Challenging Schizophrenia Narratives in Psychology Textbooks

Analysis of introductory psychology textbooks reveals the construction of harmful discourses for people diagnosed with schizophrenia.


A new article published in Theory & Psychology investigates how the dominant narratives of people with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (PWDS) are constructed in Introductory Psychology (IP) courses and textbooks and the major consequences that arise from omitting their voices from these texts.  

The authors, Jessica Senior and Andrea LaMarre, conducted a Foucauldian Discourse Analysis on six IP textbooks assigned in New Zealand and Australia and identified the following three discursive constructions of schizophrenia: object-for-study, social problem, and unrecoverable illness. Additionally, they used a MAD studies theoretical framework in their analyses to show how it can be utilized to reframe the traditional and oppressive narratives embedded in these texts.  

“These discursive constructions position PWDS as passive recipients of biomedical treatment who require control and containment: interventions that must be undertaken by particular kinds of experts.” 

They emphasize the consequences of neglecting the subjectivity of PWDS and omitting their lived experience and voices from textbooks and research, stating:  

“This (re)produces the epistemic injustice experienced by PWDS in psy-professionals and academia, where their voices are seen as noncredible and are removed from conversations about themselves and their experiences.” 

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  1. People with psychotic disorder “diagnoses” are likely the most oppressed group in modern society. If you look at how people with these labels who refuse total control are portrayed in the media, even “liberal” media like the NYT, the portrayals are worse than even the most ardent of mainstream racism, xenophobia, and classism. Just replace the “schizophrenic” man in the recent NYT article with, say, “black” man, and fill it with analogous cherry-picking and stereotypes to argue for returning to segregation/expanding mass incarceration. Such an article would never be accepted, and for good reason; yet, printing this about “schizophrenic” people is seen as totally accepted.

    It becomes especially awful when these narratives are mixed together, resulting in the violent and bigoted psychiatric police state we have today… “CARE” my rear end.

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  2. “Medication is seen as superior and essential despite inconsistent statistical evidence of its effectiveness or full disclosure of its harms, and as a result, all other interventions are limited.”

    Disclosure of the harms of the so called “ADHD drugs” and “antidepressants.”

    Full disclosure of the harms of the so called “schizophrenia treatments:”

    The antidepressants and antipsychotics can both create the “positive symptoms of schizophrenia,” via anticholinergic toxidrome poisoning.

    And the antipsychotics / neuroleptics can also create the “negative symptoms of schizophrenia,” via neuroleptic induced deficit syndrome.

    “The authors state the content in these textbooks directly contradicts those with lived experience, who report ‘their experiences are deeply meaningful and personal, contextualized within their life experiences, and not wholly negative.'”

    Let’s hope and pray that some day, the psychologists realize their entire psychiatric DSM “bible” billing belief system is “invalid, thus a lie … or delusion, on their part.

    And by functioning as mere funnels to the neurotoxic poisoning psychiatrists, the psychologists have been systemically harming, and aiding in mass murdering, innocent people for profit for decades.

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