Mental health


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Photo by Martin Roemers/Panos

Essay/
Mental health
Unboxing mental health

Our system for diagnosing mental disorders doesn’t work. The transdiagnostic model offers a humane, clinically sound alternative

Melissa Black

Prisoner-patient William Porter, convicted of housebreaking and theft. From the Perth Criminal Lunatic Department Prison Register. December 1898. Crown copyright, National Records of Scotland, HH21/48/3

Essay/
Human rights and justice
Criminally insane

The insanity defence offends the conscience, has no basis in modern psychiatry, and penalises poor and black defendants

Susan Vinocour

Photo by Anush Babajanyan / VII for UNICEF / Redux / Headpress

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
Escaping a toxic childhood

A new therapy helps survivors improve their lives by facing the psychological impoverishment that often accompanies abuse

Steven N Gold

Saint Catherine of Siena (c1612) by Juan Bautista Maíno. Courtesy the Museo del Prado, Madrid

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Illness and disease
Unholy anorexia

Medieval mystics starved the body to feed the soul. Understanding this perfectionist mindset could help treat anorexia today

Paul Broks

Photo by Mark Cornick from the Soho Nights series

Essay/
Mental health
My psychosis

It was one terrifying, exciting night of delusions, hallucinations and paranoia. What would it teach a future psychologist?

Tom Hartley

Detail from Interior (with Gabriele Münter and Marianne von Werefkin) (1910), by Wassily Kandinsky. Photo by AKG London

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
Therapy that sticks

Quick-fix psychotherapies have been hailed as the gold standard. But depth therapies can be far more enduring and profound

Linda Michaels

Photo by Getty Images

Essay/
Illness and disease
Traumatised by the cure

Survivors of life-threatening illness can be left in profound fear and distress. Are they suffering from a form of PTSD?

Liza Gross

Aaron Hernandez of the New England Patriots celebrates a 12-yard touchdown against the New York Giants during Super Bowl XLVI on 5 February 2012. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

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Sports and games
Invisible tattoos

Many athletes are propelled by childhood trauma to succeed, but it’s a toxic myth that healing the wounds blunts the edge

William D Parham

Ostend, Belgium, 1988. Photo by Harry Gruyaert/Magnum Photos

Essay/
Mental health
Depressive realism

We keep chasing happiness, but true clarity comes from depression and existential angst. Admit that life is hell, and be free

Julie Reshe

Photo by Cavan Images/Getty

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
Cradled by therapy

Why therapy works is still up for debate. But, when it does, its methods mimic the attachment dynamics of good parenting

Elitsa Dermendzhiyska

Photo by Jean Gaumy/Magnum

Essay/
Psychiatry and psychotherapy
The awe of being alive

Existential therapy explores the darkest corners and craggy edges of the many-sided self. The result is true transformation

Kirk Schneider

Photo by Martin Parr/Magnum

Essay/
Personality
Spot the psychopath

Psychopaths have a reputation for cunning and ruthlessness. But they are more like you and me than we care to admit

Heidi Maibom

Photo posed by a model. Phillip Suddick/Getty

Essay/
Philosophy of mind
The problem of mindfulness

Mindfulness promotes itself as value-neutral but it is loaded with (troubling) assumptions about the self and the cosmos

Sahanika Ratnayake

Light amongst the murk. Photo by Gabriele Diwald/Unsplash

Essay/
Medicine
In defence of antidepressants

The backlash against antidepressants results from a suspicion of medicine, and misunderstands the very nature of depression

Vasco M Barreto