Ivor Browne: Music and Madness tipped to be summer bestseller
The Irish Independent on Saturday April 5th has said that all told Music and Madness is a fascinating insight into the mind of one of Ireland's true thinker-pioneers and, in passing, into Ireland itself. It's going to be this summer's big bestseller.
Music and Madness is the finest example of a certain type of radical Irish life since Noel Browne’s Against the Tide. Vivid, strange, moving, brilliant.
Sebastian Barry, writer
This is an open, honest and deeply personal account of Ivor Browne’s personal and professional journey to discover the sense behind much of what we regard as madness. His central message is that healing and integration are possible, if we are willing to “unfreeze” our inner lives and experience genuine hurt and pain that we have disavowed. This book is written in a style that is accessible and compassionate; it leaves one with renewed hope and with a reverence for the mystery embodied in every human being.
Dr Tony Bates, psychologist
Music and Madness, by the eminent psychiatrist Ivor Browne, should hearten anyone who has ever felt gauche, inadequate, unwanted, a failure, a ‘mistake’, lonely; the honesty of this memoir is remarkable. It’s an inspiring book.
Tom Murphy, playwright
Music and Madness is a brilliant book that needed to be written, and deserves to be read by as many people as possible; psychiatrists, other mental health workers, psychiatric patients, policy makers and members of the general public; in fact, any one who has ever experienced psychological trauma or suffering in their own lives, or in their families or communities.
Drawing daringly and courageously on his personal and professional experience a s a U.C.D. and Harvard trained scientist and psychiatrist, Professor Browne, like many of the great psychological and psychiatric thinker-pioneers before him, explains how he has derived his empirical ideas and therapeutic approaches though 50 years of hands-on observation and interaction with psychiatric patients, families, institutions and even whole communities undergoing or crisis or breakdown.
Calling attention to what can only be regarded as a world-wide pandemic of mindless prescription drug misuse by psychiatrists and other physicians to patients who may not need them, Professor Browne warns that use of these medications, while sometimes essential to achieve some short-term and long term therapeutic gains, may also block access to natural healing resources in the patient that are essential for recovery from trauma and breakdown, and which can be mobilized more efficiently and safely through various forms of individual and holistic group psychotherapy with a spiritual foundation.
Professor Browne, who uses psychotropic medications in his private practice of psychiatry when indicated, emphasizes that whether such drugs are indicated in treatment, they should not be permitted to postpone or eliminate altogether the vital therapeutic opportunity for personal experience of “authentic suffering” that he regards as being essential to the overall healing process that leads to recovery from mental illness and addiction.
Important and crucial to our understanding of the “human condition” as I believe Music and Madness to be, I am sure it will cause controversy, and in all probability will be received by the psychiatric community with some measure of outrage and even rebuke.
Garrett O’Connor, M.D. Chief Executive Officer The Betty Ford Institute for Addiction Research, Prevention and Education Rancho Mirage, California. USA