Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Six books about psychology & the study of the mind

Gwen Adshead is one of the UK’s leading forensic psychiatrists and psychotherapists. She has spent thirty years working in Broadmoor, England’s largest secure psychiatric hospital, with groups and individual patients convicted of serious violent offences, as well as with people in prisons and in the community. Adshead has a Master’s degree in medical law and ethics and has published several academic books and over one hundred papers and commissioned articles on forensic psychotherapy, moral reasoning and ethics, and attachment theory. She is a founder member of the International Association for Forensic Psychotherapy and has been a visiting professor at Yale University and Gresham College in the UK.

Adshead is the author (with Eileen Horne) of The Devil You Know: Stories of Human Cruelty and Compassion.

At the Waterstones blog she tagged six books "that she has found invaluable throughout her career," including:
Regeneration by Pat Barker

I came across this book just as I was moving into working in the field of traumatic stress, meeting military personnel who had been exposed to a variety of traumas on and off the battlefield. Barker offers a sensitive and compelling fictionalised account of war poet Siegfried Sassoon’s admission to Craiglockhart hospital in 1917, and his meeting there with W. H. Rivers, anthropologist, psychiatrist and (later) politician. We are drawn into his world and the professional clashes of temperament and techniques that still characterise psychiatry as a profession today. Rivers is a quietly heroic figure, who tries to see his patients’ predicaments from their perspective – this is in contrast to the work of his colleague Dr Yelland who treats traumatic mutism in a soldier by applying electrodes to the tongue and turning up the pain until the man is forced to make a sound. We readers, ourselves the mute observers of this instance of brutality, are made painfully aware that this perhaps may not be the last time psychiatrists do harm to those they have power over in the name of clinical benefit. Powerful and moving, this is one of those stories that lives in the mind long after you set the book aside.
Read about another entry on the list.

Regeneration is among Bev Thomas's top ten books about psychotherapy, Daniel Mason's ten top novels about the First World War, Elizabeth Lowry's top ten books about psychiatry, Phil Klay's top ten books about returning from war, Sarah Moss's top ten hospital novels, and Hermione Norris's six best books. The Regeneration Trilogy is on William Skidelsky's list of the 10 best historical novels.

--Marshal Zeringue