Far be it from me –

Guest Post from Charlotte Baker : The “Encounters” Series (PCCS Books)

on July 29, 2013

I just wanted to draw your attention to a new series of books published by PCCS Books in the UK.  Having read all (and co-authored one) – I can attest to how powerful these narratives are, and how useful I’ve found them in my own teaching and understanding. I have recommended them previously to students who have also found them extremely useful.

‘The ‘Our Encounters with…’ series collect together unmediated, unsanitised narratives by service-users, past service-users and carers and survivors. These stories of direct experience will be of great benefit to those interested in narrative enquiry, and to those studying and practising in the field of mental health.’

The three published so far are:

–      Our Encounters with Suicide (ed. Alec Grant, Judith Haire, Fran Biley and Brendan Stone)http://www.pccs-books.co.uk/products/our-encounters-with-suicide/#.Ue-sV9I3uSq (£16)

The collection brings together a range of voices on the theme of suicide — those who have been suicidal, alongside the friends, family and staff who have lived and worked with them.  Too often the rhetoric of ‘suicidology’ is occupied only by those who have never had personal experience of suicidality. The first-person voice is strangely absent.  These frank accounts go some way to correcting the balance. We hope that these narratives will be helpful for people who may have had similar encounters, or are harbouring future suicidal intentions, and for those who care for them personally or professionally; that readers can use the stories in the book to make better sense of their own experiences and decisions. Ultimately we hope that the book will facilitate a more empathic understanding of the experiences of others generally, and of people who were close to and have been lost to suicide.


–       Our Encounters with Self Harm (ed. Charley Baker, Clare Shaw and Fran Biley): http://www.pccs-books.co.uk/products/our-encounters-with-self-harm/#.Ue-sp9I3uSo (available for pre-order) (£16)

This collection brings together a range of voices on the theme of self-harm – from those who have experienced self-harm directly, alongside the friends, family and staff who live and work with self-harm. Too often, our understanding of the unique and complex experiences of people who self-harm is limited to concepts of mental illness, disorder and disease. Yet these stories demonstrate the strength, survival and recovery of people with rich and diverse lives.

Inspiring, hopeful and at times challenging to read, the contributors who have so generously shared their experiences in this book will promote understanding and compassion, improve attitudes and care, and offer hope to those who are personally encountering self-harm. In this respect, this book is of immense value to all those working with self-harm across a spectrum of services and roles, and to those living with self-harm.


–       Our Encounters with Madness (ed. Alec Grant, Fran Biley and Hannah Walker): http://www.pccs-books.co.uk/products/our-encounters-with-madness#.Ue-tDNI3uSo (£17)

A collection of user, carer and survivor narratives, this book is grouped under five themes: On diagnosis; Stories of experience (of mental health problems); Experiencing the mental health system; On being a carer and Abuse and Survival.
The book should be of great benefit to students of mental health, narrative enquiry, user and carers, and those interested in the pedagogy of suffering more generally. Unlike most other books in this genre, the narratives are unmediated. Written by experts by experience, there are no professional, biomedical or psychotherapeutic commentaries, which so often serve to capture, tame or sanitise such stories of direct experience.

Available now to purchase via the website at a reduced price.

Kind regards


Charley Baker

Lecturer in Mental Health

School of Nursing, Midwifery and Physiotherapy

University of Nottingham


Associate Editor, Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing


ADDRESS: Royal Derby Hospital, Uttoxeter Road, Derby, DE22 3DT, UK

EMAIL: charlotte.l.baker@nottingham.ac.uk

PHONE: +44 (0)7940593753 / +44 (0)1332724922

WEBSITES: www.madnessandliterature.org / http://www.healthhumanities.org

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