The theme of this thesis is the centrality of relationship to individual well-being; its focus is the help offered to those who experience mental ‘dis-ease’ by the theory and practice of ‘therapeutic Quakerism’. It argues that a different model of care to that of the current biomedical one is required, a model centred on ‘the establishment of loving relationships’ rather than the application of medical theory and knowledge in the treatment of those ‘in mental dis-ease’. The author believes that psychiatric theory and practice continue to be dominated by a dualistic understanding of ‘Be- ing’ (she uses Daly’s (1986) term ‘Be-ing’ to infer the dynamic nature of existence), and turns to the theory of ‘holistic nursing’ for a cogent critique of its failure to consider all aspects of the individual – physiological, psychological, emotional and spiritual – in relation to their wider environment. She supports her contention that the alleviation of mental dis-ease requires a far greater recognition of the key role relationship plays in the healing process with an overview of Christian theological anthropologies, investigating whether religious theories of pastoral care – particularly Quaker pastoral care – offer effective theoretical frameworks for the practice of holistic nursing. The author concludes that a synthesis of these approaches in what she terms a ‘Quaker therapy’ could represent a new paradigm for psychiatric care.

Key themes:
The failure of the theory and practice of the biomedical model of psychiatric care
The need for a therapeutic approach centred on helping the individual achieve a sense of ‘wholeness’ through relationship with the ‘other’ (other people, the environment and the divine) The unique nature of the Quaker approach to the therapeutic relationship

Useful for: researchers and those with a general interest in the Quaker approach to mental illness, the practice of therapy, pastoral care, the care of the mentally ill in general

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