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Tue, 31 Jan 2023 06:36:36 -0600
2020-06-25 Print

New Novel Puts a Human Face to Schizophrenia

The word “Schizophrenia” is often used as a literary tool to incite horror and terror. A new novel, When Fish Dream written by Phillip Dunn takes a more personal look at the illness by exploring the recovery struggles of a man with the diagnosis as he works to overcome the stigma of the illness as well as the voices in his head.


Boerne, Texas 25 June, 2020 When Fish Dream is a new novel by Phillip Dunn that explores one individual’s recovery experience trying to rebuild his life and struggling to overcome the impact of social stigma and schizophrenia. The word “schizophrenia” has been used as a literary tool to incite horror and terror, often depicting someone not only ill, but dangerously obsessed. News reports linking individuals with a mental illness to crime often contribute to the social stigma and misunderstanding of the illness. In the Western world, these issues, among others serve to isolate and demonize individuals with schizophrenia, which exacerbates the illness.

When Fish Dream is not about schizophrenia, but about a man diagnosed with the illness. Kyle Gunther, the protagonist in When Fish Dream, returns to his home town, a small town in Texas, and begins the work of making schizophrenia a footnote to his life rather than that which dominates his life, by connecting with old friends, continuing his painting, and like most of us, trying to love and be loved. His past - some mysterious, dark and traumatic and some heroic and glorified - serves as the link and the barrier to his community and those who care about him.

When Fish Dream presents an individual diagnosed with schizophrenia who is immersed in a long recovery process from the illness. Dunn states, recovery“… is often confusing to some folks, because recovery as it is traditionally viewed means an absence of symptoms. Within the mental health community an absence of symptoms for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia (although it does happen) is unfortunately not currently a realistic goal. Life recovery however is a realistic goal: being integrated into the community where one has choices, being allowed to contribute through meaningful work (as determined by the person with the diagnosis), having hope to improve one’s life, and having the option to love and be loved.”

Dunn, who became a social worker at age 50, was the former founding member and program director of the Intensive Community Mental Health Recovery (ICMHR) program at the South Texas Veterans Healthcare System, located in San Antonio, Texas. ICMHR is comprised of multi-disciplinary teams serving Veterans diagnosed primarily with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression with psychosis. ICMHR operates from a community based recovery model, helping Veterans reconnect with the world and regain a life they want to lead. Mr. Dunn is now retired and lives in the Texas Hill Country with his wife, Kelly, outside of Boerne, Texas.

When Fish Dream is available in Kindle and paperback versions from

For more information about When Fish Dream contact Phil Dunn at (512) 566-2667 or

Contact Info
Phillip Dunn
132 Tower Road
Boerne, TX 78006]]]

Phone: (512) 566-2667

Website: http://