Book Promo: ‘Scream Therapy: A Punk Journey through Mental Health’ by Jason Schreurs

Can folks use punk as a qualitative tool to process trauma? I’m convinced they can. Trauma dissipates with therapy, creative expression, and physical activity. Punk combines all three. For me, punk is both the sword and the shield I use to fight my daily battles. Jason Schreurs, ‘Scream Therapy’ (2023, p.21)

Back in late 2020, I had the honour of being interviewed by Canadian writer, creator and punk diehard Jason Schreurs as part of his Scream Therapy podcast. The series is an ongoing deep-dive into Jason’s theory of punk rock and its community ethos as a ‘catalyst for mental health’ – and for some people, a life-changer/saver in the face of severe mental health challenges.

At that time, Jason was working on a book project based on his personal experiences of punk and trauma, interwoven with the stories and insights of his podcast contributors – an expansive mix of musicians and mental health professionals, advocates and activists, linked by a common connection to punk music and the many individual ways that can manifest. It is with great fraternal pride that I can now present the wonderful fruits of his labour.

‘Scream Therapy: A Punk Journey through Mental Health’ is available to purchase from ScreamTherapyHQ here: – and the AK Press website here:

Posting on a humble little website blog such as this can sometimes feel like writing into the ether, so it was a very lovely surprise to have Jason contact me on the back of a 2018 entry here called ‘Punk Rock Doesn’t Give a Shit About Your Inner Critic,’ which he had come across as part of his research.

Fast-forward to last week, where I receive the ‘Scream Therapy’ book in the post from Jason and find 4 pages centred on our conversation and shared ideas (‘Yes, punk is therapy, but therapy is also punk’) – now that’s a real full-circle moment, and a nice reminder that the concepts of connection and community can take many forms.

Equal parts congratulations to Jason on this achievement – and gratitude for being a small part of it!


Scream Therapy podcast appearance + ‘Write Your Revolution!: A Punk Rock Self-Esteem Workbook’

In July 2018 I wrote a blog post here about my perception of a link between therapy and punk rock, particularly from a self-esteem point of view. Happy with my effort, the post joined its comrades and, as far as I was concerned, was lying dormant until, last November, I had an out-of-the-blue email from a Canadian fellow called Jason Schreurs telling me he was writing a book and doing a podcast about punk rock and mental health, and would I have time for an interview to talk about my ideas?

As surprised as I was, Jason’s timing was prescient in that I had just the day before been talking to my writing mentor, Meg-John Barker, about potentially taking the DNA of that punky blog post and forging it into some kind of therapeutic writing resource built around a three-pronged attack of resistance, rebellion and reclamation.

Speaking to Jason on Zoom later that week, I was excited and humbled to have been given the opportunity to talk to a likeminded individual (and perceptive interviewer) about my affiliation with punk and its impact on my life. Surveying the wealth of interviews already populating his Scream Therapy podcast site, I was also enthused to see just how many other people Jason had tracked down who shared our take on a connection between punk and mental health, featuring both on-the-ground punk band members and mental health professionals with a punk background of some kind. This was most definitely a project that I was proud to be a part of, and it spurred me on to complete my own, which by now had a definite name – Write Your Revolution.

And so it has come to pass this week, that both the podcast interview and my writing resource have taken their place in two corners of the internet, ready for any interested party who might stumble upon them. As a friend commented after I shared the interview with him, ‘It’s gas how content you create can travel so far and resonate with people so long as it’s real and true.’ As hackneyed as it might sound, if either make an impact of any kind on even one person, then that’s something I’ll happily take with me on the rest of my journey.


Punk Rock Doesn’t Give a Shit about Your Inner Critic

I’ve been listening to a lot of punk recently, bands like Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Bikini Kill. This is a natural progression from the punk that has populated my music taste since I got into the Stooges and the Ramones at the age of 17 and never looked back. Punk can be almost simultaneously silly and serious, political and personal, high-stakes and throwaway, but whether it’s the Sex Pistols seeking to dismantle the monarchy, Kathleen Hanna refusing to let anyone dictate her choice of best friend, or the Replacements advocating running a red light, the common thread is nearly always some overarching element of rebellion.

There is a great clip of punk-precursor legends the New York Dolls playing BBC music show The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973 (watch it HERE). They perform ‘Looking for a Kiss,’ a swaggering sneer of a song that draws on the badass attitude of ‘60s girl group the Shangri-las, filters it through the glam rock of Bowie and Bolan and then coats liberally in NYC grime. As with the entirety of their Todd Rundgren-produced self-titled debut album, it is a defining moment in the evolution of not just punk, but rock music in general. And yet at the end of the performance, host Bob Harris appears and dismisses the band as ‘mock rock’ with a self-satisfied smirk. This kind of reaction is exactly what punk exists for. It says, we may not be as proficient as those beardy musos over there or have a ton of 12-string guitars, mandolins and Moog synths colonising our stage but we believe in what we’re doing and we won’t let you tell us otherwise. In other words, a giant fuck you to the status quo and a clear message to it that things are changing and it better watch its back.


So what are the benefits of a punk attitude from a therapeutic point of view? To me, whether it tangibly feels like it or not, therapy itself is often an act of rebellion, particularly when it comes to things like self-worth and the desire to live authentically. You’ve been raised in a certain environment. You believe you should be and act a certain way. You’ve internalised messages about yourself from the people around you. You end up believing some of these even though they are self-critical and have a corrosive effect on your self-esteem. You’ve learned what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the eyes of social and/or family norms. You fear what would happen if you were to step outside of these. You self-censor. Or, you mentally challenge these ideas and then feel guilty for it. You cultivate an invisible and deeply personal antenna that alerts you to when you have committed a transgression. You listen to the little voice from your past that tells you that you’re bad, stupid, weird, awkward and unworthy of love. You get stuck in a place that isn’t authentic to what you actually want for yourself, and life goes on around you. Damn.


What does punk say about all this? Punk challenges you to say NO. Punk challenges you to identify a status quo that no longer serves you and stand up to it. Punk challenges you to be and act and do in a way that feels right for you. Punk challenges you to be visible and unashamed. Punk challenges you to get angry for what you’ve gone through and put up with and settled for and had to listen to and then channel that feeling into creating something better for yourself. Punk challenges you to be friends with who you want and to consign the people and things and inner voices that hold you back to the trash can. Punk challenges you to be goofy and stupid sometimes and just go with it. Ultimately, punk challenges you to resist, rebel and reclaim, and this is what also makes therapy punk. So the next time your inner critic starts up with its usual cyclical crap, maybe try reaching for your inner leather jacket and shades and tell it where to go. Or to quote Minor Threat:

Before you take another crack
And slap yourself on the back
Before you tell me what you heard
And sum it up in one word
Before you start talking shit
Before you throw another fit: