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Making Room for Madness in Mental Health: The Psychoanalytic Understanding of Psychotic Communication
Evans, Marcus
Routledge / Karnac / Tavistock Clinic / Softcover / 2016-04-01 / 178220329X
reg price: $63.50 our price: $ 57.15 (may be subject to change)
240 pages
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In this book, Marcus Evans argues that in addition to providing a helpful treatment for patients with serious psychological difficulties, a psychoanalytic approach can help mental health staff develop a better understanding of their patients that complements other ways of thinking about mental disturbance. The psychoanalytic framework, which puts the transference and counter transference relationship at the center of clinical practice, offers an important model for understanding staff-patient relationships. A psychoanalytic approach can also give mental health professionals a language for describing their experiences of, and interaction with, their patients. This framework for understanding can help in the day-to-day management of these changes and fluctuations.

Evans argues that the diagnosis and active interventions employed by psychiatry need to be accompanied by a receptive mental approach to treatment and care. Mental health professionals need to be interested in the meaning of their patient’s symptoms together with verbal and physical communications, which convey important information about the patient’s internal world and underlying conflicts.

Making Room for Madness in Mental Health draws on the author’s extensive experience of working psychoanalytically with people with severe and enduring mental illness as well as providing psychoanalytic supervision and consultation in a range of mental health settings, to show how psychoanalytic ways of thinking may complement other approaches to mental disturbance by highlighting the communication and meaning of such disturbance. This is illuminated by lively clinical vignettes, supported by accessible accounts of key psychoanalytic theory.

Working with mental illness can be rewarding and enlightening. It can also be disturbing, frightening, boring, frustrating, anxiety provoking and stupefying. Indeed when patients are in disturbed states of mind their communications and actions have a disturbing effect on mental health professionals. These disturbances can provoke reactions in staff designed to control the patients thinking or behavior. Although at times these reactions may be both necessary and appropriate they are designed to dampen and control disturbing states of mind. Evans argues that this can represent a missed opportunity as the underlying meaning of the communication is missed, ignored or crushed. Psychoanalysis offers a model for thinking about and providing meaning for, the anxieties that drive us "out of our minds", and this can reduce the risk of thoughtless action. To some extent this involves putting the madness back into mental health.

Table of Contents:
Series Editors’ Preface
About the Author
1) Theory in practice
2) Psychoanalytic supervision in mental health settings
3) Being driven mad: towards understanding borderline states
4) Pinned against the ropes: psychoanalytic understanding of patients with antisocial personality disorder
5) Tuning in to the psychotic wavelength
6) The role of psychoanalytic assessment in the management and care of a psychotic patient
7) Deliberate self-harm: “I don’t have a problem dying, it’s living I can’t stand”
8) Anorexia: the silent assassin within
9 Hysteria: the erotic solution to psychological problems

About the Author:

Marcus Evans qualified as a psychiatric nurse in 1983 and went on to occupy nursing posts as charge nurse of St. Giles day hospital, clinical nurse specialist in Liaison psychiatry and parasuicide in Kings College hospital A&E, and clinical nurse specialist in psychotherapy at the Bethlem and Maudsley. After qualifying as a psychotherapist at the Tavistock he took up a post as head of the nursing discipline with a brief to develop the nursing discipline within the trust. He held the post of Head of Nursing until taking on the post of Associate Clinical Head of Complex Needs in 2011. Marcus has supervised, designed, developed, and taught outreach courses for front line mental health staff in various settings for the last twenty-five years in many mental health trusts including: Camden and Islington, The Bethlem and Maudsley, and Broadmoor. He was also one of the founding members of the Fitzjohns service at the Tavistock clinic. His passion is the application of psychoanalytic psychotherapeutic ideas to mental health settings.

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