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Spirited Practices: Spirituality and the helping professions

Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2007

Spirited Practices is divided into the themes of Disconnection, Illness and health, Loss and death, Violence, Stigma and discrimination” and “Cycle of hopelessness and hope.
It is an anthology which reflects and acknowledges the richness and diversity of human spiritual and religious tradition.
Religions and spiritualities covered are Christianity, Hinduism, Aboriginal spirituality, Islam, Eco-spirituality and Wiccan.
In addition, allied health professional areas such as social work and psychotherapy are covered, as are the issues of domestic violence, mental health, children, and prisoners.
Despite the fact that it is for those in the helping professions and is about spirituality and religion and topics that pertain to much that is related to pastoral care, Spirited Practices does not have a section where this is specifically addressed.
However, there is still much in it from which clergy, chaplains, and all who are involved in pastoral care can learn and adapt to their own practice.
Spirited Practices is a valuable primary resource for those who wish to increase their understanding of issues that confront people from faiths and cultures other than that of Anglo-Saxon Christian Australia.
However it’s sheer breadth means that it is not an in-depth study of any one topic or religion, but rather a general overview of a number of them.
It is therefore a book for those who have either no knowledge but who would like to gain some, or have a small amount of knowledge and would like to increase that knowledge to enable them to go beyond mere tokenism in their professional practice.

Reviewed by Rev Helen Prior, a Uniting Church chaplain at Princess Alexandra Hospital