Picture this: Someone’s screaming at you as loud as they can for 45 minutes. For most people, that would be the stuff of nightmares. For author Jason Schreurs and members of the punk rock community, it’s therapy.
In Scream Therapy: A Punk Journey through Mental Health, Schreurs and other punks come to a life-changing realization—punk rock helped them at their lowest points and never left their sides. Coping with childhood abuse and an undiagnosed mental health condition, Schreurs discovers punk rock as a youth and becomes part of its tight-knit scene. When a psychiatrist blindsides him with a bipolar diagnosis in his late 40s, Schreurs begins his journey of mental health discovery. A longtime journalist, he gains the trust of other punks with lived experiences and tells their stories alongside his.
Scream Therapy champions the importance of creativity, identity, and wellness in a world that needs it now more than ever. The book challenges readers to find their own creative communities and the catharsis they provide. Punk musicians, advocates, activists, and fans present the subculture as a model for stronger support networks and a healthier, more empathic world. Meanwhile, psychiatrists, counsellors, and health practitioners—all with punk backgrounds—explore alternatives to traditional mental health approaches and treatments.
Featuring the stories of people who stand their ground in a society that discredits and overpathologizes them, Scream Therapy debunks misconceptions about punk and mental health. It shows how marginalized folks, such as those living with addiction, poverty, discrimination, and abuse histories find empowerment and understanding in the punk scene.
Schreurs’ attitude and conviction pogo-dance off the page as he and others claw through their worst days, seek stability, and support each other to live better lives, all to the soundtrack of pissed-off music in the best way possible.
Meanwhile, a masked screamer on a self-destructive tour may crack and never come back.
Told in three intersecting parts using memoir and literary journalism, Scream Therapy links punk rock’s nonconformist ethos to proactive health management.
In Scream Therapy, Schreurs discovers how to shape a healthy, stable life through punk-informed therapy. He also asks a crucial question. If punk rock can provide him and so many others with therapy, why aren’t more people screaming?
What People Are Saying
“Scream Therapy is a raw and vibrant account of the punk universe, and its integral relationship with mental health. You may recoil at times, but you’ll envy the energy and ultimate clarity of Schreurs’ writing, as he makes an impassioned plea for community as a response to the ostracism too many people with mental health conditions face.” Terri Cheney, New York Times best-selling author of Manic: A Memoir and Modern Madness
“Ferocious and measured, riotous and open-hearted, Scream Therapy demystifies both punk rock—the music, the scene, the way of life—and the mental health challenges that so often follow trauma. Schreurs has the reader howling along with him and his contemporaries as they dive again and again into the grey area between annihilation and deliverance to emerge bruised and renewed.” Naomi K. Lewis, award-winning author of Tiny Lights for Travellers
“When Jason interviewed me for his podcast, it was toward the end of the day, and the light got dimmer until he was a silhouette. It felt like we were teenagers hanging out after school in someone's basement, and neither of us got up to turn the light on. He was kind and rough-edged, and asked me some of the most gentle and insightful questions I've ever fielded. In Scream Therapy, Jason's writing has that same intimacy and immediacy, candid and welcoming, and he convinces the reader to look inside and hang in the basement with their own badass punk self.” Ellen Forney, New York Times best-selling author of Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me
“They say music can soothe the most savage beast, but what of our most intimate demons? Could punk make them play nice, or maybe even teach them how to dance in step? Schreurs investigates this question in his unflinching musical memoir-plus, a creative and experimental meditation on pain, pulse, punk, and the potential art has in linking us back to the world and—more importantly—to ourselves.” Katie Bickell, award-winning writer and author of Always Brave, Sometimes Kind
“Schreurs is an experienced and meticulous storyteller. Scream Therapy takes readers on a journey through the highs and lows of mental unwellness, using his own diagnosis of bipolar, and struggles with depression and mania. Scream Therapy is vivid, strikingly vulnerable, and transformative.” Wanda Taylor, educator and author of The Nova Scotia Home for Colored Children: the Hurt, the Hope, and the Healing
“Maybe you’ve never found salvation while slamming in a pit. Perhaps you’ve never pulled yourself up from the bottom by stage diving into the sweaty arms of skanking punks. But if you’ve ever found yourself face-down at a crossroads, wondering how to save your own life, Scream Therapy is for you. It’s funny, rowdy, heartbreaking, and hopeful—a riveting memoir about learning to heal and thrive despite the twin cloaks of shame and silence our culture would like to drop over the prevalent issue of mental health.” Cooper Lee Bombardier, author of Pass With Care: Memoirs