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NZ psychosis researcher speking in Melbourne

MEDIA RELEASE 26 April, 2006

The New Zealand editor of the controversial book 'Models of Madness', which argues that schizophrenia is not an illness but an understandable reaction to life events, will be giving three seminars in Melbourne this week. The book, launched in Melbourne in 2004, has already been reprinted three times and translated into Spanish and Swedish.

On Friday (9am) Dr John Read (Senior Lecturer, Psychology Dept., University of Auckland) will give a keynote address to approximately 700 mental health professionals at the 'Partnerships Towards Recovery' conference [] at the Caulfield Racecourse Function Centre. His lecture, entitled, 'Partnerships and Power: Ideological and Economic Barriers To Humane, Evidence Based Services', will discuss the negative impact of a simplistic biological approach to mental health issues and the role of the pharmaceutical industry.

Dr Read will also give two seminars, to psychiatrists and other mental health staff, at the Royal Melbourne Hospital on Thursday, presenting the research which shows that child abuse is a causal factor for psychosis.

A recent review of 'Models of Madness' in Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry:

"This is mandatory reading for all psychiatrists. It shakes many of the shibboleths of psychiatry and does so with some sound science. * For the 'schizophrenia is a brain disease' theorists and the 'it's in your genes, families are blameless and it has nothing to do with childhood experiences' theorists: read this book and re-examine your tenets."

Newsweek (December 12, 2005) described Dr Read's recent paper in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica on child abuse and schizophrenia as "the most definitive look at schizophrenia to date" adding that "The cumulative impact of this research has swayed opinion in the profession's highest echelons. At the American Psychiatric Society's annual conference in August, the organization's president, Steven S. Sharfstein, noted that antipsychotic medicines now generate $6.5 billion in sales a year and registered concern that mental disorders are being overmedicalized: 'As a profession, we have allowed the bio-psychosocial model to become the bio-bio-bio model.' "

The Guardian (UK) (22 October 2005) - on the same paper:
'The psychiatric establishment is about to experience an earthquake that
will shake its intellectual foundations. When it has absorbed the juddering
contents of the latest edition of one of its leading journals, Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, it will have to rethink many of its most cherished assumptions.'

Dr Read is currently involved in a patient-led campaign to ban electroshock therapy in New Zealand.


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