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Books, Journals, New Media
May 12, 2004

Psychotherapy, Religion

Author Affiliations

Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.

JAMA. 2004;291(18):2260-2261. doi:10.1001/jama.291.18.2260-b

How does a minority traditional culture confront changing values in the larger society? More specifically, how does a cohesive, scripture-based religious group respond to modern psychology? These are issues addressed in Eric G. Swedin's Healing Souls: Psychotherapy in the Latter-Day Saint Community, a thought-provoking book detailing the reaction of Latter-Day Saint (LDS) church authority and Mormon therapists to mainstream psychology.

Healing Souls transforms our image of conservative religion meeting psychiatry from that of two monolithic forces clashing to what it actually is—an idiosyncratic process of adoption, adaptation, and rejection, which is to some degree unique to each believer. Such a paradigm change could benefit mental health providers working with religious patients everywhere. The book also provides crucial insights into the underlying value systems of modern psychotherapies. The title, however, is somewhat misleading. While one might assume the book chiefly offers information on specific psychotherapies in use by LDS therapists, only a handful of such therapies are discussed in chapter 5. The work is actually a history that chronicles the response of Mormonism to modern psychology.

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