Raising Our Voices

Adam James
Handsell Publishing
ISBN 1 903199 13 7

This book is a missed opportunity, which is a
shame given the importance of its subject matter. The Hearing
Voices movement helps people with auditory hallucinations find ways
to come to terms with their experiences. So its relevance to the
dynamics of power and responsibility within psychiatry and society
is significant. Also important are the philosophical questions
following from a consideration of “psychotic projection” and their
subsequent translation into a greater wholeness of meaning in our
everyday lives.

James is Mind Journalist of the Year, but this
book is, in his words, a polemic. Polemics take one stanza from a
symphony and repeat it endlessly at full volume. It doesn’t make
for good communication. James’s stanza relates to the awfulness of
psychiatry. Agreed, but what’s new?

Needing to constantly portray psychiatry as
jaw-droppingly awful skews the book’s inner workings. This is
unfortunate, especially when a rounded viewpoint pops up:
“Assessing psychiatry within a social constructionist paradigm can
be a useful and powerful tool to criticise the profession as there
is always the underlying implication that such rules and behaviour
can be constructed differently, ie, less oppressively.”

Indeed so – and the same can even apply for

Rick Cresswell is an approved social
worker at Kent Council.

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