In Resurrecting the Person, John Swinton argues that while mental illnesses are often biological and genetic in origin, the real handicap experienced by individuals is imposed by the types of reactions, values, and attitudes which are typical of contemporary western society. In other words, how a mental illness is experienced has much to do with how it is socially constructed. How will the church react to this suggestion? Swinton suggests that the key to the effective pastoral care of individuals with severe mental illness lies not only within the realms of psychiatry, therapy, and pharmacological intervention, but in the re-humanization which is borne within the relationship of friendship.
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