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Taming The Beast Within: Shredding the stereotypes of personality disorder

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’This is a must read book for nurses. Prof Tyrer is a huge advocate of nurses and those who have worked with him over the years will testify how he values the essential contribution that nurses make’

Title: Taming The Beast Within: Shredding the stereotypes of personality disorder

Author:  Prof Peter Tyrer

Publisher: Sheldon Press

Reviewer: Dr Peter Carter

What was it like?

This is a book that will challenge all health professionals to re-evaluate their thinking in relation to personality disorder. Peter Tyrer is a psychiatrist who has pushed the boundaries of clinical practice and has been at the forefront of developments that are now commonplace. For example he was a trailblazer in the development of Early Intervention Services (EIS), he was not without his critics and had to endure resistance and a good deal of cynicism. EIS is now commonplace. Like wise this book challenges the conventional wisdom of our understanding of personality disorder. For such a complex subject the book is easy to read and is to the point. It is rich with anecdote some of which is amusing, others thought provoking. Stephen Fry (who suffers from the effects of bipolar disorder) has written the foreword and there is an account of a chance meeting between Prof Tyrer and Stephen. There is an interesting chapter on Nidotherapy an approach that was conceived by the author and I believe in time will be part of the standard approach in the treatment of people who have mental health problems. The book covers a broad spectrum of issues for example a chapter entitled “What is personality” through to examining the new classification of personality disorder and a very original chapter entitled “Taming personality disorder”.

What were the highlights?

In addition to getting a debate on personality disorder out in the open Prof Tyrer corrects misconceptions about personality, including personality difficulty and disorder. The book is brim full of references that both students and professionals will find of immense value and most importantly so will the general public. This new and interesting perspective is not without controversy, which I believe, is no bad thing. We need challenge to perceived wisdom and by doing so our thinking is advanced.

Strengths and Weaknesses:

The fact that the book is concise and easy to read is a strength and of course Prof Tyrer’s refreshing approach to such a complex subject.

There are no obvious weaknesses, however the title is in many ways abstract and may put people off from reading the text.

Who should read it:

This is a must read book for nurses. Prof Tyrer is a huge advocate of nurses and those who have worked with him over the years will testify how he values the essential contribution that nurses make. He has been an advocate of muti disciplinary working and frequently promotes the need to involve nurses in the planning and delivery of care.

taming the beast within

taming the beast within

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