We’re excited to announce the release of Christians Hearing Voices, a new book from our very own Chris Cook.
Christians Hearing Voices: Affirming Experience and Finding Meaning presents and reflects upon a series of first-hand accounts of Christian experiences of spiritually significant voice hearing. In doing so, it provides a different perspective than previously published research, seeking to find meaning within a wide range of different experiences, many of which have been affirming and life-giving for the individuals concerned. However, it also explores examples of distressing voices and the ways in which these are handled within clinical services and church communities. The diversity of contexts within which such experiences arise, the variety of forms that they take, and the very different meanings that they are taken to have for those concerned, suggests that religious (specifically Christian) voice hearing may be less homogenous than some previous accounts have implied.
The stories included within the book raise a variety of questions for clinical and pastoral care which are explored within the final two chapters. How can a priest, pastor or clinician most helpfully respond to someone who believes that God has spoken to them? Are traditional church practices (deliverance or exorcism) or traditional psychiatric treatments most appropriate for someone who hears demonic voices? How can family, other Christians, and helping professionals best respond in supportive but wise ways? The book explores possible responses with a view to affirming experience and finding meaning within spiritually significant voices whilst not avoiding the difficult questions.
If you’d like to learn more about the book and its contents, visit the Sanctuary Mental Health Ministries website, where Chris has blogged about the research and stories behind Christians Hearing Voices. The same article also features a podcast interview with Chris about mental health, faith and Covid-19, which can be found below. For the full transcript and list of resources mentioned in the show, click here.
The e-book is available now from Amazon. The print version of Christians Hearing Voices will be published in December, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon or through the Jessica Kingsley Publishers website.