Mind Myths: Exploring Popular Assumptions about Mind and Body. Sergio Della Sala (ed.). John Wiley & Sons, 1999. ISBN 0-471-98303-9. Price 19.99.

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  • INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GERIATRIC PSYCHIATRYInt[ J[ Geriatr[ Psychiatry 04\ 555 "1999#

    Copyright 1999 John Wiley + Sons\ Ltd[

    BOOK REVIEWS

    Serious Mental Illness and the Family[ DIANE T[ MARSH[John Wiley + Sons\ 0887\ pp[ 263[

    Diane Marsh is a Professor of Psychology at the Uni!versity of Pittsburgh\ so the American ~avour of thisbook should not surprise the reader[ For a simple Britishold age psychiatrist\ the {relational reimbursementdilemma| is both a tongue twister and an eye opener[What it means is that the diagnosis determines whetheror not an insurer will pay[ This can be a problem inworking with the families of people with mental illness\unless family members become {patients| too[ There is alot to be said for "what remains of# the NHS[

    Professor Marsh has an emotive style and clearly caresa lot about her patients and their families\ weaving storiesinto the text[ She has strong views regarding stigma\ andwould doubtless approve of the College|s campaign tochallenge stigma[ She distinguishes family consultation\designed to clarify a situation or reach a decision\ fromfamily therapy in a way which reveals a number of preju!dices about family therapy "e[g[ consultation is col!laborative and open] therapy is authoritarian andcommunication is concealed#[ Her three step model can

    Mind Myths] Explorin` Popular Assumptions about Mindand Brain[ SERGIO DELLA SALA "ed[#[ John Wiley + Sons\0888[ ISBN 9!360!87292!8[ Price -08[88[

    {Currently there is a gap between what scientists knowabout the mind and brain\ and the assumptions thatothers draw from sources of everyday information [ [ [|Mind Myths exposes some of the amazing neuro!psychological and cognitive phenomena reported in themedia[ {Even educated people take for granted a numberof misconceptions about brain mechanisms[| For exam!ple\ among a sample attending a University Open Day\over a quarter believed one can bend spoons by mentalenergy and almost three!quarters were convinced we onlyuse 09) of our brains[ Brain research has {long beenthe darling of those peddling pseudoscience in the pop!psychology marketplace|[ The human potential move!ment has realised the vast pro_ts to be made by exploitingdevelopments in this _eld for its own ends[ Especiallyin the USA\ there are now a variety of organisationsproducing eduction programmes to {educate| the rightbrain\ {smart cocktails| to enhance brain performance\

    be "and is# applied successively in almost any situation]step 0\ family consultation^ step 1\ development of anindividualised family service plan^ step 2\ referral forpsychotherapy[ Nevertheless\ the discussion and debateis thought!provoking and I did enjoy the book\ despiteits predictability in parts[

    Her family stories are a revelation[ It|s great that Pro!fessor Marsh sees such amenable compliant families\ butthey|re pretty rare in inner city Manchester[ O}ers torefer to educational programmes run in connection witha family advocacy organisation "of which ProfessorMarsh is an active member# are curiously well receivedby a variety of people[ It|s a pity that {serious mentalillness| appears to exclude dementias[ Readers can\however\ take away and apply the three steps themselves;

    Has Professor Marsh produced the practical guide thatshe was aiming for< Perhaps not\ but she has produced astimulating and readable book[ Buy it for your library\not for your bookshelf[

    SUSAN M[ BENBOWCentral Manchester Healthcare NHS Trust

    Carisbrooke Resource Centre\ Wenlock WayManchester UK

    programmes to improve one|s memory through sub!liminal messages and so on[ Trying to uncover the scien!ti_c basis for these assertions is hard\ sometimesimpossible\ making it di.cult to argue against them[Occasionally\ even famous scientists have latched ontoinsupportable notions and championed them to the det!riment of their reputations\ for example\ Linus Pauling|sexcessive claims for vitamin C[

    {Old age has a bad press with gloomy stereotypes[|However\ age does not a}ect all mental abilities to thesame extent[ Lifetime achievements in many intellectualpursuits may occur early in life\ but very high levels ofachievement can be maintained in middle age and per!haps beyond[ Another myth to rebut[

    This book tells a fascinating story\ and encourages thereader to challenge some of the many myths we encounterin our lives[ I recommend it[

    ROSALIND RAMSAYSouth London and Maudsley NHS Trust

    St[ Thomas| HospitalLondon\ UK

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