Psychodamnation?

In my previous post on psychosalvation I argued that psychotherapy, and, to a certain extent, psychoanalysis, were grounded in an ideology of ‘psychosalvation’, by which I meant that therapy offers the possibility of ‘saving’ the human subject from the secular equivalent of Christian hell and damnation. On this reading, ‘hell’ …

Peter Sutcliffe: mad or/and bad?

Last Thursday a mental health tribunal ruled that Peter Sutcliffe (aka ‘The Yorkshire Ripper’ and now know as Peter Coonan) no longer required clinical treatment and could be moved back to a mainstream prison. 1  Some in the tabloid media have inferred from this decision that this means that Sutcliffe is …

Mad, bad, or…..?

What was rather striking about the (British) media’s response to the recent knife attack in Russell Square, London, where a nineteen year old Norwegian national of Somali origin murdered an American woman and injured five others1 was that as soon as it became apparent that the perpetrator was suffering from …

Psychoanalysis and schizophrenia

The New York Times recently published a fascinating article by Christopher Bollas in which he describes a five year analysis with a woman whom he calls Lucy and who has a diagnosis of schizophrenia.  What’s particularly interesting about this case is that Lucy lives on a remote island in a …

What is psychosis?

The term ‘psychosis’ has a number of connotations, all of them negative. It’s often used in place of the word ‘madness’. It is also used as a term for schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder (manic depression), and paranoia. There is also a fairly widely held, though mistaken, view that psychotic individuals cannot …

We are all mad…..

….to paraphrase Lacan (and, indirectly) Freud.  In some ways this seems to be saying nothing new; after all, isn’t part of Freud’s legacy, whether you subscribe to psychoanalysis or not, that we are all, in some way, disturbed?  And doesn’t this mean that we are all either neurotic to some …

Psychosis, meaning and therapy

There is a view in Lacanian circles that the best way to treat psychosis is to help the patient/client construct a structure of meaning, because the problem for psychotic subjects is precisely that they lack a stable structure of meaning.  Because of this they are continually having to construct and …

Schizophrenia and genetics

There was an interesting news item yesterday on the BBC news site about schizophrenia and genetics1.  The story reports on an article published in Nature, which is the write- up of a large research project into the genetic dimension of schizophrenia. According to the story, scientists have found more than …

Why psychosis?

There is a long and somewhat unfortunate tradition within psychoanalysis that appears to ‘downgrade’ psychosis.  In other words, psychosis is seen as something of an aberration in relation to the ‘norm’ of neurosis.   This is not to say that psychoanalysts don’t work with psychotics – far from it- but one …

Bipolar and psychosis

Darian Leader has recently written a book on bipolar1, which is the new name for an old form of psychosis, namely manic-depressive insanity (to use the term adopted by Emil Kraepelin). Leader’s central argument is that manic depression (bipolar) is an attempt to avoid contradiction, because the individual is unable …