Communication and Mental Illness: Theoretical and Practical Approaches

Communication and Mental Illness: Theoretical and Practical Approaches

Communication and Mental Illness: Theoretical and Practical Approaches

Communication and Mental Illness: Theoretical and Practical Approaches


Communication and Mental Illness is a comprehensive and practical textbook which presents the key themes in the practice of speech therapy in psychiatry. It describes communication problems associated with different kinds of disorders, including the autistic spectrum disorders, and details practical techniques which can be applied to them.


This scholarly book builds a strong bridge between speech and language therapists and mental health professionals – as well as with those who suffer from mental disorders. The book is indeed about 'mental illness' and the way in which it can distort communication; it is also about mental health and how this can be achieved in the presence of mental illness. It makes a cogent case for speech and language therapists becoming integral members of mental health teams. It is clearly born out of familiarity with the impact of severe mental illness, the inherent importance of its knowledge base and the need to evaluate treatment outcomes.

At a time when all health professionals are relocating their own profession specific skills and recognising those skills which are generic, Jenny France and Sarah Kramer have clarified the specific roles of speech and language therapists within the mental illness field. In so doing they have helped to clarify the roles and responsibilities of others.

They make a cogent case for the 'added value' provided by speech and language therapists which is self-evident to practitioners in the field. The academic training of speech and language therapists is apparent in this comprehensive and well referenced text.

Indeed it is the communication difficulties associated with cognitive impairment as well as mood disorder which can make the management of patients with mental disorder daunting even for the experienced clinician, and difficult for students. To understand more fully the neurophysiology of speech disorders and to appreciate what treatments are available can help overcome these problems.

Practitioners in this field, including psychiatrists, will welcome this book so evidently derived from firsthand knowledge of the devastating effect of mental illness on communication, and yet of the prospect for improvement and, at times, cure.

It is much to be hoped that this text will unlock the research funding which will allow greater evaluation and audit of this evidence-based discipline. Because of the scarcity of resource the more precise targeting of these specialist skills may then emerge. It is characteristic of their profession that the editors do not beat about the bush with regard to the nature of mental disorder and the need for a diagnostic assessment approach. It is here that speech and language therapists have such concise skills that must surely lead to improved management.

John Cox,


Royal College of Psychiatrists . . .

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