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Care of Mind, Care of Spirit Paperback – 1 Dec 1997


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Care of Mind, Care of Spirit + The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth + Addiction and Grace: Love and Spirituality in the Healing of Addictions
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Product details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprinted Ed edition (1 Dec. 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060655674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060655679
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 70,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Although secular psychology addressed a great deal about how we come to be the way we are and how we might live more efficiently, it can offer nothing in terms of why we exist or how we should use our lives," writes Gerald May in this classic discussion of the nature of contemporary spiritual guidan

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The essence of spiritual guidance or direction can be seen whenever one person helps another to see and respond to spiritual truth. Read the first page
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. D. P. Jay on 2 May 2013
Format: Paperback
Because I thought that my spiritual direction training course was deficient in the sphere of psychology, I read this book, whose author is both a psychiatrist and a spiritual director. It empowers the director with enough knowledge of basic psychology to know when to use it in direction and when to refer the directee to someone more skilled.

Good bits:

`Most traditional psychotherapy does not see itself as facilitating the growth of persons in their realization and expression of divine truth. In general, psychotherapy hopes to encourage more efficient living, and its values and intentions often reflect those that prevail in the culture at any given time. For example, psychotherapy often seeks to bolster an individual's capacity to gratify needs and desires and to achieve a sense of autonomous mastery over self and circumstance. Both of these orientations are quite prominent in modern society as a whole. In contrast, spiritual direction--at least in its more mature forms--seeks liberation from attachments and a self--giving surrender to the discerned power and will of God. This means that at some point spiritual direction will turn in opposition to many of the cultural standards and values that psychotherapy supports.

'A deeper divergence of intent can be seen in the different attitudes psychotherapy and spiritual guidance hold towards the manner in which growth, healing, and liberation actually take place. In the harshest medical model of psychiatry, the physician assumes the role of healer while the patient remains at best a compliant object whose deficiencies are corrected. In more humanistic psychotherapies, therapist and client form a healing team together. They see their mutual interactions as being responsible for any growth or healing that may take place.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
89 of 89 people found the following review helpful
May offers a fresh perspective on an old question 27 Jun. 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This work offers a new look at the question of how one can integrate one's spiritual life with their psychological life. What makes this book distinctive is that May starts from the perspective of a psychiatrist and reaches into the domain of the spiritual life of therapy clients. He has done that task of integration well and thoroughly. There are many other writers and clinicians who have attempted this task, yet have failed because they've minimized one discipline or the other. May manages to treat both the field of secular mental health and spiritual direction with respect and furthermore is knowledgeable enough to speak about both fields. As a Christian counseling professor at an evangelical seminary, I am always on the lookout to see how others think about, and work with the realms of psychology and spirituality. May's work is another addition to this integrative field. His work is particualrly interesting for me because he comes from a different theological tradition than mine. I found it wonderfully stimulating to see areas of agreement and disagreement in the manner in which the author and I would care for the soul of our clients. I recommend "Care of Mind Care of Spirit" to students of psychology, students of Pastoral care and even to interested individuals who want to reflect on the wonder of the human being.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Graced precision 15 Feb. 2009
By Exerciser - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
May is gifted in articulating distinctions and discernments in a clear and understandable way. As a reader of much and varied spiritual literature, I find May to be extraordinary in his capacity to elucidate the mysterious with practical language and examples. May has keen insight into the human technical systems that have evolved over time to help us heal and grow. His artful descriptions clarify issues and questions that I have always recognized at a deep level, but could never articulate. You can't go wrong with this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
care for the whole person 2 May 2013
By Mr. D. P. Jay - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Because I thought that my spiritual direction training course was deficient in the sphere of psychology, I read this book, whose author is both a psychiatrist and a spiritual director. It empowers the director with enough knowledge of basic psychology to know when to use it in direction and when to refer the directee to someone more skilled.

Good bits:

`Most traditional psychotherapy does not see itself as facilitating the growth of persons in their realization and expression of divine truth. In general, psychotherapy hopes to encourage more efficient living, and its values and intentions often reflect those that prevail in the culture at any given time. For example, psychotherapy often seeks to bolster an individual's capacity to gratify needs and desires and to achieve a sense of autonomous mastery over self and circumstance. Both of these orientations are quite prominent in modern society as a whole. In contrast, spiritual direction--at least in its more mature forms--seeks liberation from attachments and a self--giving surrender to the discerned power and will of God. This means that at some point spiritual direction will turn in opposition to many of the cultural standards and values that psychotherapy supports.

'A deeper divergence of intent can be seen in the different attitudes psychotherapy and spiritual guidance hold towards the manner in which growth, healing, and liberation actually take place. In the harshest medical model of psychiatry, the physician assumes the role of healer while the patient remains at best a compliant object whose deficiencies are corrected. In more humanistic psychotherapies, therapist and client form a healing team together. They see their mutual interactions as being responsible for any growth or healing that may take place. In spiritual direction however, the true healer, nurturer, sustainer, and liberator is the Lord, and the director and directee are seen as hopeful channels, beneficiaries, or expressions of grace for each other. This is a radical difference, and one that cannot be overemphasized.
There are, to be sure, psychotherapists and counsellors who see themselves humbly, hoping to be instruments of divine will rather than of personal ego, or who at least try to keep their personal will in accordance with their discernments of God's will. To date however, it must be acknowledged that in the actual practice of therapy, such orientations represent more the exception than the rule. The important consideration here is that while effective psychotherapy can occur with the intent of human achievement, any spiritual direction that loses its sense of human subservience is bound to be distorted. Such distortion occurs far more frequently than most of us would care to admit. The seeds of its potential are in every such thought as I have to help this person, or I must do something to make this person see things differently, or even in Together you and I will overcome this obstacle. In each of these thoughts the power of God, even that which works through us, is ignored.'

`They are willing to let problems go unsolved, questions unanswered, even pain uneased and longing unrequited, for the sake of a deeper communion. Of course it is often not quite so pure and perfect as this, but in authentic spiritual direction the desire and intention for such a willingness of presence is claimed by both director and directee.

This is not the case in most other kinds of relationships. In counseling, psychotherapy, physical or pastoral care, mentoring, teaching, parenting, and nearly all other helping relationships, agendas are very mixed and there is often a wide difference between the basic attitude of the helper and the one being helped. The helper may try to cultivate a prayerful, contemplative attitude but the recipient of care may be expecting something very different. In other words, even though the caregiver may desire a truly holistic and God-centered approach, the client often does not.

...To make the problem worse, virtually nothing in our health care systems and institutions honors prayerfulness or real spiritual attention. Discernment of spirit finds no place in treatment plans. Prayer is often considered a luxury--sometimes even a distraction. A contemplative attitude would not only be misunderstood by peer review boards, but could very well violate standards of practice. Third-party payments do not cover helping people become more loving. These problems are not limited to health care; they exist in all our societal institutions. Even pastors of churches and chaplains in hospitals are expected to be efficient religious leaders, not true spiritual companions. We live in a broken world, and we are broken with it....How do we put into practice the difference between healing in the largest sense, and curing specific disorders?
20 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Care of Mind/Care of Spirit 20 July 2008
By Angela M. Marczewski - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
this book was required reading for a course. Though this edition is a revised one, dated in the early 90's (the original was 1982), much of the information regarding psychiatric disorders and alcohol/substance abuse, in particular, are horrendously out of date!! As a licensed mental health counselor and a credentialed substance abuse counselor, I was somewhat appalled at the "facts" put forth in this book for those not in the field. There have been 2 subsequent versions of the DSM published since the one used by this author and another is in process. I definitely would NOT recommend this particular book. The fact that it is written by a psychiatrist makes these flaws all the more troublesome.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Thoughtful and thought-inspiring 21 May 2014
By pentemeyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Required for a course in the Art of Spiritual Direction, and I'm glad. I'll be reading and rereading it for years to come.
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