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Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness [Kindle Edition]

Nancy Kehoe
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Wrestling with Our Inner Angels is Nancy Kehoe’s compelling, intimate, and moving story of how she brought her background as a psychologist and a nun in the Religious of the Sacred Heart to bear in the groups she formed to explore the role of faith and spirituality in their treatment – and in their lives. Through fascinating stories of her own spiritual journey, she gives readers of all backgrounds and interests new insights into the inner lives of the mentally ill and new ways of thinking about the role of spirituality and faith in all our lives.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The shadow of Freud and his view of religion as illusion still looms over psychotherapy, making it problematic for therapists to engage their clients about a subject that can be of great importance and potential benefit. Because she is both a nun and a clinician, author Kehoe can draw on both her psychological and religious training to approach with insight and sensitivity the role of belief and motivation in the lives of people troubled by mental illness. Neither illusion nor panacea, religious belief helps people organize their lives and make decisions. Kehoe has listened for years to people with illness, and she shares their compelling stories. She also discloses her own wrestling with inner religious promptings and their influence in her own choices. This book will be most helpful to other professionals in the field, but its honesty and humility also make it useful for anyone interested in faith and mental illness, particularly anyone with an emotional stake in the difficulties of mental illness. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

The shadow of Freud and his view of religion as illusion still looms over psychotherapy, making it problematic for therapists to engage their clients about a subject that can be of great importance and potential benefit. Because she is both a nun and a clinician, author Kehoe can draw on both her psychological and religious training to approach with insight and sensitivity the role of belief and motivation in the lives of people troubled by mental illness. Neither illusion nor panacea, religious belief helps people organize their lives and make decisions. Kehoe has listened for years to people with illness, and she shares their compelling stories. She also discloses her own wrestling with inner religious promptings and their influence in her own choices. This book will be most helpful to other professionals in the field, but its honesty and humility also make it useful for anyone interested in faith and mental illness, particularly anyone with an emotional stake in the difficulties of mental illness. (June) (Publishers Weekly, May 11, 2009)

 

"Wrestling With Our Inner Angels is an important book...All concerned with faith, mental health and the journey to wholeness -- whether from a spiritual-religious or a psychological perspective -- will not only enjoy reading this book but be encouraged to reflect more deeply on the author's thesis." (America magazine October 26, 2009)


Product Details

  • File Size: 619 KB
  • Print Length: 180 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470455411
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (May 6, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0029XKNJ4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,604 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Inspiring Contribution June 21, 2009
Format:Hardcover
I cried, began to float, said "wow" and "aha," wondered, was angered, dismayed and finally --- encouraged. This book is a barrier-busting contribution from a compassionate caregiver who has given her life to this work. I always find it fascinating that just when we think we have everything figured out, along comes an author who exposes our ignorance - shining light on and giving voice to an issue that we have relegated to the silence of the shadows. As another author has recently said, "When we reach the end of the bookshelf, it's time to write another book." As Kehoe demonstrates, the "end of the bookshelf" is simply an illusion, just as many of our attitudes, perceptions and knowledge about the relationship between faith, mental illness and a journey to wholeness.

Nancy Kehoe is a nun and a clinician whose work is well known with the mentally ill. She is also a clinical instructor in psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance - an affiliate of Harvard Medical School.

The stories of Kehoe's work with her patients is written in such a way that the reality - "patients are people" whose faith dimension in their lives (beliefs, history, values, practices, doubts, fears and experiences) is fundamental to the approach to their wellness. The history of mental health professionals, clinical psychology and psychiatry is one where patients have been fearful of even broaching the subject of sharing the faith dimension of their lives. Some professional caregivers have even stigmatized those who do as evidencing signs of even deeper and more complex "illness" than originally diagnosed. Thus, there has been a two-sided taboo about broaching this subject, let alone developing clinical approaches to explore it.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly compelling reading May 21, 2009
By susan
Format:Hardcover
This is a wonderful, deep, and thoughtful book, providing insight into areas of health we rarely travel.
I am particularly grateful for Ms/Dr/Sister Kehoe's inclusion of her own story, her doubts and struggles.
I recommend it for anyone interested in their own spiritual journeys, workers in health care, especially in the fields of aging and mental health. It is a good read.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A mind- and heart-expanding book June 11, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Rarely do clinicians write with such compassion and generosity of spirit about people with mental illness. Dr. Kehoe not only listens with compassion and an open mind, but also tells her story with an unflinching honesty. This book, I hope, will enable more clinicians, pastoral counselors, caregivers and ordinary people to listen with more care to those with mental illness. It will, I also hope, open the hearts and minds of psychologists and psychiatrists to pay sympathetic attention to the religious dimension of their clients' lives. A wonderful book. William A. Barry, S.J., Ph.D.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
Anyone working with the homeless or the mentally ill will find in this book a compassionate yet realistic lens through which to better understand both the suffering and the human potential of this often invisible population. Dr. Kehoe uses her own spiritual journey to find remarkable common ground with the mentally ill clients who choose to gather to talk about their understanding of God and the role of spirituality in their lives. While their stories are unusual and sometimes unbearably sad, their insights are profound and universal.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God is Everywhere September 10, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Every now and again you come across a book that speaks to you in a new way. Nancy Kehoe's book, "Wrestling With Out Inner Angels" is just such a book. It is an easy read although the subject matter is anything but. Nancy allows us to see those who suffer from mental illness in a new way - as spiritual beings. It provides us with insights into the "thinkings" that occur in one who is mentally ill and calls forth a deep compassion for them.I was especially touched by the personal struggles experienced that Nancy shared with the reader.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an admirable balance September 28, 2009
Format:Hardcover
The first thing that struck me about this absorbing and unusual book was the author's tone -- neither self-aggrandizing nor self-effacing, she maintains a balance that is difficult to achieve.

Kehoe brings in her own situation, reactions and growth only as they relate to the people and stories she's discussing. She makes it clear that her group work is a mutually difficult and yet highly positive interaction for herself and the clients alike. Only at the end is the story behind her stance complete, when it becomes clear that the rules of her religious order trained her in the practice of self-abnegation, while the sessions with her clients helped her acknowledge and accept her strengths and gifts to others.

The book was very moving, but not at all maudlin or "cheesy." The clients come across as talented, intelligent and caring people who are afflicted with terrible illnesses that they struggle to keep in some perspective. Obviously, Kehoe's work helps them (and their therapists) do this.

A valuable contribution to understanding mental illness as only one part of an individual's life. And a beautiful example of the best work a therapist can do.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wrestling with Our Inner Angels November 9, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a Chaplain in a State Hospital serving those with mental illness, I found the book, "Wrestling with Our Inner Angels" to be just what I needed in several ways: it is encouraging and hopeful for me personally to remain in Spiritual Care; it is an "I can't put it down" read; it has gems of wisdom in it, helping me remain focused on the inner gifts of those struggling with mental illness; and not least of all, it is very supportive in the need for spirituality to be a part of the treatment offered our clients/patients in State facilities, which often have had negative reactions to spirituality.

By Dr. Nancy herself becoming a part of text, gives the book veracity beyond clinical observations. There definitely is a very humanizing element in the book, giving a face, a soul and a personality to all who suffer the stigma of an illness that is not their fault. If one would like an insight into the spirituality of those with a mental illness, this book is well worth it!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars I too have found that those suffering with mental illness ...
I too have found that those suffering with mental illness as well as those charged with their care need outlets to share our faith and beliefs. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Maureen James
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a new approach to peer counseling by opening ...
This was a new approach to peer counseling by opening the door to include the feelings about their faith in God or lack of. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joy Gunnerson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Insightful, sensitive,
Published 4 months ago by URSULA BRINKMANN
5.0 out of 5 stars met my expectations
Good service. Ideas in the book were not what I expected. Written by a nun, but she was unable to say with certainty what the Bible teaches about salvation.
Published 5 months ago by Rebecca Breitrick
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Considered for All Mental Health Providers
This author has put a lot work in this genre of mental health. However she did not include the explanation of what the patients believed but touch more on the mental aspect of... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Clarice
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
Anyone in the mental health profession should be required to read this book. Anyone on a spiritual journey would benefit from what is shared in this book . Read more
Published 7 months ago by marguerite clohisy
5.0 out of 5 stars uniquely valuable - highly recommended
As a family physician and a psychologist, I often encounter people who have a psychiatric diagnosis. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Leonard Sax MD PhD
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a surprise.
I had met the author, Nancy Kehoe, on a flight from Boston to San Francisco when she told me about her book and her life's work. I was interested. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Joan Esile
5.0 out of 5 stars Building Bridges
Dr. Nancy Kehoe, nun, psychologist, is a "trail-blazer" building bridges between the two disciplines of psychology and spirituality. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Nikki Stournaras
5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy but Blessed
I wish I'd read this book before I heard the author speak; I would have had so many questions for her. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Elizabeth Griffin
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