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Thursday, 7th June 2018Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine: Scientific and Theological Perspectives, 1st Edition
by Christopher C. H. Cook

The book is available as open access – by virtue of the Wellcome Trust funding.

A hardback copy can be bought from the publisher’s website here.

 

DESCRIPTION:

Experiences of hearing the voice of God (or angels, demons, or other spiritual beings) have generally been understood either as religious experiences or else as a feature of mental illness. Some critics of traditional religious faith have dismissed the visions and voices attributed to biblical characters and saints as evidence of mental disorder. However, it is now known that many ordinary people, with no other evidence of mental disorder, also hear voices and that these voices not infrequently include spiritual or religious content. Psychological and interdisciplinary research has shed a revealing light on these experiences in recent years, so that we now know much more about the phenomenon of “hearing voices” than ever before.

The present work considers biblical, historical, and scientific accounts of spiritual and mystical experiences of voice hearing in the Christian tradition in order to explore how some voices may be understood theologically as revelatory. It is proposed that in the incarnation, Christian faith finds both an understanding of what it is to be fully human (a theological anthropology), and God’s perfect self-disclosure (revelation). Within such an understanding, revelatory voices represent a key point of interpersonal encounter between human beings and God.

 

REVIEWS:

‘With expertise in both theology and psychiatry, Professor Chris Cook is ideally placed to examine the complexities around the hearing of voices in spiritual and religious contexts. His book is an authoritative and comprehensive guide to the scientific and theological research in the area. It is also a delightfully engaging read.’ — Charles Fernyhough, Director and Principle Investigator, Hearing the Voice, Durham University, UK

‘Hearing Voices, Demonic and Divine, is a careful and comprehensive account of the voice-hearing phenomenon. Unlike other such surveys, Cook takes seriously the possibility that voices communicate divine intention. Cook explores the vexed problem of discerning whether and when spirit speaks with thoughtfulness, empathy and wise caution.’ — Tanya Marie Luhrmann, Howard H. and Jessie T. Watkins University Professor of Anthropology, Stanford University, USA

‘The experience of hearing voices is something that is common to religious experiences and to those experiences that some determine as unusual or pathological. Untangling the complex origins and meanings of voice hearing is not an easy task, especially if we take into consideration issues around religion and theology. The dual temptation to under or over spiritualise voice hearing is alluring and difficult to avoid. Chris Cook recognises this difficult tension, but also realises that it is not enough simply to partition voices with some assumed to be the responsibility of psychiatrists and others open to the discernment of religion and theology. The phenomenon of voice hearing requires an integrated approach that takes seriously the insights that can be gleaned from disciplines such as psychiatry, psychology, biology and neurology, whilst at the same time taking equally as seriously the insights that theology and Christian tradition brings to the conversation. All of these perspectives in turn require to take cognisance of the profound importance of listening to the personal narratives of voice hearers. Voices do not occur apart from people. If we forget that we risk losing the soul of our therapeutic and scientific endeavours. It is within this crucial hospitable conversation that new insights and fresh possibilities emerge. This powerful and well-argued interdisciplinary reflection on hearing voices opens up vital space for re-thinking the phenomenon of voice hearing and opening up new possibilities for understanding and responding. This is a helpful and important book.’ — John Swinton, Professor in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care and Chair in Divinity and Religious Studies, University of Aberdeen, UK

 

Thursday, 24th May 2018Centre for Spirituality, Theology & Health – Data Protection & Privacy Policy

This policy describes what we do with personal data we collect, and outlines our efforts to protect your privacy.

 

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Sunday, 15th May 2016Spirituality, Theology and Mental Health
edited by Christopher Cook

Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Editor: Christopher Cook

ISBN-13: 9780334046264

ISBN-10: 0334046262

Publisher: SCM Press

Format: Paperback

RRP: WAS £45.00 / NOW ONLY £36.00 (order now by clicking here)

Publish date: 31/05/2013

Flyer: You can view the book’s flyer by clicking here

 

A few words about the book:

In 2010 a Durham conference on Spirituality, Theology & Mental Health was made possible by support from the Guild of Health. The conference was attended by more than one hundred delegates, from a variety of different professional and academic backgrounds including those working in university departments of theology, anthropology and philosophy, as well as chaplains, clergy and healthcare professionals. The present publication comprises a series of chapters by authors, all of whom presented papers at the conference. It is thus informed by the debate that took place at the conference, but it is more than simply a set of conference proceedings. The aim has been to create a book with multi-disciplinary and multi-professional contributions which show the relevance of theology to healthcare today, and which will provide a resource for postgraduate teaching, research and professional practice.

 

This book provides reflections from leading international scholars and practitioners in theology, anthropology, philosophy and psychiatry as to the nature of spirituality and its relevance to constructions of mental disorder and mental healthcare. Key issues are explored in depth, including the nature of spirituality and recent debates concerning its importance in contemporary psychiatric practice, relationship between demons and wellbeing in ancient religious texts and contemporary practice, religious conversion, and the nature and importance of myth and theology in shaping human self understanding. These are used as a basis for exploring some of the overarching intellectual and practical issues that arise when different disciplines engage together with an attempt to better understand the relationship between spirituality and mental health and translate their findings into mental healthcare practice.

 

Are you still unsure why buy this book?

Here are two Commendations by Professors Harold G. Koenig and Sheila the Baroness Hollins

 

Professors Harold G. Koenig:

Scientists and clinicians will find in this book contributions from theology, philosophy and pastoral practice that will give them new insights into the importance of spirituality in mental healthcare. Theological and inter-disciplinary perspectives offered here help all of us to see things differently. This book is commended to all mental health professionals, chaplains and pastoral carers, and academics wanting a broader perspective on spirituality and mental health.

 

Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins:

Theology and Mental health will be essential reading for clergy, health professionals and academics from different disciplines who are learning, talking and working together in the hope of better addressing the place of spirituality in mental health care. It’s a fascinating book that’s integrative of spiritual and theological perspectives with clinical and pastoral care, importantly introducing theology into a debate that has largely ignored a contribution from this discipline. Many of the writers explore the boundaries that sometimes separate different domains of expertise and differing values and assumptions in diverse settings.

 

Order the book here:

http://www.scmpress.co.uk/books/9780334046264/Theology-Spirituality-and-Mental-Health

 

Spirituality, Theology and Mental Health by C.Cook

Thursday, 21st April 2016Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice
by C.Cook, A.Powell & A.Sims

For mental health service users, spirituality and faith are closely connected with questions of relationship, transcendence, and finding meaning and purpose in life – questions best approached by way of narrative (or story).

In clinical practice, narrative can provide a means of exploring the ethical and professional dilemmas that are encountered when spiritual and/or religious concerns are in evidence. Narrative has been recognised as important in both medicine and theology, and now it can be employed as a framework for addressing spirituality and religion in clinical psychiatric practice, encompassing addictions, liaison and forensic psychiatry, and spanning all ages and cultures.

  • Breaks new ground in using a narrative to explore the importance and challenge of spirituality in clinical psychiatric practice.
  • Includes narrative excerpts and case illustrations to show how spiritual concerns can be included in a range of psychiatric treatment options.
  • Provides a tool for exploring the ethical and professional dilemmas spirituality still raises in mental healthcare.
  • Presents contributions from patients, chaplains, and leading psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.

 

Click on the links below to:

 

READERSHIP:

All psychiatrists and mental health professionals. Plus of interest to anyone interested in the effect of religion/spirituality upon mental health, e.g. hospital chaplains.

 

ABOUT THE EDITORS:

Prof. Christopher C.H. Cook – Professor of Spirituality, Theology & Health, Durham University; Honorary Minor Canon at Durham Cathedral; and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist at Tees, Esk & Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Andrew Powell – Formerly: Consultant Psychotherapist and Senior Lecturer in Psychiatry, St. George’s Hospital and University of London and Consultant Psychotherapist and Honorary Senior Lecturer, the Warneford Hospital and University of Oxford.

Prof. Andrew Sims – Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of Leeds and former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists (1990-93).

 

CONTENTS:

Foreword

Preface

  1. Narrative in psychiatry, theology and spirituality
  2. Spirituality and transcultural narratives
  3. Psychopathology and the clinical story
  4. Helping patients tell their story: narratives of body, mind and soul
  5. Gods lost and found: spiritual coping in clinical practice
  6. Stories of joy and sorrow: spirituality and affective disorder
  7. Stories of fear: spirituality and anxiety disorders
  8. Stories of transgression: narrative therapy with offenders
  9. Narratives of transformation in psychosis
  10. My story: a spiritual narrative
  11. God’s story revealed in the human story
  12. Meaning without ‘believing’: attachment theory, mentalisation and the spiritual dimension of analytical psychotherapy
  13. Stories of living with loss: spirituality and ageing
  14. Beginnings and endings

 

Spirituality & Narrative in Psychiatric Practice (Cover)

 

Monday, 15th June 2009Spirituality & Psychiatry

Eds. Chris Cook, Andrew Powell, Andrew Sims, Royal College of Psychiatrists Press, London, 2009

Spirituality and PsychiatrySpirituality & Psychiatry is a new book published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Emerging from the work of the Spirituality and Psychiatry Special Interest Group at the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it considers the relevance of spirituality to clinical practice in psychiatry. It is edited by Chris Cook (current Chair of the Special Interest Group and Director of the Project for Spirituality, Theology & Health at Durham University) along with two past Chairs of the Special Interest Group (Dr Andrew Powell and Professor Andrew Sims). Further information, and the opportunity to purchase the book, is available from the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ website.