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Searching for a Rose Garden: challenging psychiatry, fostering mad studies

by Jasna Russo and Angela Sweeney PCCS Books
Pub Date:
Pbk 200 pages
AU$62.00 NZ$63.48
Product Status: In Stock Now
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Searching for a Rose Garden is an incisive critique of all that is unhelpful about sanestream understandings of and responses to mental distress. Drawing on world-wide survivor activism and scholarship, it explores the toxicity of psychiatry and the co-option and corruption of survivor knowledge and practice by the mainstream. Chapters on survivor research and theory reveal the constant battle to establish and maintain a safe space for experiential knowledge within academia and beyond. Other chapters explore how survivor-developed projects and practices are cultivating a wealth of bright blooms in the most hostile of environments, providing an important vision for the future.  


Referencing Joanne Greenberg’s book I Never Promised you a Rose Garden, this collection demonstrates the challenge, determination and successes of the authors in working towards a paradigm shift in the understanding of madness and distress. This landmark text is essential reading in the emerging field of Mad Studies.

Foreword by Brenda A. LeFrançois


Setting the scene

1. Responses to a legacy of harm  Mary O'Hagan

2. Alternatives or a way of life?  Bhargavi Davar

3. The haunting can end: trauma-informed approaches in healing from abuse and adversity  Beth Filson

4. The role of survivor knowledge in creating alternatives to psychiatry  Peter Beresford

5. The co-optation of survivor knowledge: the danger of substituted values and voice  Darby Penney and Laura Prescott


Survivor-produced knowledge

6. The transformative potential of survivor research  Angela Sweeney

7. Towards our own framework, or reclaiming madness part two  Jasna Russo

8. Whiteness in psychiatry: the madness of European misdiagnosis  Colin King

9. Deciding to be alive: self-injury and survival  Clare Shaw

10. Thinking (differently) about suicide  David Webb

11. Community Treatment Orders: once a rosy deinstitutional notion Erick Fabris

Survivor-controlled practice

12. Becoming part of each other's narratives:  Intentional Peer Support  Shery Mead and Beth Filson

13. We did it our way: Women's Independent Alcohol Support  Patsy Staddon

14. Sexual violence in childhood: demarketing treatment options and strengthening our own agency  Zofia Rubinsztajn

15. The Personal Ombudsman: an example of supported decision making  Maths Jesperson

16. Kindred Minds: a personal perspective  Renuka Bhakta

17. The Sunrise Project: helping adults recover from psychiatric drugs  Terry Simpson

Working in partnership

18. More voice, less ventriloquism: building a mental health recovery archive  Dolly Sen and Anna Sexton

19. Teaching (like) crazy in a mad-positive school: exploring the charms of recursion  Danielle Landry and Kathryn Church

20. Peer workers in the mental health system: a transformative or collusive experiment?  Celia Brown and Peter Stastny

21. Dilemmas of identity and power  Alison Faulkner

22. Is partnership a dirty word?  Cath Roper

23. Co-creating the ways we carry each other: reflections on being an ally and a double agent  Reima Ana Maglajlic

The search goes on


‘… an exceptionally insightful collection in which contributors reflect on the successes, setbacks, and ongoing challenges in contesting and supplanting psychiatry… The transformative effects of the collective knowledge woven together in this book will reverberate for decades to come.’ Dr Richard Ingram, Independent Mad Studies Researcher  


‘… a vital contribution to the building of Mad Studies as a discipline grounded in activist scholarship [and] a comprehensive and accessible must-read for those interested in building real alternatives to the limited, and often damaging, approaches to madness and distress that dominate today.’ Dr Brigit McWade, Sociology Department, Lancaster University  


‘A profoundly important volume and a herculean eff ort. Comprehensive, modern, bold, accessible, survivor-produced research, knowledge and practice. Searching for a Rose Garden offers concrete examples of people rejecting and altering “mental health” systems around the world. This is a must-read for anyone who has ever heard the word “psychiatry”.’ Lauren J Tenney, PhD, MPhil, MPA, Psychiatric Survivor
Jasna Russo comes from the former Yugoslavia and is based in Berlin, Germany, where she works as an independent researcher. She is a long-term activist in the international user/survivor movement. Jasna has an MA in clinical psychology and has worked on both survivor-controlled and collaborative research projects, including several large-scale international studies. Her articles have been published in anthologies and journals in Germany and the UK. In 2011 Jasna was the main organiser of the international conference “Searching for a Rose Garden. Fostering Real Alternatives to Psychiatry” which inspired this book. Her main interest is in exploring the accumulated knowledge of people treated as mad or ‘mentally ill’ and whether we can connect across the globe to jointly develop our own, first-person defined model of madness.


Angela Sweeney was part of her local survivor movement as a teenager and young adult, and conducted her first survivor research project as an undergraduate student in 1998.  Sometime after graduating, she joined the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health to work on a study of the British Survivor Movement (On Our Own Terms, 2003) before moving to the Service User Research Enterprise at the Institute of Psychiatry where she gained a PhD in medical sociology.  She has a particular interest in survivor controlled research, trauma-informed approaches, survivors' perspectives on and experiences of psychiatric services and treatments, and alternatives to mainstream biomedical psychiatry including trauma and social models of causation.  She is currently undertaking a five year Post-Doctoral Fellowship exploring assessment processes for talking therapies. She has two young children, a partner, and a cat.