Practice to make a difference.

How to Rethink Mental Illness. The Human Contexts Behind the Labels

The world of mental illness is typically framed around symptoms and cures, where every client is given a label. In this challenging new book, Professor Bernard Guerin provides a fresh alternative to considering these issues, based in interdisciplinary social sciences and discourse analysis rather than medical studies or cognitive metaphors.

A timely and articulate challenge to mainstream approaches, Guerin asks the reader to observe the ecological contexts for behaviour rather than diagnose symptoms, to find new ways to understand and help those experiencing mental distress. This book shows the reader:

  • how we attribute ‘mental illness’ to someone’s behaviour
  • why we call some forms of suffering ‘mental’ but not others
  • what Western diagnoses look like when you strip away the theory and categories
  • why psychiatry and psychology appeared for the first time at the start of modernity
  • the relationship between capitalism and modern ideas of ‘mental illness’
  • why it seems that women, the poor and people of Indigenous and non-Western backgrounds have worse ‘mental health’
  • how we can rethink the ‘hearing of voices’ more ecologically
  • how self-identity has evolved historically
  • how thinking arises from our social contexts rather than from inside our heads.

Offering solutions rather than theory to develop a new ‘post-internal’ psychology, How to Rethink Mental Illness will be essential reading for every mental health professional, as well as anyone who has either experienced a mental illness themselves, or helped a friend or family member who has.


  • 1. Which behaviours are judged as ‘mental illness’ and why are they called ‘mental’?
  • 2. Contextual analysis for mental health
  • 3. Contextualizing language and thinking (cognition) for mental health
  • 4. Deconstructing the DSM.
  • 5. Mental health in modernity
  • 6. Belief and rationality, some thought disorders, and self-identity
  • 7. Contexts for societal oppression: being female, poor, or with a refugee background
  • 8. Contexts of devastation: Indigenous mental health and colonization

Author Bio:

Bernard Guerin is Professor of Psychology at the University of South Australia.


How to Rethink Mental Illness. The Human Contexts Behind the Labels

Author: Bernard Guerin

$63.00 Add to Cart

Customers who Purchased this item also purchased

  • Drug Dreams: Clinical and Research Implications of Dreams about Drugs in Drug-addicted Patients

    Drug Dreams: Clinical and Research Implications of Dreams about Drugs in Drug-addicted Patients

    by Claudio Colace

    Drug dreams, or the dreams in which drug-addict patients use or attempt to use the drugs they are addicted to, are a well-documented clinical phenomenon in various forms of drug addiction. Authors have highlighted their clinical, prognostic and therapeutic usefulness, since they provide information about the patients’ “drug craving”, their ability to cope with it, and their motivation to stay clean and sober. However, the study of drug dreams also reveals several implications and inspiration for the general dream research and theory, especially with respect to the recent neuropsychology of... More info

    $42.99 Add to Cart
  • Preventing Suicide: The Solution Focused Approach Second Edition

    Preventing Suicide: The Solution Focused Approach Second Edition

    by John Henden

    The book looks at secondary suicide prevention (treatment for those thinking about suicide or who are actively suicidal) and is very practically focused. The first chapter reviews the prevention literature and discusses the healthier nation targets. The second chapter outlines solution focused brief therapy and presents the evidence base for this approach. Chapters 3 and 4 focus on risk assessment, management and medication. Chapter 5 presents an in-depth case study and the final chapter presents five shorter case studies. The appendices contain examples of exercises that can be given to clients.  *Contents:* About... More info

    $79.95 Add to Cart
  • Clinical Textbook of Addictive Disorders 4th Edition

    Clinical Textbook of Addictive Disorders 4th Edition

    by Richard J Frances

    This state-of-the-science reference and text has given thousands of practitioners and students a strong foundation in understanding and treating addictive disorders. Leading experts address the neurobiology of addictions and review best practices in assessment and diagnosis. Specific substances of abuse are examined in detail, with attention to real-world clinical considerations. Issues in working with particular populations—including polysubstance abusers, culturally diverse patients, older adults, chronic pain sufferers, and others—are explored. Chapters summarize the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of widely used psychosocial and pharmacological treatments and clearly describe clinical techniques. *New to This Edition:* Incorporates... More info

    $130.00 Add to Cart