Author Holly Oxhandler begins her informative book by spelling out her intention for her readers, whom she assumes are helpers: “I have a hunch that along your journey you’ve been taught to help others and to do and go and alleviate and advocate and heal and serve.” Oxhandler maintains that, no matter the helping role the reader might play, he or she is a “complex being” with “physical, social, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs, all of which are worth tending to the best of your ability.”
Oxhandler points out that all people hold sacred beliefs and that these beliefs are important to consider in mental health care treatment. She asserts that helpers need to pay attention to their inner landscape and spiritual beliefs: “What’s more, if we—the helpers—aren’t paying attention to our own spiritual and mental health journeys, we run the risk of unintentionally hurting those we are trying to care for.” Oxhandler explains that when helpers see the image of God in themselves and seek God—or what she also calls the Sacred or Divine—they will see the image of God in others and recognize the work of the Sacred in their lives, too, resulting in healthier helping.
Oxhandler sets out a seven-stage journey for helpers to seek the Sacred: awakening to the speed with which we live our lives; learning to slow our pace; adopting practices that steady us as we make necessary transitions; becoming still within ourselves; beginning to see the Divine in ourselves; shifting our perspective to again and again see the Divine in ourselves and in others; and then serving out of a sense of wholeness and health, from a “place of abundance, awareness, and attention.”
As Oxhandler lives out her Christian faith, she is open to other religious traditions. At times, her Christian worldview seems muted and she appears to embrace the view that all roads lead to God, instead of confessing the historic Christian belief that only through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ can we be made right with God. Still, her book has much to offer helpers of all backgrounds. (Templeton Press)