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Anxious Christians. Psychological Problems and The Christian Faith (Book Review)

Summer 2003

From triple helix - Summer 2003 - Anxious Christians. Psychological Problems and The Christian Faith (Book Review) [pp20-21]

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Anxious Christians. Psychological Problems and The Christian Faith - Kenneth Redgrave - SPCK 2002 - £8.99 Pb 192 pp - ISBN 0 2810 550 7

This book consists of case histories about people with a variety of psychological problems and demonstrates ways of helping them. Subjects include: 'Shyness and lack of confidence', 'Chronic anxiety and difficulty in decision making', 'Sensitive children' and 'Difficulties in being able to forgive a former partner'.

Each case history receives half a dozen pages. The author brings a compassionate viewpoint that demonstrates his wide experiences as a psychotherapist and previously as a Church Social Worker, Deputy Children's Officer and Lecturer in Human Growth and Behaviour. Although not medically qualified, he shows an understanding of how physical and emotional problems are related, eg in the case of 'Sula', who had depression and hypothyroidism.

The author is strong on the psychological and psychiatric perspective and he derives a lot of his thought from the Bible. Much of the bibliography comes from the counselling literature but this is not an academic book. It will be of value to clergy, doctors, students of counselling and pastoral studies, but particularly to Christians who have emotional problems. As the back cover says, 'The reader is encouraged to consider whether the particular problem or worry they have may be a symptom of some deeper malaise or dysfunction - physical, mental or spiritual - and to feel comfortable about seeking the skills and empathy of a trained counsellor or psychotherapist.'

Reviewed by
Dominic Beer

Senior Lecturer, Division of Psychological Medicine (Guy's, Kings & St Thomas' Institute of Psychiatry) and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist in Challenging Behaviour and Intensive Care Psychiatry (Oxleas NHS Trust)

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