Fifteen Eighty Four

Academic perspectives from Cambridge University Press


Fish’s Clinical Psychopathology (Fifth Edition)

Brendan Kelly, Patricia Casey

Psychopathology is fascinating. It is the science and study of psychological and psychiatric symptoms. A clear understanding of clinical psychopathology lies at the heart of effective delivery of psychiatric care. Psychopathology is essential.

For many years, the central textbook in this field was a 128-page volume written in 1967 by Frank Fish, titled Clinical Psychopathology: Signs and Symptoms in Psychiatry. A classic of precision and concision, Fish’s Clinical Psychopathology soon became an essential text for medical students, psychiatric trainees, and all healthcare workers involved in the delivery of mental health services. A revised edition, edited by Max Hamilton, appeared in 1974 and was reprinted as a second edition in 1985.

By the 2000s, Fish was essentially impossible to obtain. Most trainees had heard about it but had not seen it. Legends fade over time, however, and there was a real risk that Fish’s superb handbook would disappear into the distant past. Thus, the third edition, co-revised by us, was published in 2007 by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. The purpose of the third edition was to introduce this classic text to a new generation of psychiatrists and trainees, and to reacquaint existing aficionados with the elegant insights and enduring values of Fish’s original work.

Following publication, a great majority of people welcomed our lightly edited, updated text, and a small number objected to the notion that Fish needed any changes or updating. The book was soon the best-selling title published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. It was translated into Italian (2009), Japanese (2010), and Chinese (2022). A South Asian edition was published by Cambridge University Press.

In 2019, we produced a fourth edition of Fish, with updated references, new material relating to the most recent diagnostic classification systems, and an additional chapter looking at controversies in classifying psychiatric disorders.

Now, we have published a fifth edition. This volume has further updates on classification systems (e.g., ICD-11), suggested questions to assist with eliciting key symptoms, and – of course – the clinical descriptions and psychopathological insights for which this text is long renowned. The cover is also updated to give a fresh, modern feel to the volume, without abandoning the classical look of the original book.

As ever, this work has been a joy. Psychopathology is infinite, and there is always scope for revision, refinement, and change. This needs to be balanced with the enduring elements of the field, and the remarkable constancy of certain symptoms and signs in psychiatry. Despite this element of consistency, interpretative frameworks shift over time, diagnostic systems are revised, and language evolves to reflect society. These factors necessitate occasional, judicious, reflective reconsideration of most texts. Despite its iconic status, Fish is no different. We are happy to present this fifth revision in early 2024. If this new edition makes the insights of Frank Fish available to a new generation of readers and trainees, it will have all been richly worthwhile – again.

Fish’s Clinical Psychopathology by Patricia Casey and Brendan Kelly

Title: Fish’s Clinical Psychopathology

Authors: Patricia Casey and Brendan Kelly

ISBN: 9781009372695

About The Authors

Brendan Kelly

Brendan Kelly is Professor of Psychiatry at Trinity College Dublin and Consultant Psychiatrist at Tallaght University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. He has written more than 250 peer-r...

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Patricia Casey

Patricia Casey is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at University College Dublin and Consultant in Liaison Psychiatry at the Hermitage Medical Clinic, Dublin, Ireland. She is Visiti...

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