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Down the Rabbit Hole
Paul Kiritsis, PsyD Clinical Psychology, DPhil., MA (History)


The Creative Advantages of Schizophrenia

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The aphorism that madness and creative genius are opposing sides of the same coin predates contemporary psychiatry and has existed since the time of the great Stagirite Aristotle. Schizophrenia is one mental disorder intimately linked with creative thinking and achievement. There is no shortage of eminent scientists, thinkers, writers, artists, composers, and political activists tentatively theorized to have precariously balanced the great divide between the demons of schizophrenia and the muses of creative illumination–Rene Descartes, Emanuel Swedenborg, John Forbes Nash, Leonardo da Vinci, Joan of Arc, to name but a few. But is that association veracious in an empirical sense? And if it is, how exactly are they related? Using new empirical findings, this book sheds new light upon the age-old assumption and goes further still in explaining how creative potential with world-fashioning powers can be channeled in individuals with this diagnosis. Mental health practitioners will find this book both intriguing and useful.



“The enigmatic relationship between creativity and the psychopathology of schizophrenia is expertly confronted in this book. Kiritsis’ comprehensive, beautifully written exploration of this perplexing and fascinating topic addresses head-on how creative potential is channeled, and why this is important. As a mental health clinician, art therapist, and scholar, I am most impressed by Kiritsis’s well-informed recommendations for clinical practice related to impact on overall quality of life for persons with schizophrenia and their activities of daily living. The in-depth examination of the link between long-term functional gains in executive functioning and the quality of creative output has implications that extend well beyond the mental health community. This illuminating book is a must-read for all.”
– Donna Betts, PhD, ATR-BC


“Anyone deeply interested in the veracity of links between creative genius and psychological disorders will deem this well-written study stimulating and encouraging and find the symbolically related illustrations by the author (and other artists) fascinating.” – Kate Robinson, US Review of Books

The Creative Advantages of Schizophrenia is also surprisingly readable, allowing for the fact that it is an academic text. The book will appeal to clinicians and medical students. It may also be something that relatives and friends of schizophrenics might turn to in search of a greater understanding of the condition.” –Brendan Donaghy, The

“From the diagnosis of Schizophrenia and the treatment of the disease to the definition of creativity itself and how it can be related to those with mental illness, this book is a scientific study of creativity and mental illness like nothing else before it.” –Anthony Avina, Pacific Book Review  

“The book is brimming with haunting images by debut illustrator Christos Stamboulakis, the author’s cousin, and others, much of which depicts the struggle with psychosis. Kiritsis’ study is painstakingly argued—he furnishes a model of experimental meticulousness. In addition, the analysis is not just scientifically exacting, but reasonable as well—he draws on both his work as a “burgeoning clinician” and his experiences as an “untutored eyewitness.” –Kirkus Reviews

“If you’re looking for a more clinical approach to the connection between mental health diagnoses and creativity, and a fascinating foray into the “tortured artist,” The Creative Advantages of Schizophrenia by Paul Kiritsis should be at the top of your reading list.” – Tammy Ruggles, Reader Views