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Richard Bentall (born 1956) is currently appointed as a Chair of Clinical Psychology at the University of Bangor in Wales, UK and is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist. Born in Sheffield, he attended the University College of North Wales, Bangor as an undergraduate before registering for a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the same institution. After being awarded his doctorate, he moved to the University of Liverpool to undertake professional training as a Clinical Psychologist. He later returned to his alma mater of Liverpool to work as a lecturer, after a brief stint working for the National Health Service as a Forensic Clinical Psychologist. In later years, he studied an MA in Philosophy Applied to Healthcare from University of Wales, Swansea. He was eventually promoted to Professor of Clinical Psychology at University of Liverpool. In 1999, he accepted a position at the University of Manchester, collaborating with the numerous researchers working in understanding the psychology and treatment of psychotic experiences.

He is particularly well known for this work in psychosis, especially delusions and hallucinations. He has published extensively in these areas.[1] He also has an interest in differences between human and animal pedagogy and in the treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome.

In 1989 he was awarded the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology 'May Davidson Award'. This is an annual award for outstanding contributions to the field of clinical psychology in the first ten years after qualifying.[2]

In 1992, he proposed to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder.[3]

He has edited and authored several books, most notably Madness Explained, which was winner of the British Psychological Society Book Award in 2004. He advocates a psychological approach to the psychoses, and considered symptoms worthwhile investigating in contrast to the Kraepelinian syndromes (refuting Kraepelin's big idea is the starting chapter of this book). A review by Paul Broks in The Sunday Times summarized its position as: "Like Szasz, Bentall is firmly opposed to the biomedical model, but he also takes issue with extreme social relativists who would deny the reality of madness." In the book, Bentall also argues that there's no clear distinction between those diagnosed with mental illnesses and the "well". While this notion is more widely accepted in psychiatry when it comes to anxiety and depression, Bental insists that schizotypal experiences are also common.[4]

His latest book is Doctoring the Mind. A review of this book by neuroscientist Roy Sugarman found that it allies itself with the anti-psychiatry movement in the critiques biological psychiatry.[5] The review in PsycCRITIQUES was more nuanced pointing out that Bentall does not reject psychopharmacology, but he is concerned over its overuse.[6]


  • Bentall, Richard (2009). Doctoring the mind: is our current treatment of mental illness really any good?, NYU Press. (The UK title is Doctoring the Mind: Why Psychiatric Treatments Fail)[5]
  • Morrison, A. P. & Renton, & J & French P & Bentall, R. P. (2008) Think You're Crazy? Think Again: A Resource Book for Cognitive Therapy for Psychosis London: Routledge. ISBN 978-1583918371
  • Bentall, R. P. (2003) Madness Explained: Psychosis and Human Nature London: Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 0-7139-9249-2
  • Bentall, Richard (1999). Why There Will Never Be a Convincing Theory of Schizophrenia. In S. Rose (ed). From brains to consciousness? Essays on the new sciences of mind London: Penguin Books.
  • Bentall, R. P. & Slade, P. D. (eds) (1992) Reconstructing Schizophrenia London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-01574-X
  • Bentall, R. P. & Slade, P. D. (1988) Sensory Deception: A Scientific Analysis of Hallucination Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-3760-X

See also Edit


  1. list of publications from Bangor staff profile. URL accessed on 2009-01-08.
  2. British Psychologist Society list of May Davidson Award previous winners. URL accessed on 2009-01-08.
  3. (1992). A proposal to classify happiness as a psychiatric disorder.. Journal of medical ethics 18 (2): 94–8.
  4. Paul Broks (July 27, 2003) Review: Psychiatry: Madness Explained by Richard P Bentall
  5. 5.0 5.1 Review - Doctoring the Mind: Is Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good? by Richard Bentall, NYU Press, 2009, Review by Roy Sugarman, Ph.D., Aug 25th 2009 in Metapsychology online reviews, Volume 13, Issue 35
  6. Understanding and Treating Madness: Biology or Relationships? A review of Doctoring the Mind: Is Our Current Treatment of Mental Illness Really Any Good? by Richard P. Bentall, PsycCRITIQUES, 2010 Vol 55(7)

External linksEdit

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