Understanding Psychosis: Issues, Treatments, and Challenges for Sufferers and Their Families

Author(s): Donald Capps


Severe mental illness afflicts many men and women throughout their lives, often without warning, and almost always with devastating results. This book takes a look at psychosis, and contends that although the delusions and hallucinations of the psychotic person are misguided and confused, they are understandable when viewed in the context of a person's life. Using real life examples, Capps covers the prevalence of psychotic illness; the long-range effects of deinstitutionalization on mentally ill persons, their families, and their communities; family members' responses to their mentally ill relative; rehabilitation and prevention approaches and methods; the nature of delusions and hallucinations; the delusional belief that one is someone else; and the realization of mental stability.


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Once again, Dr. Capps provides the reader with a unique slant on the intersection between contemporary life and the psychoanalytic tradition, broadly understood. Here his dialog partners include mental illness research and John Nash's game theory in conversation with recent schizophrenic brain studies and Erik Erikson's work on "acute identity confusion." Capps' conclusions have the capacity to provoke 'empathetic curiosity' in anyone willing to enter into the mysterious and potentially revelatory realm of psychosis, a world in which we all live to one degree or another. -- Carol J. Cook, Louisville Seminary Understanding Psychosis is at once a compassionate and alarming book. Donald Capps calls us to respond to an epidemic of severely mentally ill individuals on our streets, in our prisons, in our communities and in our families. Drugs alone, he demonstrates, will not cure this suffering, which touches all of us. Capps' powerful book is a clarion call for human solidarity along with badly needed health care resources and services. -- Thomas R. Cole, Institute for Medical Humanities, University of Texas Don Capps achieves his primary aim of drawing in curious readers to understand the complexities and challenges of living with schizophrenia. His profound insight into the perplexing reality of mental illness combines with his erudition on this important subject. Drawing on extensive research and using compelling case studies, Capps opens us up to the anguishing reality of living with mental illness. Capp's compassionate and helpful style leaves the reader feeling hopeful, empowered, and informed on such a crucial topic. This is an important book which will be a great help for all who care about persons inflicted with 'the invisible epidemic of mental illness'. -- Phil C. Zylla, McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario Psychosis: madness, insanity, violence, danger, 'utterly out of control, maniacal, and subhuman.' Of all the categories of mental disorders, public (and all too often professional) understanding of psychosis often places it first in stigmatization and last in actual understanding. Capps has written many books that examine pastoral and theological implications for counseling and mental stability. With this new book, the focus is more on the generalizations--both correct and incorrect--that are applied to this severe mental illness, and how practitioners and caregivers might better understand treatment options. Capps comes at psychosis from multiple, well considered angles, including placing delusional thought patterns in the context of a client's overall life story; the effects of psychosis on family members and the community (and, to a lesser degree, the transition from institutional care to community-based services); proactive and reactive treatment modalities; and seeking a common definition for the idea of 'mental stability.' Capps' inquiry is neither oversimplified, nor is it bogged down by providing elaboration where none is indicated. The introduction alone recommends this book as a fine primer in psychosis. Booklist Donald Capps sheds new light on a contemporary issue affecting all members of our society. Mental illness touches each one of us in some way-as victims, family members, friends, practitioners, or partners in faith. We find ourselves in a crisis as a nation, resulting from a decreased investment in the plight of the mentally ill. Pertinent topics are addressed regarding the ability of families to cope with mental illness and the possible prevention or remission of serious psychosis. Don is a master at incorporating personal narratives and biographies to illustrate these complex concepts. I strongly recommend this work to anyone who struggles with questions related to the psychotic mind. -- Grafton T. Eliason, Pennsylvania Counseling Association, California University of Pennsylvania

Donald Capps, professor of pastoral psychology at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1981 to 2009, teaches courses on mental illness, developmental theory, and older adults. He has served as editor of the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion and president of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. His books include Men, Religion, and Melancholia, Social Phobia: Alleviating Anxiety in an Age of Self-promotion, Fragile Connections: Memoirs of Mental Illness for Pastoral Care Professionals, A Time to Laugh: The Religion of Humor, Young Clergy: a Biographical-Developmental Study, Jesus the Village Psychiatrist, and The Decades of Life: A Guide to Human Development.

Introduction 1. The Epidemic of Mental Illness 2. The Failure of Deinstitutionalization 3. The Effects of Mental Illness on Family Members 4. The Prevention of Mental Illness 5. John Nash: Acute Identity Confusion 6. John Nash: The Goal of Mental Equilibrium Epilogue

General Fields

  • : 9781442205932
  • : Rowman Littlefield
  • : Rowman Littlefield Publishers
  • : August 2014
  • : United States
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Donald Capps
  • : Paperback
  • : 616.89
  • : 288