Getting Past “Blaming the Brain”

ISPS member John Read has been a leader in researching the connection between adverse events like child abuse and later experiences seen as psychosis.  Now, in his first ever blog post, he’s written a very readable and even funny account of the way the field is shifting to being able to see psychosis as being about something beyond activity localized in someone’s brain.

For example he writes that:

This all reminds me that a few years back Robin Murray, Professor of Research at London’s Institute of Psychiatry, announced from a Canadian conference stage that ‘The schizophrenia wars ended in the 1970s’. I couldn’t help raising my hand and pointing out that the occupying force in a colonial war is usually quick to announce the end of hostilities, and that the war would not be over until the occupying forces withdrew to the appropriate boundary.

It is remarkable then that the relationship between trauma and psychosis – heresy just 15 years ago – is now one of the strongest and most consistent findings in our field. How times have changed – and how quickly. I now hear people saying ‘What’s all the fuss about? We always knew that – nothing controversial there’. Some of the most scathing critics of our first few papers are now happily putting their names on papers confirming the relationship.  I was moaning about the ‘hypocrisy’ of all this to my colleague Richard Bentall recently and he replied ‘John, John, – you’ve won and you’re still bitching!’

I suggest reading the entire blog post available at this link, 20 years on: Finally our myopic brain obsession is on the wane


About Ron Unger

I am a licensed clinical social worker and therapist who works with people diagnosed with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, using a respectful and skill building approach called cognitive therapy for psychosis. I also talk and teach seminars related to this approach. You can read more about me and about how I became interested in this field by going to my blog,, and clicking on the tab "about Ron Unger."
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