Book Review#2 Journey to the Sacred

Journey to the Sacred – Mending a Fractured Soul

Reviewed by Coholic, D. 2003. In Canadian Book Review Annual 2002(2163):93.

Jane Simington applies her own pain-filled journey of mending her fractured soul as the context for this book, and for her analysis that Western methods of helping need to attend to the spiritual dimension in order to achieve holistic and effective healing from trauma. She certainly should be commended for sharing her highly personal journey, which is a process few academics and practitioners publicly share. She describes her work as combining a personal story of movement into the soul following trauma with: a description of Indigenous healing methods; spirituality outside of a religious framework; a comparison of religious concepts of East and West; the use of archetypal stories of dreams and symbols; and the application of science, and practice research and theory. To this end the author does integrate all of these perspectives incorporating references to popular spiritual books, poetry, philosophy, science, practice texts, and religious narratives – Albert Einstein, Robert Frost, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Carl Jung are just some of the sources she draws on in her work, not to mention her own personal learning from Indigenous Teachers.

Given the author’s imbeddedness in Catholicism, the book does rely heavily on Christian discourse particularly in the latter chapters where she describes how and why her Catholic beliefs shifted. She describes her remarkable transition from staunch Catholicism to a more abstract spiritual perspective that encompasses beliefs and practices from worldwide Indigenous traditions, Shamanism, and Eastern spiritual approaches. As a result, of her learning the author now practices energy healing and describes periodically throughout the book how she assists the people she works with via the use of guided imagery and past-life regression. The author’s descriptions of the techniques she uses both for her self and others could often have been made clearer for the reader. I would encourage her to consider a follow-up book that would focus on describing in detail the actual techniques and processes that can be used to help people heal on a soul level. Certainly, her work is in harmony with the burgeoning literature that discusses spirituality and practice particularly in the social work and nursing research literatures.

Diana Coholic, Ph.D., RSW

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