The Last Asylum by Barbara Taylor- Book Review
The Last Asylum by Barbara Taylor
Some of you will have already heard this on R4 Book of the Week or see the extracts and reviews in the press. I was lucky to buy my copy at the launch party at the Wellcome Institute and I started on it immediately on the train home!
I'm always interested in books about the therapeutic process and the history of how 'mental health' or psychological problems are understood and treated.
Barbara Taylor is a feminist historian who also had a major breakdown, during which she admitted herself to one of the last huge Victorian Asylums in North London. This is a very readable account - part diary, part history, part polemic about the kinds of interventions that help people when they are in profound psychological distress.
Her plea is for us to retain community spaces and genuine, relational support for patients, in a system in which mainly drugs and mechanistic CBT type therapies are now offered.
The actual last asylum she refers to is now a gated luxury housing development of course!