Friday, August 26, 2016

Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson

Cover Art

As a board-certified neuropsychologist, Dr. Michelle Bengtson believed she was prescribing the most effective treatments for her clients who struggled with depression. But when she experienced debilitating depression herself, she found that the treatments she had recommended weren't helping her the way she expected. She was determined to find out what was missing.

With the deep compassion of someone who has been there, Dr. Bengtson blends her training and that vital missing piece she discovered to offer you a hope grounded in God's love and grace. She helps you understand what depression is, how it affects you spiritually, and what, by God's grace, depression cannot do. The result is an approach that offers not just the management of symptoms but the hope of true release.
(excerpt from back of book)

Given my experience as a student with a MA in Counselling at a well-known seminary I was curious to see how Dr. Bengtson's new book would address the topic of depression. To be honest, I'm still unsure how I felt about the book. 

The topic is timely. If people are truly honest with themselves and others, I doubt many would be unable to come up with at least one name of someone close who has battled depression and the books tackling the topic are  as  varied  and broad as I've seen. At times, Hope Prevails reads like a self-help book offering musical playlists and prayers for the reader. At other times it reads more clinically discussing the roots of depression.  Yet at other times the book turned deeply personal (almost oddly so given the transitions between sections). As a reader, I came out wondering if the book was having a slight identity crisis.  

There were helpful elements within the text and Hope Prevails could function well as an introduction to the spiritual aspects of depression. Here to I was also disappointed. While Bengtson mentions the need fora holistic approach to health addressing the many areas mental health already considers standard treatments, these treatments felt more like a passing thought in the author's good intentions of looking at  more spiritual causes. I could easily see how this message could be misconstrued to lessen a holistic approach to a more spiritually dominated one -  an approach the church has been known to abuse in the past.

3 out of 5 stars 

This book was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”