MENTAL ILLNESS AND THE RELIGIOUS LIFE by

MENTAL ILLNESS AND THE RELIGIOUS LIFE

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Though the title suggests that this book is only for those ""in religion"" -- Nuns, Brothers and Priests may it be interpreted to mean that it is for all who are committed by their very existence to live a religious life? For here is a book on psychic disorders which anyone who can read will understand and be able to use as a basis for self-appraisal recognizing the gravity of the problems of others afflicted with neurosis and psychosis. Avoiding use of the jargon of the profession Father Richard P. Vaughan, director of the psychological center at the University of San Francisco, who has been engaged in the psychotherapy -- particularly of religious -- directs his discussions to the specific areas of problems of Priests, Nuns and Brothers pointing up that the mentally afflicted religious is not a second rate religious but a ""sick"" religious who needs treatment as sprue as sorely as one phsycially ill. His felicitous pinpointing of problem cases under such headings as ""the Angry Brother"", ""the sick Sister"", ""the Compulsive Hand Washer"" and others gives real- life dimension to his exposition. Anxiety, power of self-control, scrupulosity, irritability, alcoholism, sin and guilt are among the subjects brought into relationship with neuroticism. In dealing with psychosis, he treats of paranoia, severe depressions, delusions --and what to do about these abberations particularly in community living. Concluding with a plea for treating these ""sick people"" he debunks the erroneous concept that the priest in confession is the ""poor man's psychiatrist"". Here is a primer for anyone wanting to understand mental illness but because of its orientation to those in religion should become compulsory study for superiors --including pastors of parishes -- regardless of the number of men and women in their charge. They will be better superiors for their efforts, and perhaps learn something about their own difficulties which otherwise might go unrecognized.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1962
Publisher: Bruce