Book Review: ‘Healing the Soul’ by Deacon Eddie Ensley

I first saw this book when, having entered a Catholic book shop for the first time in my life, I was searching for something that could help me understand mental illness from the Catholic Church’s perspective and support me in my DBT endeavour to build a life worth living.

I suppose I was looking cautiously for a sense of understanding, validation and support for the spiritual aspects of me that undoubtedly also need recovering. When I came across this book, I have to be honest, I was far from impressed. The title ‘Healing the Soul: Finding peace and consolation when life hurts’ was an immediate signal to look elsewhere for this Briton who has the art of embarassment at deep and emotional American phrases down to a tee. However, thankfully I swallowed my silly pride and realised that actually my life is hurting, it’s really hurting- almost unbearably and if I’m wanting a source of encouragement I’m going to have to get used to reading words like ‘peace’ and ‘journey’ without cringing. I’m grateful that I was able to do that because actually, it was a brilliant book which has helped me to do exactly what it says on the front cover. It is easy to read with short chapters and exercises to do and I have found it’s really helped me find a middle ground between spiritual healing and the healing I am doing within my DBT treatment.

This book reads like velvet- the way Deacon Eddie Ensley writes is self-soothing in itself. The exercises (again, once I’d swallowed my pride) really have helped me. They have been pragmatic and strengthening and I know I will continue to use them. I’d recommend this book firstly for Catholics suffering for any reason (though there are given sections for different problems I found all of it relevant to me in some way.) But also for any Christian as although it occasionally mentions ‘Catholic things’ it is accessible, biblical and Christ-centered. It is difficult to get going especially if you’re someone who also appreciates cynicism but if you throw yourself into it it is amazing how in the midst of a crisis you can find yourself getting a moment’s peace that helps you get through the next minute, hour or day. Personally, I am definitely going to be investigating into more of books written by this man he clearly has a gift that has been finely tunes with experience.

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