Larry Dossey, MD, author of ONE MIND: How Our Individual Mind Is Part of a Greater Consciousness and Why It Matters
Western medical science is in the midst of a massive re-evaluation of the nature of consciousness and how it manifests in the lives of humans. A key aspect of this movement is the role of spirituality in mental and physical health, and how these effects vary in different cultures. Natalie Tobert's Cultural Perspectives on Mental Wellbeing is a brilliant foray into this domain. This excellent treatise will be talked about for years to come by professionals and laypersons alike.
David Lorimer, Programme Director, Scientific and Medical Network
This is an important study highlighting the human and philosophical inadequacy of scientific and medical materialism, which is taken for granted when educating young scientists and doctors. This consensus leads to the categorisation of many human experiences as anomalous in terms of this limited if powerful understanding. When one questions and puts aside the assumption that consciousness is produced by the brain, many of the experiences discussed by Natalie become explicable and point towards a wider and deeper scientific and medical outlook, which has been the mission of the Scientific and Medical Network for over 40 years. I would encourage all health professionals to read this book with an open mind.
Erlendur Haraldsson, author of At the Hour of Death
Dr. Tobert brings many arguments and data to highlight the transient way humans accept knowledge, set laws, and then change their minds about what is 'correct'. She notes a gap between the perspectives of physicians and their patients: what is normal in one geographical location is not normal in another. A shift is needed - towards a more culturally universal paradigm. The author argues for the need to address questions of spirituality and religion, materialistic and spiritual perspectives and their importance for health. The book contains chapters on death and dying and shows how various experiences, among them near-death and end-of-life experiences, can radically cause a shift in worldview. This is a thoughtful medical anthropology book that takes a penetrative look at the variability of human views of life.
Larry CullifordBritish Journal of Psychiatry
In seventeen neat chapters, each helpfully introduced and then summarised for clarity, the author tackles pertinent subjects including 'cultural beliefs about health and illness', 'beliefs about conception and human identity', 'women's bodies and human behaviour', and 'cultural knowledge on death and dying'. This is a worthwhile book, making an ideal companion to two College publications: 'Spirituality and Psychiatry' (Cook et al, 2009) and 'Spirituality and Narrative in Psychiatric Practice' (Cook et al, 2016). Members of the Spirituality and Psychiatry SIG will certainly find it rewarding. Others might find it surprisingly beneficial, both accessible and enlightening, too.