Kerstin Kempker (ed.)
Escape into Reality: The Berlin Runaway-house

(= FLUCHT IN DIE WIRKLICHKEIT – Das Berliner Weglaufhaus)

Kerstin Kempker344 pages, 60 photos, 65 illustrations, 15 x 21 cm, ISBN 978-3-925931-13-0. Berlin: Peter Lehmann Publishing 1998. Published in the German language!
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When (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry turn their back on detention and chemical treatment and get over crises without psychiatric drugs. A report about the first years of practise in the Berlin Runaway-House, the only publicly founded antipsychiatric place of refuge.

Publisher's information

"Escape into Reality" is reporting on the first years' practise in the Berlin Runaway-house. This unique publicly founded antipsychiatric place of refuge for (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry who are turning their back on detention and chemical treatment and get over crises without psychiatric drugs was opened in Germany in January 1996.

Beyond diagnoses, psychiatric drugs and electroshocks the support around the clock by the staff – half of them (ex-) users and survivors of psychiatry themselves – and the active living-together are providing to the residents an alternative to the passive getting cared for.

Thoughtfully and self-critically, wildly and contradictorily 20 authors describe and illustrate extraordinary and daily events in the Runaway-house, without any therapeutic ambitions. The chapters start with the ten years' struggle until the opening and the constant fight with the bureaucracy in the social departments. Subsequently the staff and the residents vividly depict the results of the past work, the coping with crises and the public response which implies acknowledgement in press and TV as well as the hard resistance of the neighbours. A very personal and exciting, excellently written and multifarious collection of partly bizarre experiences.

The Editor

Kerstin Kempker is co-founder of the Association for Protection against Psychiatric Violence (running the Runaway-house), social-scientist and working in the Runaway-house since its opening. Author of Teure Verständnislosigkeit – Die Sprache der Verrücktheit und die Entgegnung der Psychiatrie (Dear and expensive incomprehension: The language of madness and the psychiatric retort; Berlin 1991); editor of Statt Psychiatrie (Instead of psychiatry; Berlin 1993, together with Peter Lehmann). More about Kerstin Kempker