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Mary Boyle

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Mary Boyle is Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of East London. She is best known for her work contesting the use of psychiatric diagnostic systems in clinical psychology, particularly with regard to schizophrenia. Her 2002 book "Schizophrenia: A scientific delusion" is a model of postmodern deconstruction in the mental health field


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Mary Boyle sees the 'diagnosis of schizophrenia' in terms of a medical model as problematic. She regards such a conceptualisation as unsupported by current research and based on correlations, rather than causal pathways. She points to phenomena such as visual and auditory hallucinations which are a large part of religious experience, and yet not regarded as mental illness and notes that a correlation may not necessarily demonstrate a biological disorder, but might reveal another factor at work. Mary Boyle suggests that by regarding 'schizophrenia' as a biologically rooted disorder, we ignore the part played by environmental factors such as stress. This, in turn, may lead us to miss ways to prevent this disorder.

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‘Preventing a Non-Existent Illness?: Some Issues in the Prevention of “Schizophrenia”’. Journal of Primary Prevention. 24 (2004) 445–469.

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