Wrestling with Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness
May 2009, Jossey-Bass
I Exploring New Terrain 1
2 Beverly’s Quest 19
3 Creative Spirits 35
4 Buddy, an Unlikely Prophet 53
5 The Role of Ritual 71
6 The Dilemma of Voices 91
7 Wrestling with God 107
Appendix Religious History Questionnaire 131
The Author 143
NANCY KEHOE is a nun in the Society of the Sacred Heart and a distinguished clinician well known for her pioneering work with the mentally ill. She is a clinical instructor in psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance, affiliated with Harvard Medical School. She can be contacted through her website www.expandingconnections.com.
"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)
The religious beliefs of persons with mental illness often elicit fear, hesitation, and confusion from their counselors and loved ones, many of whom think that those beliefs are dangerous delusions. In return, persons with mental illness can refrain from disclosing their values out of fear that their religious worldview will be considered a part of the very illness for which they seek treatment.
WRESTLING WITH OUR INNER ANGELS: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness (Jossey-Bass, a Wiley imprint; June 2009; $19.95 / Cloth; ISBN: 978-0-470-45541-8), by Nancy Kehoe, both a Sacred Heart nun and psychologist, is a moving narrative of how one woman’s respect for her clients’ religious beliefs actually opened the way to greater meaning, support, and even healing in their lives and illnesses.
Given that the vast majority of Americans say that they have an active religious faith, counselors and clients need serious insight into understanding the psychology of belief. WRESTLING WITH OUR INNER ANGELS draws on both Kehoe’s experience in conducting group counseling sessions for persons with mental illness and in training professionals how to understand the role of religious beliefs in the lives of their clients.
By weaving together both practical resources as well as fascinating stories of her own journey as a psychologist and person of faith, Kehoe reveals the surprising wisdom possessed by those whom society has stigmatized and challenges the assumption that their illness precludes the capacity for a rich spiritual life.
For those with mental illness, their counselors, and their loved ones, WRESTLING WITH OUR INNER ANGELS artfully sheds light on a long-neglected, but significant, part of their treatment.