Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wrestling with Our Inner Angels by Nancy Kehoe

Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness, Nancy Kehoe. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass/ Wiley, 2009. Hardcover, 149 pps.

     Those who bear the label of mental illness often find their religious beliefs and other spiritual things important to them ignored by clinicians in their day treatment program and other counseling settings. It seems that there is something like an axiom that says, "Don't tell the counselors that stuff" and that is rather unfortunate.

     I remember the days when anyone who had an obvious disability was assumed not to have a sex life/ or their issues with physical intimacy were ignored by therapists. Not to listen respectfully to people who are charged with telling professionals about the things that give their lives meaning is to ignore the whole person. The labels take precedence over any sort of religious [or sexual, see above] feelings.

     Nancy Kehoe is a nun and also a clinician who started some groups for adults in treatment. The groups were optional. Most who attended had religion but a few did not.

     It is unfortunate that people in addiction treatment with sincerely held atheist leanings are often short-shifted. Their non-beliefs are viewed as deficits by staff who often have New Age-y sort of philosophies. Nancy Kehoe has done something else. Instead of judging those labeled mentally ill as having bizarre beliefs, she allowed each individual to shine. I liked that a lot.

sapphoq reviews says: This is a pretty good book for clinicians and outpatients who wish to communicate respectfully about topics that are considered taboo within mental health communities. Recommended.

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