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Miller, F. (1995). Experiences of Schizophrenia. Michael Robbins. New York: The Guilford Press, 1993. 511 pp.. Mod. Psychoanal., 20(1):107-110.

(1995). Modern Psychoanalysis, 20(1):107-110

Experiences of Schizophrenia. Michael Robbins. New York: The Guilford Press, 1993. 511 pp.

Review by:
Faye Miller

Robbins' book is an attempt to integrate the “personal, scientific and therapeutic” theories of schizophrenia. He comes to his task from thirty years of psychoanalytic and administrative experience working with schizophrenia. He provides a comprehensive history of the ideas about schizophrenia, including a clinical description which differentiates it from manic-depressive psychosis and other primitive mental states.

A central proposition of Robbins is that monism, “the belief that the phenomena under scrutiny may be exhaustively accounted for by a single science” (p. 23), will not help us to understand how schizophrenia develops, how it affects the person, or how it can be treated. He argues that both the “medical-scientific” and the “moral-psychological” viewpoints have much to learn from each other, and that neither is sufficient to understand schizophrenia since each may lead to reductionist thinking. “By reducing the diversity, complexity, and richness of the phenomenal world, reductionists devalue human life and experience” (p. 27). He argues strongly for the necessity of using psychological models of mind which include all the human scientific understandings available to us, stressing the difficulty of integrating concepts from the different sciences.

This book attempts to integrate theories on an organic, psychological, interpersonal, familial, and sociocultural basis. Robbins notes that one difficulty of integrating the theories is that essentially we may think we are talking the same language but may not be.

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