Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2011
Reviewed by Marian Van Eyk McCain
From my experience of a career in the so-called ‘helping professions,’ I think I can safely claim that in these industries geared to health, healing and helping, scant attention is ever paid to people’s spirituality. We train our medical, paramedical and mental health workers in the mechanical workings of the body and the mind, but speak rarely of the heart and never of the soul. In case conferences, grand rounds and college classrooms where the talk is all about the physical or mental repair of damaged or dysfunctional individuals and families, how often do you hear mention of soul or spirit? And how holistic is supposedly holistic health care if it leaves out this all-important dimension of human existence?
Culliford’s book is a brave attempt to put spirituality on the agenda, where it should always have been. It is a calm, balanced, thoughtful work, specifically written for people in the helping professions. There is probably little in it that any spiritually aware reader doesn’t already know. But if there is anyone of your acquaintance who works in the health or welfare field and whom you think needs a gentle nudge towards understanding his or her patients/clients as spiritual beings, buy them a copy, please. It would be a great start.