Wrestling with our Inner Angels
Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness
by Nancy Kehoe
Most of those who treat the mentally ill would rather not talk about their clients’ religious and spiritual beliefs. They are fearful of what might be unleashed or what dangerous tendencies or delusions might be reinforced. Some may wonder if those beliefs may be the cause of the illness. In return, clients don’t reveal the details of their inner lives because they believe their therapists would see them as sicker, and suspect that their honesty might be held against them. But, as Nancy Kehoe found out in her work with groups, respecting her clients’ spiritual and religious beliefs actually opened the way to greater meaning, support, and even healing.
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.
The vast majority of people in the US say that religious faith or spiritual practice is an important part of their lives. Prior to ten years ago, the training of most psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and therapists conspicuously omitted consideration of the religious and spiritual beliefs in the lives and values of their clients. The inability to understand, talk about, and incorporate those matters creates not just awkwardness and misunderstanding but also a significant deficit in their ability to treat their clients effectively.
WRESTLING WITH OUR INNER ANGELS fills this gap in the training of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and therapists by providing a compelling account of her experience in working with groups of the mentally ill and in helping professionals understand the role of religious and spiritual beliefs in the lives of their clients. Based on her 25 years of leading groups, training clinicians, speaking, consulting, and developing the Religious History Assessment Tool, Kehoe provides both practical resources for professionals as well as the fascinating story of her own discoveries as a psychologist and person of faith. With her combined background as a psychologist, professor, and a nun in the Religious of the Sacred Heart, Kehoe is uniquely suited to shed light on a long-neglected but significant part of the treatment of the mentally ill.
“Nancy Kehoe has done something truly remarkable both in this book and in her practice as a Harvard psychologist―she has broken the taboo on talking about religious beliefs in the treatment of mental illness… Anyone who has ever dealt with mental illness, or thought seriously about religion should read this book.”
—Cokie Roberts, senior news analyst for NPR; political correspondent for ABC; author,
We are Our Mothers’ Daughters
Over 5000 books have been sold. Reviews of the book can be found on Amazon. Nancy’s book promotional tour included 17 states, 28 cities and over 75 events.
The book was published in Polish in 2011.
Over 50 reviews from Amazon….
“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.”
“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.”
“Nancy Kehoe does a fabulous job of explaining to the layman the importance of spirituality and religion in the treatment of mental illness.”
“This is a wonderful, deep and thoughtful book, providing insight into areas of health we rarely travel.”
“ I cried, began to float, said, “wow” and “aha,” wondered, was angered, dismayed and finally encouraged.”
“This book is amazing. It blends mental illness with religion/spirituality flawlessly.”