Committed to the Sane Asylum: Narratives on Mental Wellness and Healing

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Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, Dec 8, 2008 - Medical - 294 pages
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In Committed to the Sane Asylum: Narratives on Mental Wellness and Healing, artist Susan Schellenberg, a former psychiatric patient, and psychologist Rosemary Barnes relate their own stories, conversations, and reflections concerning the contributions and limitations of conventional mental health care and their collaborative search for alternatives such as art therapy. Patient and doctor each describe personal decisions about the mental health system and the creative life possibilities that emerged when mind, body, and spirit were committed to well-being and healing.

Interwoven patient/doctor narratives explain conventional care, highlight critical steps in healing, and explore varied perspectives through conversations with experts in psychiatry, feminist approaches, art, storytelling, and business. The book also includes reproductions of Susan’s mental health records and dream paintings.

This book will be important for consumers of mental health care wishing to understand the conventional system and develop the best quality of life. Rich personal detail, critical perspective, clinical records, and art reproductions make the book engaging for a general audience and stimulating as a teaching resource in nursing, social work, psychology, psychiatry, and art therapy.

 

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Many of these kinds of books are very hard to read. Comming from the perspective of helping a family member toward mental wellness, I found it easy to understand, with an overall positive slant. There ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
1 Normal Beginnings
11
2 Protests
25
3 Towards Healing
47
4 Strengthening through Structure Healing through Art
73
5 Conversations on Mental Health Care
89
6 Conversations on Story Art and Healing
125
7 War and Peace
157
8 An Eye to Delight
179
Susan Schellenbergs Art and Text
223
The colour plates
230
Clinical Records and Glossary
237
Copyright

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About the author (2008)

Artist and writer Susan Schellenberg began her career as a public nurse. In 1980, she committed to healing from a 1969 psychosis and ten-year course of anti-psychotic drugs and to keeping a visual-art and written record of her dreams and inner journey as her mind healed. Susan’s Shedding Skins, dream art with text, is on permanent exhibit in the main lobby at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto.

Psychologist Rosemary Barnes has worked at Toronto General and Women’s College Hospitals and been affiliated with the University of Toronto, York University, and the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. She has published on suicide, HIV conditions, and residential schools, and has provided expert opinion in legal cases relating to lesbian/gay issues and trauma. She is currently in independent practice.

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