The author states that the primary influences for her research are to be found in Quaker thought and practice, feminist theological analysis, and the recent paradigm shift in scientific thinking, specifically in terms of its relation to the theory of holistic nursing. The motivation for the research lies in her experience as a psychiatric nurse and as a Quaker. She therefore views the theoretical paradigms behind the practice of therapeutic care through a Quaker lens, employing the foundational tenet of ‘experimental knowing’ (the experience of spiritual enlightenment or inspiration) in her analysis of their propositions. In this sense, her approach is based in existentialist philosophy (the premise that knowledge about the nature of existence arises not from abstract theorising or impartial observation but from lived experience) and the sociological/philosophical perspective of phenomenology (which focuses on how we make sense of everyday experience in a social context). Thus when analysing the phenomenon of what she deliberately terms mental ‘dis- ease’, the author believes that a theological, and specifically Quaker, approach holds a theoretically viable way of exploring its existential implications. However, she states that it is the process of reflection informing her research, rather than its content, that illustrates her adoption of a Quaker approach. The view she presents ‘cannot be taken as a representation of Quaker “orthodoxy” in its content but only in its methodology’ – particularly in relation to its Christological orientation. The other influence on the methodology is that of feminist theology, whose emphasis on subjective experience and personal reflection represents a challenge to the orthodox split of subjective/objective knowledge; it holds that praxis (the creation of knowledge out of experience) offers the primary theological resource for considered reflection. This outlook is paralleled by the recent paradigm shift within psychiatric nursing towards a more holistic understanding of mental dis-ease. The thesis encapsulates these insights in a number of themes: knowledge is not static but open to dialogue and challenge; it should aid the transformation of society through its ethical application; and each individual is responsible for the part they play in aiding understanding of the interconnected, sacred quality of life.