‘Psychosis: Stories of Hope and Recovery’
Editors: Hannah Cordle, Jane Fradgley, Jerome Carson, Frank Holloway, and Paul Richards
Quay Books 2011-05-30
200pp
ISBN 1-85642-420-0
£19.99 (paperback)

The purpose of this book is twofold. On the one hand it aims to provide a greater understanding of psychosis for sufferers, carers and healthcare professionals, in its first chapters on the clinical aspects of care and recovery written by leading specialists in the field. On the other hand, the book pays tribute to the power of storytelling in the recovery process through the narratives in later chapters of individuals living with psychosis. As a whole the book is about Psychosis and recovery through the telling of personal narratives.

Psychosis: Stories of Recovery and Hope is laid out in two parts. The first part includes chapters from leading clinicians in the field of recovery. In What is Psychosis? Dr Frank Holloway introduces us to psychosis from a clinical perspective, providing definitions, symptoms, diagnoses and various treatments. In his chapter on Recovery: The Long and Winding Road that Leads…? Dr Jerome Carson provides a clear overview of recovery and its processes with examples in practice at both the individual and group level. Dr Glenn Roberts, in his interesting chapter Recovery and Personal Narratives pays tribute to the important role of stories and personal narratives for individuals suffering from mental distress and helps lay the foundation for what this book is all about – the stories themselves.

The bulk of the book is to follow. Lightly edited, fourteen contributions bring together stories of psychosis, recovery and hope and all the narratives make moving reading. The contributors openly, straightforwardly and without sentiment share their stories of life with psychosis. Their narratives are clearly and equally organised in sections that provide structure to their narrative, including ‘transition towards illness’, ‘crisis points’, contact with services and treatment’, ‘transition towards recovery’, ‘hope’, and ‘reflection’.

The stories themselves emphasise the importance of hope and self-discovery in the recovery process. Those who tell their stories of recovery are as individual and unique as their narratives: stories include those of a film maker, a psychologist working in South London, a poet, a dancer, a musician and a businessman. Each describes in his or her own individual way how psychosis has affected their lives and how they recovered. Many describe their painful negotiation of their medical treatment, accepting or rejecting the benefits of medication. Others have found recovery in their own spirituality, creative pursuits or through loving family and support networks.

The stories in this book tell tales of recovery and hope for people living with mental illness. The contributors are role models for those suffering mental distress who demonstrate through their narratives that recovery and hope are possible.

See also our news report on the Conference and Launch of the book.