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"In February 2011 I travelled to Athlone, Ireland to hear Robert Whitaker lecture on his 2010 book ‘Anatomy of an Epidemic” and then invited Bob to Scotland and Cupar, Fife, to lecture on the same, November 2011, after which I became a writer on his ‘Mad in America’ blogging website from January 2012 until September 2015 when I withdrew. I think this book is a rehash of many of the topics covered in Whitaker’s book but with far less input from survivor voices of ‘lived experience’. There was only the Viscount’s chapter ‘Desperate for a fix’ and his aristocratic life in the Mapperton mansion cannot be compared to most of us who have struggled on and off psychiatric drugs. Therefore I’d like to have seen chapters written by grassroots survivor activists in their own words, unedited, describing the reality of living with and/or coming off neurotoxins. This puts meat on the bones of scientific statistics and demographic details, helps give the reader a fuller picture of what it’s like to be disabled by psychiatric treatment. I thought the chapter by China Mills on psychopharmaceuticals in India was fascinating although I note that the writer is an academic at Sheffield University and doesn’t work with an NGO in India."
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A Bridge Over Troubled Water: Conflicts and Reconciliation in Groups and Society; edited by Gila Ofer
'“Traumas disrupt rhythms of life with cracks and disarray” [p120, Chapter 7, Marina Mojovic, “Untouchable infant gangs” in group and social matrices as obstacles to reconciliation] I have to admit to feeling unqualified to critique this book as I’m not a psychoanalyst or psychologist and don’t live in an obvious war zone although I am a psychiatric survivor Mother and blogger, a whistleblower about abusive treatment in a Scottish psychiatric ward, and have worked in community development with groups since 1980. There are so many layers to this storybook and collection of personal/professional perspectives that I cannot do it justice in 200 words. I didn’t agree with some of the group facilitation methods but I may have done the same in such conflicted situations. There was too much “hands on” or directive manipulation for my liking and the front cover illustration of the hand over the waters I think points to this. The chapter on forgiveness by the book editor contained many “must”s, was directive, and her understanding of the topic isn’t mine, as a Christian. I believe that the practice of forgiveness is of benefit first and foremost to the person who has been wronged, it brings peace, and does not require any action on the part of the other. Justice is a separate matter and can be left to a higher court."