What is Normal?: Psychotherapists Explore the Question - ed. Jane Ryan and Roz Carroll


Many people strive to be normal, and deviation from accepted norms can feel like failure. But why do we want to be normal? And what does that mean? Ordinary? Sane? Similar? When probed, the notion of normality starts to look fragile. It is not clear who decides what being normal means or who is entitled to say. Nonetheless, concerns about conforming and being accepted are deeply pervasive.

With an extraordinary diversity of perspectives, the authors featured in this collection all psychotherapists use biographical accounts, political analyses and clinical vignettes to challenge the concept of normality. Through these stories and discussions, it emerges that our very uniqueness, oddness and differences as individuals are what make us fully human. At a time of rapid social change, the freedom to be oneself whatever form that takes is at the core of contemporary debate, and this volume makes a vital contribution to that project.





1. The new normal - Tania Glyde

2. Therapy and hope: are they really normal? - Andrew Samuels

3. No escape from ‘normal’ - Doris Brothers

4. The normal couple therapist - Jane Haberlin

5. Your normal, my normal. Disruptions, accommodations and respect between therapist and patient - Susie Orbach

6. Black paranormal: a playlist - Foluke Taylor

7. Normal sex - Meg-John Barker

8. Minding the gap: a couple psychotherapist’s perspective - Christopher Clulow

9. Born to love, driven to destroy - Felicity de Zulueta

10. The myth of normality - Chris Oakley

11. The shifting landscape of sexual normality - Dany Nobus

12. Norms and normality: a socio-psychoanalytic approach - Stephen Seligman

13. Why would I want to be normal? - Lennox K. Thomas

14. The problem of words. It’s why we are all mad! - Phil Mollon

15. Negotiating the normal - Ann Shearer

16. Flourishing: the ‘normal’ therapist versus the‘healthy’ therapist - Brett Kahr

17. Cultural schizophrenia and internalised racism are not normal - Isha Mckenzie-Mavinga

18. In the therapy room: are all patients normal? - Valerie Sinason

19. When simply being human is abnormal - Stephen Setterberg

20. Future flat-packed or future fluid? Why normal is the problem - Roz Carroll



Publisher: Confer Books

Published: November 2020

Format: Paperback

Pages: 192

Dimensions: 23.4 x 1.8 x 15.6 cm

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