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Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0470455418 ISBN-10: 0470455411 Edition: 1st

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Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness + Encountering the Sacred in Psychotherapy: How to Talk with People about Their Spiritual Lives
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (May 26, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470455411
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470455418
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #231,514 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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)
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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)


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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The book is easy to read.
Debbie
I recommend this book as a great read to anyone interested in the intersection of mental health and spiritual health.
Paul Myers
Every now and again you come across a book that speaks to you in a new way.
Susan Whalen

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By William Dahl VINE VOICE on 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 By susan on May 21, 2009
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 By William A. Barry on 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 By Diane E. Roche on June 7, 2009
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 By Susan Whalen on 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 By V. Swain on 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 By Joan Gannon on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been reading this eminently readable book aloud to a group of elder women, none of whom has a certifiable mental illness, but all of whom find insights into their own lives in what Dr. Kehoe shares. Wisdom,compassion and humor have grown out of her clients'suffering and her own. We can all learn a great deal from it.
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