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Customer Review

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Passage Through Schizophrenia, March 6, 2011
This review is from: Henry's Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son's Story (Hardcover)
This book is written with great care and intelligence. By his own admission Patrick Cockburn knew nothing about schizophrenia when his son Henry was given that diagnosis about ten years ago but he seems to have read everything he could find in short order like the experienced journalist he is and among other things this book contains useful summaries of a variety of theories about the nature of the condition and its treatment. Cockburn is also very frank about the effect of Henry's experiences on his wider family. Perhaps the greatest value for me in the book however is his careful and accurate description of the way people diagnosed with schizophrenia are cared for in this country (the UK). I write as one who worked as a mental health social worker for ten years. For this reason, among others, I would recommend this book to anyone who for whatever reason wants to know about how mental illness is treated.

Cockburn also spells out the agonies carers go through. He states his opinions about various matters trenchantly and I don't always agree with him, especially on Laing and on care in the community. But his views are well put and worthy of careful consideration.

Several chapters of the book are written by Henry who gives a lucid account of his experiences. Like most people who achieve this diagnosis for many years he did not accept that he was ill. It is my belief that the `delusions' suffered by people diagnosed as schizophrenic are as real to them as other people's experience are to them, and I have also found that respecting this is the basis of any real communication with `mad' people. Henry is a talented artist and the way he talks about his communication with trees and other living things evokes a magical if clearly often frightening world.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 7, 2011 10:30:05 AM PST
David Austin says:
I'm so glad you picked up on Patrick Cockburn's comments about 'Care in the Community' (deinstutionalization) and R D Laing, as I too feel there's another side to this argument. I chose not to comment on this in my own review, as I concentrated on emphasizing other aspects, but I think this is a significant area of debate.
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