5 chances to win a copy of Rethinking Madness

This competition is now closed and the winners have been contacted.

We have 5 copies of Rethinking Madness by psychologist Paris Williams to give away. From the publishers:

“In Rethinking Madness, Dr. Paris Williams takes the reader step by step on a highly engaging journey of discovery, exploring how the mainstream understanding of schizophrenia has become so profoundly misguided, while crafting a much more accurate and hopeful vision of madness. As this vision unfolds, we discover a deeper sense of appreciation for the profound wisdom and resilience that lies within our beings while also coming to the unsettling realization of just how thin the boundary is between so called madness and so called sanity.”

For your chance to win a copy, simply post a comment to this blog entry stating why this is a topic that interests you. The winners will be chosen at random on Friday (make sure you leave an email address).

39 thoughts on “5 chances to win a copy of Rethinking Madness”

  1. The concept of how society defines madness, or for that matter, abnormality. is enough to drive us mad. But then again, if it didn't, would we then be abnormal?

    It's the gray area and the flexibility of that thin line that makes this such an intriguing concept. Afterall, is Bashar Al Asad mad for killing his own people, or are we mad for standing by and letting it happen.

  2. I am a mental health professional, sibling to a brother diagnosed with schizophrenia (currently in the middle of ongoing battles in terms of medication etc) and myself someone who has experienced short-term psychosis and hypomania. I have always found the distinction between psychosis and so-called sanity a strange one; usually divisive, almost always innaccurate and one so oppressive to the experiencer. Meditation led me to many experiences, to the point that I am skeptical of any hard lines drawn in the sand regarding what is true experience.

    My email is rick9002@hotmail.com. Thank you.

  3. Always an interesting topic, especially for those who have experienced abuse at the hands of mental health professionals.

  4. This is of direct interest to me because someone very very close to me is schizophrenic. I've spent many years coming to terms with that and trying to change peoples perceptions of the illness, family members in particular. Its affected the way we bring up our family and unfortunately the legacy of what has happened lives on in the way relatives view the person (and me to an extent).
    dannycrussell29@hotmail.co.uk (real name withheld)

  5. This topic really interests me as I've just finished my degree therefore have been given all the traditional education around 'what madness/ psychosis/ etc is' but I really want to expand my understanding around how other people can view this idea.
    Hannah – hannahfsharp@hotmail.co.uk

  6. I haven't treated a patient with schizophrenia for a while, but usually clients like a good read.

    hyli (dot) karen (at) gmail (dot) com

  7. I have always regarded Schizophrenia as one of the most mysterious mental illnesses I have encountered. This book is of special interest to me because I believe that the boundary between “mad” and “sane” is a very fluent one and very much influenced by culture and social context. I would be very interested to read this book.

    lilacfairy17 [at] hotmail.com

  8. A lot of mental illness is misunderstood these days, and societies attitudes towards mental health, from what I have encountered, seems to be polarised. At one end there is the denial and fear, while on the other hand there are people to jump to diagnosis all too quickly and in many cases it is then used as a badge for identity. Therefore I would be very interested in reading this book as it explores the boundary between sanity and madness.

  9. Having been hospitalised for madness, I have a personal interest in this but against that I have zero professional interest so I hope the former outweighs the latter. Rejection slips will be gratefully received at fleafreethree at yahoo dot com

  10. My brother died in my arms a few years ago after a long struggle with cancer. It was a terrible passing to cap off a terrible life.

    He was diagnosed schizophrenic when he was in his late teens. Funny that such a lovely talented young person could go from such health to such misery in such a short time.

    The anti-psychotics he was on for much of his life were very harsh on him and it's not hard for us to think that the drugs played a large part in his illness.

    We've all read a lot about schizophrenia. I've certainly read hundreds of psychology books and very many neuroscience books and articles. My son is about to graduate as a doctor after having also gained a degree in neuroscience. At the heart of much of what i have learned about people and about the sciences of people is what i learned living much of my life in and out of time spent with my brother.

    Whatever we can do as a society to do a better job of caring for the mentally afflicted the faster that we can proceed to a higher state of being. It will be a very long road i feel because most of us are not so far from being “crazy” at times ourselves. How can mixed-up, conflicted, primaly-motivated creatures deal with those among us who don't fit in simply because something in them does not work the way we think it works in ourselves?

    I know i did not provide the best support for my brother that a brother could and maybe should give. I can make excuses but i will always know that i could have done better. There are more like him. Lots more. They are not so far away at any time.

    And their lives are generally shit.


    pop AT aoraki dot com

  11. French teacher, i've been working with disability people for many years, i'm also interested in social representations and stereotyps about disability and people with disabilities, thus i'm interested in new way to approach mental illness.

    nihiloster [at] gmail . com


  12. I've always been intrigued by the boundaries of madness and the way we talk about it. It was coming across RD Laing & the anti-psychiatrists as an undergraduate that first turned me on to critical psychology, and I'm still fascinated by new ways of conceiving of madness and 'normality' (which, of course, the first ever psychologist – Shakyamuni – also considered a mental condition that needed treatment!!!).

    alasdair dot gordon-finlayson at northampton dot ac dot uk

  13. I currently work as a police office interviewing suspects in custody. I did my degree in clinical psychology and an hoping to get into clinical psychology. I am amazed on a daily basis as to the amount of people now in custody with mental health problems. This obviously produces challenges. It also shows the way the country is heading so of this is drug induced or drink induced problems. The book would provide me with a invaluable insight and background into psychosis. I think it will also give me some ideas as to how these people can be dealt with differently in the criminal justice field. Sarahe.jones@yahoo.co.uk / sarahe_jones twitter.

  14. Here in the States we have an uneasy relationship with mental health at all levels (thanks for all the Puritans!). I have a professional interest in pychosis as a contributor to crime and violence. I have an academic interest in the topic as it relates to mystical experience, the religious impulse, and the nature of strongly held belief. Finally, at the personal level, I have a brother in law who I have never met who is estranged from his family by this sad and powerful disorder. michael underscore brady underscore cpp at yahoo dot com

  15. The concept of madness is one that goes back thousands of years, and runs through society at every stage, from the days of Bedlam to current efforts to 'explain' 'madness'. Having studied psychology at Cardiff and a masters at Swansea, now working in the field, I often wonder how much longer the concept of madness can continue in a world where the lines between madness and sanity are so often blurred, and created by the society of that time. I would find Dr Paris William's book fascinating reading and would be so grateful to have the opportunity to read it. natashajayne@gmail.com

  16. Hi Christian!

    My name is Bruno Coelho I'm the entrepreneur that founded TheRabbitWay.com – helping people unleash their full potential and inspire them to change the World.

    Launching a business, specially with this ambitious mission, in today's world economy can be labelled as an act of madness. How do we tell the difference between being mad and have the courage to defy the status quo?

    Even you and your blog! Why SO many blogs on the Internet and with our attention span getting lower every day… people could say that it's a complete madness to create yet another one and believe that people would read it…
    Yet here I am connecting with you and hopefully win a book that will show me how to make sense of all this!

    Best regards,
    Bruno Coelho
    Mail: bcoelho2000[at]gmail.com

  17. Psychopathology runs rampant in my family – everything from schizophrenia to run-of-the-mill anxiety and depression disorders. Since finding out a few years ago about my aunt's diagnosis, I have been reading books on the topic to try and understand the disease. One of my favorites was Elyn Saks's “The Center Cannot Hold,” an autobiographical account of her journey through schizophrenia and how she was able to learn to live a normal life by coming to terms with treatment of the disease. One of the most powerful lines relates living with untreated mental illness to having diabetes and refusing to take insulin shots. The latter seems insane, and yet so many people are resistant to mental treatment. The stigma of mental illness continues to pervade our culture.

    Schizophrenia is misunderstood because the testimony of those suffering from it is jaded by their “invalidity.” If someone thinks there are demons circling the room, what's to make you believe their analysis of their own mind? I continue to struggle with coming to terms with my own family's mental history. The best way I know how to do that is through knowledge and understanding. I hope to be a therapist one day, but for now I just learn as much as I can on my own. This book seems like a good read – both informational and inspirational. Hope to win!



  18. I'm the author of an autobiographical book which looked at the connections between madness and mystical experience. I'm always looking for new and insightful ways of approaching this complex intersection of issues. Not only is the boundary between sanity and insanity porous, but it's a boundary filled with “mystical phenomena” that have been the subject of human inquiry for thousands of years.

    jperez gmail com

  19. I am both a victim of mental illness and a researcher of it. I would be very proud to own a book on such an innovative topic. I am always on the look out for psycology books which will help me understand new perspectives of mental illness, both for my research and for myself.


  20. I find the difference between the concepts of “madness” and “mental health problems” very interesting. Both terms refer to the same thing but their meanings are worlds apart.

    Reactions and perceptions that we call “mad” actually start to make sense when you understand the mental health problems that cause them. “Madness” carries a lot of stigma, which gets in the way of real understanding.


    (deleted original one because I forgot my email address!)

  21. My Uncle, Mother's brother has been a part of life all my life. He is a schizophrenic all the time I have known and loved him. He is colourful, artist, intellectual and was once articulate but after 30years of institutionalisation he has lost most of his skills, thankfully not his abstract sense of humour. I would love to read and this book offering a new perspective to the illness, “Knowledge is power”. Thank you for considering my entry, Annie (L)

  22. I am a practicing mental health professional also with a growing interest in philosophy. I would be very interest to read this book. Thanks!
    jennefer [underscore] daubyn [at] hotmail [dot] com

  23. The answer to your WHY is this is me the pure me and the real me the me that has suffered with this MI for years and years the real me that lives in torment never to leave my head and thats the reason why

  24. I am a student of psychology and while tending to the academic side of my education I like to say apprised of the new trends, theories, etc. of the science. This book sounds like a great read.

    phoenix.asche (at) rocketmail (dot) com

  25. In Korea, diagnostic term of schizophrenia changed dramatically in 2011.
    The previous term “정신분열증(Jeongsin-bunyeol jeung)” means 'divided psych'.
    The new, quite metaphorical term “조현병(Johyeon-byeong)” means, 'tuning the string', reflect the disease nature of complexity.

    This book really interests me, together conceptual change on schizophrenia in my country.


  26. In my freshman year of college I roomed with a close friend of 5 years. A few months after I kicked him out of our apartment he murder two people i knew and is currently serving two life sentences. I always find myself wondering what was it that turned the easy going hippie high schooler into someone who would murder, not in a hate crime manner, but over money (less than $10,000). I always knew that he commanded respect from his peers but at the same time was intimidated by people just a few years older than us. I would like to know more about the forces that motivate people to be mad.

  27. My view is that mental illness as a concept, is in the main, misleading. If we are really looking at the underlying causes, e.g. often adaptation to trauma, is it really right to be calling something an 'illness' if it's just our innate systems responding to hurt and pain. We all have buttons, they just need to be pushed, it's almost like a recipe.. the right situation, the right or wrong stressors… a very thin line indeed. Sometimes I think there is an aspect of moral luck to those who have had mental illness and those who haven't. I would like to hear the view of this author…


  28. Sounds like a good read, and also timely. Mental illness is still so stigmatized, and the result is that those experiencing 'mental health' challenges can be so marginalized. Views can be so coloured by 'extreme' events that are simply not representative, and of course are products of the culture in which we live. donnocha@gmail.com

  29. The concept of madness intrigues me as it a social construct: an idea we have created as a society to categorize others who don't necessarily 'fit in'. And yet this notion of ‘madness’, which is only really understood at a superficial level, is professed in our society as if it were as concrete a notion as the car we drive in. The static nature of labelling someone with any psychiatric illness echoes the sad reality of the society we live in (discounting non-western societies who take these views even further). With increasing neurological understanding and growing evidence supporting curative interventions for psychiatric illnesses, this view is deemed aged; although, many individuals are bred into a society which explicitly and implicitly accentuates this nomimal perception of ‘madness’. I am motivated on an extremely high level to educate others (who in their integrity may not acknowledge their aged perceptions) about psychiatric disorders, and how normative they really are: to the level that they can potentially be expressed as traits. which are generally accepted in society (even though traits too, are hypothetical). If an Extroverted individual is clearly labelled and accepted in society, why can’t someone with ‘madness’ be. What’s more, if an individual who is classified as Extroverted acts in an introverted manner (Please see Mischel’s work for this) why can’t a ‘mad’ person behave or think in a ‘normative’ manner? Both are believed to be ‘hard-wired’ in such a way which predicts their actions & reactions to environmental stimuli, and yet there are these flexibilities which seep through, which I believe required to be generalised to the way we as a society view most topics, from economics to madness.

    I am deeply interested in gaining other people’s impressions on the concept of madness, especially ideas which I feel I can relate to; however, as subjective as ‘madness’ is, so are people’s interpretations of it, so I am extremely interested in understanding Williams’ too.

    My e-mail address is matthewcon92@googlemail.com

    Thank you Christian for all your great posts and hard work.

  30. I run an website and online forum to support those with restrictive eating disorders.

    I've read a A First Rate Madness (Nassir Gaemi), and it had some pros and cons (the cons chiefly being that if you bury yourself in the DSM as a way to validate your theory you never find your way out of the labyrinth). I've also read Crazy Like Us (Ethan Watters) — excellent observations on how you cannot take the 'madness' out of the society in which it resides (not surprisingly as the brain is a social organ).

    And I'll read Rethinking Madness either way (which likely will take me out of the running of getting one of the free copies!) for the same reasons as I picked up the other books: any examination of the water in which we swim when it comes to how we think neurobiological conditions should be named and framed is phenomenally relevant to my patients and community.


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