New release! The acclaimed author of An Unquiet Mind considers the age-old quest for relief from psychological pain and the role of the exceptional healer in the journey back to health.
“To treat, even to cure, is not always to heal.” In this expansive cultural history of the treatment and healing of mental suffering, Kay Jamison writes about psychotherapy, what makes a great healer, and the role of imagination and memory in regenerating the mind. From the trauma of the battlefields of the twentieth century, to those who are grieving, depressed, or with otherwise unquiet minds, to her own experience with bipolar illness, Jamison demonstrates how remarkable psychotherapy and other treatments can be when done well.
She argues that not only patients but doctors must be healed. She draws on the example of W.H.R. Rivers, the renowned psychiatrist who treated poet Siegfried Sassoon and other World War I soldiers, and discusses the long history of physical treatments for mental illness, as well as the ancient and modern importance of religion, ritual, and myth in healing the mind. She looks at the vital role of artists and writers, as well as exemplary figures, such as Paul Robeson, who have helped to heal us as a people.
Fires in the Dark is a beautiful meditation on the quest and adventure of healing the mind, on the power of accompaniment, and the necessity for knowledge.
By Kay Redfield Jamison. Hardcover. 400 pages. Published by Knopf, 2023.