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Crises turned to good account

07 October 2016

Anne Holmes on the healing of the mind


Coping With a Mental Health Crisis
Catherine G. Lucas
Sheldon Press £9.99
Church Times Bookshop £9



THIS authentic account is drawn from the author’s own experience of a mental-health crisis and her reflection on the various treatment options that she received as a result. It is a useful contribution to an intermittent tradition that advances critiques of statutory mental-health provision, with its tendency to medicalise what Lucas sees as a spiritual crisis. Having found healing through mindfulness and transpersonal psychotherapy, she actively seeks to help others to find healing for their own crises.

The book is structured in three parts. The first serves as an autobiographical introduction, which describes the author’s experience of breakdown and subsequent breakthrough to a healthier way of transpersonal therapy, with its emphasis on the potential of a crisis to promote healing of a troubled psyche.

The second part outlines seven steps to healing. These include taking responsibility for healing, finding the right health-care professional, doing away with the toxic, and making lifestyle changes.

The third part considers a variety of healing approaches, giving particular attention to those from other cultures.

Although the author suggests a range of possible readers, in practice she addresses fellow sufferers directly in a tone that seeks to encourage and empower them to see their crisis as an opportunity for a new way of life, even a gift. This is maybe a step too far for some, especially if it were to be suggested by a well-meaning pastor.

This book will bring hope and encouragement to many people. It is based on the premise that a mental-health crisis is an opportunity to wake up to our true self. Wisely, the author includes appropriate psychiatric care and medication, advocating a holistic cross-cultural approach. Accessible and carefully written, it also supplements the growing literature on mental health for pastors and congregations.


The Revd Anne Holmes, a former NHS mental-health chaplain, works as a psychotherapist and SSM in the diocese of Oxford.

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