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Turtz, J. (2018). When the Sun Bursts: The Enigma of Schizophrenia, by Christopher Bollas, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2015, 226pp.. Am. J. Psychoanal., 78(2):209-212.
    

(2018). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(2):209-212

When the Sun Bursts: The Enigma of Schizophrenia, by Christopher Bollas, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2015, 226pp.

Review by:
John Turtz, Ph.D.

The writer and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel (1972), in his book of Hasidic tales entitled Souls on Fire: Portraits and Legends of Hasidic Masters, tells the story of a prince who believes himself to be a rooster. He refuses to wear clothes and spends all day hiding under a table. The king can find no one that can help his son. Finally, a sage tells the king that he thinks he can help. This man undresses and joins the prince under the table. The prince asks him what he is doing, and the sage tells him that he too is a rooster. From there on in, the healing process begins.

Christopher Bollas, in his book When the Sun Bursts: The Enigma of Schizophrenia, writes about the need for the healer to stand inside the shoes of the person with schizophrenia and enter that person's experiential world. In a world where genetic and neurobiological explanations and pharmacological treatments rule the day, it is refreshing to read a book that emphasizes an understanding of schizophrenia from the most existential and phenomenological of levels. And it is especially refreshing to hear someone emphasize the importance of human dialogue and the engaged encounter in the healing process of this most difficult of illnesses to cope with. This can be especially important in the initial stages of schizophrenia. Bollas writes, “If intensive psychotherapy is provided in the first few weeks of a person's schizophrenic onset, there's a good chance that clinicians will see transformations back to non-psychotic functioning” (p.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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