Dr. George Atwood: Shattered Worlds, the Experience of Personal Annihilation

Zenobia Morrill

This week on MIA Radio, we interview Dr. George Atwood.

Dr. Atwood has devoted a substantial part of his life to the study and treatment of what he refers to as ‘so-called psychosis’.  He has authored or coauthored several books, including The Abyss of Madness published in 2011 and more than one hundred articles.


In the episode we discuss:

  • The story of how Dr. Atwood came to be interested in “so-called psychosis,” including what piqued his interest as a high school student, and his work under mentors Austin DesLauriers and Silvan Tomkins.
  • An overview of his more recent work on intersubjective theory with collaborator and friend, Robert Stolorow.
  • After studying what he refers to as “madness” for over 50 years, Dr. Atwood offers his perspective that madness is not a disease or illness existing within a person, but a subjective experience of self-dissolution or catastrophe.
  • How diagnostic classification systems can result in the false reification of mental diseases in a way that obscures individual realities.
  • The phenomenological approach, or the study of individual human subjective experiences, as offering a hopeful future in a shifting away from “illness” or “disorder” frameworks.
  • How psychotherapy, as a healing process, includes the relational context between clinician and patient, meriting a dedication to personal histories and contexts rather than overt symptoms.
  • The history of the term “schizophrenia,” and how terms such as these are embedded in a Cartesian medical model.
  • A few of Dr. Atwood’s clinical cases and particularly his perspectives on “so-called psychosis” and “so-called bipolar disorder.”

Relevant links:

Dr. George Atwood’s Personal Website with Works and Lectures

Unforgettable Abnormal Psychology Video Lecture 1, Part 1 by Dr. Atwood

Unforgettable Abnormal Psychology Video Lecture 1, Part 2

Unforgettable Abnormal Psychology Video Lecture 2, Part 1

Unforgettable Abnormal Psychology Video Lecture 2, Part 2

All Abnormal Psychology Video Lectures by Dr. Atwood

Unforgettable Personality Lectures by Dr. Atwood

To get in touch with us email: [email protected]

© Mad in America 2017

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