“Rethinking Madness” is PsychCentral’s Book of the Month


Paris Williams’ Rethinking Madness: Towards a Paradigm Shift In Our Understanding and Treatment of Psychosis is PsychCentral‘s book of the month “without any nudge at all from me,” says Williams. “Being very much mainstream, PsychCentral is generally highly pro-medical model, and of course “Rethinking Madness” presents a very serious critique of and challenge to the medical model paradigm”

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. This book is excellent. Paris Williams actually asks people what their experience of “psychosis” was like, what they did to move through it to a better life, and what/who helped and didn’t help them along the way. He then puts their responses in a very coherent framework that doesn’t try to pigeon hole anyone, but gives us a way of making sense of our own experiences (whether “psychotic” or not).

    I can get pretty worked up about what’s wrong with the “mental health” industry and what I think is a really human way of dealing with “mental health” problems. Part of this book’s value is that Dr. Williams doesn’t get into this frame of mind, and I didn’t go there either as I read the book. It is very human, persuasive and encouraging – not the least because the book itself treats those in the book intelligently and compassionately, and in the process also treats the reader that way.

    “Rethinking Madness” does what we all should do – ask the person who is suffering what’s going on, and take him/her seriously. It models what has long seemed to me what is really needed when we see someone going through frightening mental and emotional experiences – counter all the scary thoughts we may have (and may get from others) by just assuming this is a “genius at work,” and ask what we might do to support the person as a human being.

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  2. Really glad this book has been published and revied so positively.

    However I clicked on the link to psychcentral and looked at some of the letters and answers about schizophrenia and I was rather annoyed. It was all, take your drugs, encourage people with diagnosis to take their drugs and if things go wrong go back to your Dr and get the drugs changed. There Dr who writes on this issue is a biobabbling drug pusher – so be warned.

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  3. I believe that the only reason all of this is happening is because the drug companies are willing to let go of the schizophrenia market because they have a child market now that is much more vulnerable. None of this would be happening if the drug companies decided to pay off some experts to fight against it and produce some contradictive studies that would be widely promoted. What we are viewing here is economics, not scientific progress. And of course I am referring to all of the progress that the so called recovery movement has made.

    If I am right then history will show that the best strategy in our time for being a patient group fighting against psychiatry’s injustices is to pass them off to/let them be passed off on another group of vulnerable people.

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  4. Paris Williams has written an excellent book, well researched and clearly presented. In my personal and professional experience, I have known many people who have lived through ‘psychosis’ and who then go on to live rich, meaningful lives. However, because of stigma, they often do not disclose their experiences of full recovery. When recovery is researched, these people are not included which just further perpetuates the idea that people cannot fully recover from psychosis.

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