provided by people whose expertise relates to their experiences not academic qualifications, and that focus on social aswell as individual change, are a lot less mad than much of what goes on in mental health services today.


An Uneasy Dwelling
An Uneasy Dwelling
by Paul Gordon
Edition: Paperback

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended, 20 Oct. 2010
This review is from: An Uneasy Dwelling (Paperback)
I didn't expect to find An Uneasy Dwelling, an historical account of the Philadelphia Association's community houses, quite so gripping. Paul Gordon writes eloquently yet with an honesty that at times shocked me - our current culture is so dominated by people whose main aim is to sell their wares that writing like this is astonishingly rare. The book corrects some of the myths about Kingsley Hall - made famous by R.D. Laing and residents such as Mary Barnes - and describes in detail some of the subsequent PA community households which had support from less well-known house therapists such as Hugh Crawford, Robin Cooper and Paul Gordon himself. The philosophies behind the houses are beautifully explained and illustrated with moving descriptions of the experiences of house residents and therapists alike. For example, the importance of allowing people, and them having time, to `find their own way' - even going through psychotic breakdowns (`freak outs') without being drugged and with support exclusively from others in the shared house. The practicalities, such as how people join an established household, how they live together, the ways people spend their day, the regular house meetings between residents and house therapists, the management of crises, the wrangles with local authorities and neighbours, and the funding of the houses are described in a straight forward but often very moving way. In thinking about the complexities of communal living, what is a home, and how people find different ways of being in the world, the experience and wisdom of many PA members is drawn upon, which makes this an important book given that, post Laing, there has been a paucity of records and publications detailing the thoughts and practices of this organisation. For example, Leon Redler's emphasis on the need to walk the line between `indifferent neglect and ignorant, intrusive interference' when it comes to relating to others; Robin Cooper's elucidation of the concept of `dwelling'; and Joe Friedman's parallels between the PA houses and Homer's Odyssey in terms of `what makes community possible, what does coming home mean, and what is hospitality?' Clearly many residents benefited from being in the houses, but the fact that some of these hurt people hurt themselves or others (physically and emotionally) is not shied away from. No-one could read the book and conclude that living together, and helping others to live with themselves and others, is anything but incredibly difficult, whether we be people who have spent time in a psychiatric hospital or members of an organisation like the PA (which is revealed as just as flawed as any other human endeavor). At times the pain of being involved with the houses and the PA, especially at times of crisis and tragedy, pours out through Paul's words. Others would undoubtedly have told very different histories of the households, but it is great to read a psychotherapist who is truly not afraid to say it as he saw it.


The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment
The Myth of the Chemical Cure: A Critique of Psychiatric Drug Treatment
by J. Moncrieff
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.59

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars important that everyone with an interest in mental health reads this, 13 July 2010
Dr Moncrieff's book has much to teach clinicians of all disciplines - those that know a lot about medication and those who feel ignorant. It is well-researched but also a great read. My favourite book about psychiatric drugs.
Dr Guy Holmes
Clinical Psychologist


Being Human: Reflections on mental distress in society
Being Human: Reflections on mental distress in society
by Alastair Morgan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £22.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best edited books on mental health, 28 Jun. 2010
This is a briliant collection of articles, drawing on the expertise of philosophers, academics and various mental health professionals to give the reader great insights into the ways mental distress is conceptualised in western countries and the (sometimes bizarre) ways mental health professionals and others respond to distress. Personal favourites were the chapters by John Cromby and Bob Diamond and the pithy last chapter by David Smail, all of which helped me in my practice in the NHS. Miles Clapham's chapter asking 'what can philosophy tell psychiatry, psychology and psychotherapy?' was a joy. In fact I would defy anyone not to get something from each chapter. Well done Alastair Morgan and PCCS Books for putting together such an excellent book.
Dr Guy Holmes, Clinical Psychologist


1 Day [DVD]
1 Day [DVD]
Dvd ~ Dylan Duffus
Price: £6.40

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buy it and make up your own mind, 14 April 2010
This review is from: 1 Day [DVD] (DVD)
don't listen to ignorant condemnations of brilliant and thought-provoking movies like this one. Local brummie young men and women with penny woolcock's assistance have made a film that reveals much about 21st century Britain and is terrifically entertaining at the same time. thank goodness the talent that young people have gets opportunities like this to be enjoyed by a wider audience. only people who have not paid attention could think it glamorises violence.


Living with Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery
Living with Voices: 50 Stories of Recovery
by Prof Marius Romme
Edition: Paperback
Price: £20.60

34 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great book for voice hearers and professionals, 26 Mar. 2010
The opening paragraph of this superb book states: `This books demonstrates that it is entirely possible to overcome problems with hearing voices and to take back control of one's life. It shows a path to recovery by addressing the main problems voice hearers describe - the threats, the feelings of powerlessness, the anxiety of being mad - and helps them to find their way back to their emotions and spirituality and to realising their dreams.' The book centres on the personal stories of 50 voice hearers from around Europe who relate their voice hearing to their life history and who describe how they learned to accept and find new ways of relating to and coping with their voices. Most of these people at some point have received state-provided treatments that have at best been of little help, at worst actively harmful. Some give accounts of hearing voices whilst working in health services and the dilemmas that this has brought. The authors/editors were able to find such an array of interesting people who hear voices through personal contacts and through the Hearing Voices Group Network and Intervoice, and assisted people to tell their stories through interviews and questionnaires that focussed on people's relevant life experiences. Personally, I preferred the first person accounts that read as life stories rather than the more structured responses to interviews or descriptions of the people by the authors. But one of the strengths of the book is its diversity - undoubtedly different readers will respond differently to different chapters. The book thus addresses the need for people to be able to access diverse ways of understanding voices and information about the great diversity of things that might help - this is in great contrast to the current obsession with NICE Guidelines and what Ron Cattrall has called the `cookbook approach to mental health work'.

Prior to the 50 stories there are highly informative chapters on: the importance of the concept of recovery rather than cure/traditional diagnostic and treatment approaches; what causes voice hearing; what aids recovery; how to accept and make sense of voices and `find a way out'; hearing voices groups; psychotherapy; and medication. These chapters summarise and bring up to date Romme and Escher's first two books - Accepting Voices and Making Sense of Voices - both of which have been instrumental in shifting how voice hearing is conceptualised and how voice hearers might help themselves, help other voice hearers and be helped by people who do not hear voices (e.g. professionals like myself). The authors express a hope that in the future voice hearers will not feel so isolated. Help to bring this about: If you hear voices, buy the book. If you don't, buy it and give it to someone who does.

Guy Holmes
Clinical Psychologist


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