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Critical Psychiatry

Tags: Social Work

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Critical Psychiatry

A Biography

AUTHOR : By Ian Cummins

ISBN : 9781911106609

Edition No : 1

Publication : Sep 4, 2017

Extent : 112 pgs

ISBN : 9781911106623

Publication : Sep 4, 2017

Extent : 112 pgs

ISBN : 9781911106630

Edition No : 1

Publication : Sep 4, 2017

Extent : 112 pgs

ISBN : 9781911106616

Edition No : 1

Publication : Sep 4, 2017

Extent : 112 pgs


Critical Psychiatry outlines the history of a group of thinkers that has come to be known as the anti-psychiatry movement. Though it has been called a movement, the individual thinkers’ and authors’ ideas were often in conflict but what they share is a critical perspective on psychiatry as a discipline and institutionalised modes of care. 

The current crisis in mental health services means that it is time to examine once again the key themes of critical psychiatry. The excesses of the 1960s radicalism have meant that these themes - with an emphasis on the individual dignity of all those involved in mental health services - have been lost.  These need to be rediscovered as part of a solution to current difficulties but also as the starting point for a new model of service provision. 

Critical Psychiatry is a history of ideas. It provides a critical evaluation of key thinkers and the application of their work to contemporary mental health service settings. 



R.D. Laing: the psychiatrist of the counterculture

Michel Foucault: the man in the high castle

Erving Goffman: madness, and the asylum as a total institution 



Frantz Fanon: Black Minds Matter - race, psychiatry and revolutionary politics

Thomas Szasz: a libertarian challenge to the 'therapeutic state' 

 Franco Basaglia: psychiatry as radical politics

 David Rosenhan: an experiment revisited

Plath, Frame and Casey: psychiatry and the literary imagination





Ian Cummins is senior lecturer in social work at the University of Salford. His main research revolves around the experiences of people with mental health problems in the Criminal Justice system with a focus on policing and mental illness. This is linked to an exploration of the development of the penal state and its interaction with community based mental health services. He is interested in the ways the CJS has become, in many incidences, the default provider of mental health care

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