BCS Distinguished Speaker Series:
Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ, PhD

Published: November 14, 2011


Bridgewell Counseling Services’ most recent guest for the Distinguished Speaker Series was Nancy Kehoe, RSCJ, PhD. The speaker series is designed to highlight important and relevant topics of interest in mental heath treatment for the providers of mental health services of the greater Lowell area.

Left: Mara Kirby, Director of Clinical Services for Bridgewell and Clinic Director of Bridgewell Counseling in Lowell, introducing Nancy Kehoe.

Nancy Kehoe is a Roman Catholic nun and a clinical psychologist, well known for her pioneering work with people with mental illness. She has more than 25 years incorporating spiritual and religious beliefs with their role in mental health treatment. She is a Clinical Instructor in Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at the Cambridge Health Alliance, affiliated with Harvard Medical School.

Surveys indicate that most of us who treat the mentally ill would rather not talk about clients’ religious and spiritual beliefs, fearful of what might be unleashed or what dangerous tendencies or delusions might be reinforced.

Right: Attendees included area mental health providers such as Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell, South Bay Mental Health and Comfort Home Care In-Home Nursing Services among others.

In return, clients don’t reveal the details of their inner lives because they believe their therapist would see them as sicker, and suspect that their honesty might be held against them. Nancy’s book, Wrestling With Our Inner Angels: Faith, Mental Illness, and the Journey to Wholeness is a moving narrative of how one woman’s respect for her clients’ spiritual and religious beliefs actually opened the way to greater meaning, support, and even healing.

“Nancy is a dynamic speaker who was able to provide advice on being with clients in a therapeutic way when spiritual or religious themes come up in therapy,” said Bridgewell Therapist Val Peterson (right).

She also answered questions and discussed ways that potential counter transference may interfere with our ability to be with the client in a therapeutic way.”

“Nancy delivered so much important and critical information in such a short amount of time,” said Bridgewell Therapist Patty Cason (center). “We left the presentation with some added therapeutic tools for our tool boxes!”

To learn more about Nancy Kehoe’s work go to her website by clicking here.

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