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A Straight Talking Introduction to the Causes of Mental Health Problems
John Read and Pete Sanders (1951–2022)
PCCS Books / Softcover / Sep 2013
9781906254193 (ISBN-10: 1906254192)
price: $21.95 (may be subject to change)
176 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-4 weeks

A pocket sized, good value series of succinct, thought provoking introductions ideal for students in all mental health disciplines, psychiatric service users, carers and indeed everyone with an interest in mental health. The authors are acknowledged leaders in their respective specialist fields with reputations for clear thinking, realistic, compassionate approaches and straight talking.

Rather than accept that solutions to mental health problems are owned by the medical professions, these books look at alternatives and provide information so that the users of psychiatric services, their families and carers can make more decisions about their own lives. Becoming more active in mental health issues requires knowledge — this series of books is a starting point for anyone who wants to know more about mental health problems. These books also introduce ways of working collaboratively with doctors, psychiatrists and counsellors.

The causes of mental health problems are often more complicated than we would like. This book presents straightforward summaries of the history, theories and research about the various possible causes. Because there is no single convenient answer to the questions explored in this book, competing viewpoints are presented. Readers are encouraged to focus on what fits best with their own experience and decide what might be most helpful.

Reviews and Endorsements:

‘An accessible look at complex issues which empowers the reader to start thinking for themselves. A refreshing antidote to the simplistic and pessimistic biomedical model.’ Jacqui Dillon, Chair, Hearing Voices Network

‘This brilliantly engaging, understandable and thoughtful book describes current opinion about the causes of mental health problems and will equip service users, carers andn professionals alike with empowering knowlede' Tony Morrison, Professor of Clinical Psychology, University of Manchester



1. Our beliefs and motives

2. A brief history of causal beliefs

3. The twentieth century and beyond: The illness approach

4. Can we understand causes through diagnosis and labels?

5. Public opinion: Depression is caused by depressing things happening

6. Is the public right? What the research says about the causes of mental health problems

7. Psychological theories: How events operate on us to create problems

(A) Psychodynamic

(B) Attachment Theory

(C) Learning Theory

(D) Social Learning Theory

(E) Humanistic

(F) Cognitive

8. An example: Formulating depression

9. Keep thinking (and feeling) about the causes of mental health problems

About the Authors:

Dr John Read worked in the UK and USA for 20 years as a Clinical Psychologist and manager of mental health services. He joined the Psychology Department of the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 1994. In May 2013 he moved back to the UK taking up a postition at the Department of Psychological Sciences, Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, University of Liverpool. He is co-editor (with Loren Mosher and Richard Bentall) of Models of Madness: Psychological, social and biological approaches to schizophrenia (Routledge, 2004) and founding editor of the research journal Psychosis: Psychological, Social and Integrative Approaches.

Pete Sanders spent over 30 years practising as a counsellor, educator and clinical supervisor. He has written, co-written and edited numerous books, chapters and papers on many aspects of counselling, psychotherapy and mental health. He continues to have active interest in developing person-centred theory, the politics of counselling and psychotherapy, and the demedicalisation of distress. He has given keynote addresses at several UK and European conferences and also offers workshops in a few areas that continue to interest him. He is a pre-therapy/contact work trainer and trustee of the Soteria Network UK. Follow Pete Sanders at

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