This short book suggests the need for psychiatrists to work with the knowledge of theology so that mentally ill patients who hold strong religious beliefs may have appropriate treatment. The work is introduced by discussing the definition of mental illness, the meaning of religious belief in modern society and the view that psychiatry has of it. He states that 'Theology can make a significant contribution to the integration of mental health and religious belief'. Reverend Savage promotes the phenomenological approach to understanding religious belief, an approach that concentrates on the study of consciousness and the objects of direct experience. He claims that secularisation in modern society has caused '...a fracture between religion and spirituality'. He then discusses how society influences the form that religious belief takes and how it decides what is or what is not 'normal'.The author explains how psychiatry today is a combination of psychoanalysis and the chemical management of neurological processes. It is debatable whether general practitioners should prescribe antidepressants without prior consultation with a psychiatrist.
The role of the psychiatrist seems to be diminishing, but '...there is no question that for the near future the psychiatrist will remain a moral agent on behalf of the community.'; a position that was traditionally held by priests. Reverend Savage writes in a very learned style and his book may be a useful addition to the bookshelves of undergraduate and practising psychiatrists.