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

Front Cover
Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, Dec 8, 2008 - Medical - 294 pages
1 Review

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.


What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Tcubed - LibraryThing

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


1 Normal Beginnings
2 Protests
3 Towards Healing
4 Strengthening through Structure Healing through Art
5 Conversations on Mental Health Care
6 Conversations on Story Art and Healing
7 War and Peace
8 An Eye to Delight
Susan Schellenbergs Art and Text
The colour plates
Clinical Records and Glossary

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

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.

Bibliographic information