Psychotherapist Cori (The Tao of Contemplation: Re-Sourcing the Inner Life) translates the dark language of trauma in this primer of agony and recovery, with a deep understanding of the tortuous journey many suffer after sexual assault, war, violence and childhood abuse. Skillfully, she avoids the bevy of usual tales of misery found in self-help books on trauma, focusing instead on the resilience of the spirit, regaining control and resuming a renewed life. Very timely and informative, Cori’s guidebook includes a long segment on PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), recognizing the emotional and moral conflicts faced by troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and attempting to reintegrate into society. The author offers solid information on types of trauma disorders and stresses the importance of selecting caring, sensitive health practitioners and therapists as critical to speed the healing quest (she offers sensible specifics on choosing a therapist). Concluding with her own story as an incest survivor (based on recovered memories), the book is a compact, knowing work of atonement, grace, compassion and healing.
…Drawing on her experience as a trauma survivor, psychotherapist Cori directly addresses the needs of other trauma survivors in this recovery manual. The first section presents basic information on trauma and its effects; the physiological basis of trauma; its consequences, or “footprints,” in the body; and a description of the possible broad range of trauma-based disorders. The author then offers a guide to the healing journey, tackling such topics as how to choose the right helpers, how to select therapeutic interventions, tools for living and dealing with a traumatic past, spirituality, and signs of healing. Readers will also find information on alternative therapies and holistic modes of healing, which makes the book useful to those who seek alternatives to drug therapy. Written in an accessible style, this up-to-date survey is inspirational yet realistic.
If you are a trauma survivor — especially if you are just beginning to deal with your trauma and symptoms — please read this book.
This is, finally, the book I’ve been looking for and really needed a year or two ago when I first started dealing directly with my trauma history and its affects on my life! I recommend this whole heartedly as a great resource for survivors and their loved ones. It is the best general guide to the subject that I have read.
I have read most of the other books folks typically recommend, and usually found them interesting and helpful. At the same time, I felt like they were either to detailed and technical to really be practical. Or, they had too many exercises, reflections, and inspirational quotes for me and I found them a bit too sappy and off-putting for where I was in my process.
In this book, Cori strikes just the right balance of information, suggestions, and tone. She also does a wonderful job of summarizing what trauma is, how it affects the body and mind, what therapeutic methods can be helpful, and how to generally care for oneself through the healing process. She also provides tools for self-reflection, and intersperses stories from other survivors that make the data relevant and come to life.
If this book had been available when I started dealing with my trauma, I think I would have understood the situation better and would have been more equipped to make good choices and deal with things in a caring and effective way.
While this is clearly a sort of overview or handbook, Cori provides plenty of additional references and resources so you can do further investigating on your own.
My one small quibble (and it’s is very small), is that she only mentions meditation and mindfulness practices in passing. I have found these practices to be essential to my healing. But I recognize that they are a bit outside the mainstream, and certainly aren’t for everyone.
Overall, a wonderful resource!
Gift From Within (nonprofit site for those with PTSD)
Patti Brown, June, 2008
Let me start this review by stating emphatically that this is, by far, the best book I have ever read about trauma and one of the best help aids I have come across in the many years since I came to understand I was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What makes this book different? Many things. The book is written by a victim of trauma who writes with an understanding that will hit the reader in the gut with the definite knowledge that “here is someone who understands intimately what I face every day of my life.” The author is also a licensed psychotherapist who writes not only with great compassion but a depth of knowledge, training and wisdom in the field of trauma.
…One of the greatest assets of this book are the many exercises the author has prepared to help us understand and deal with the intense battle we wage as we try to heal from our traumas. I plan on going back to the book and re-reading the many parts that were so helpful, and perhaps even re-doing some of the exercises….I find myself referring to this book as my PTSD Bible.
Cyndy White, LCSW
I am a clinical social worker in private practice. I do a lot of trauma work, and often incorporate recommended readings for my clients. I now have happily added your book to the list, and may consider it a good starting point as a first recommendation. It is so clear and direct, gentle and real. Thorough without being too detailed, a perfect length. What a strong, strong piece of work. Thanks so much for the gift of it. One of my most profoundly traumatized clients is currently reading your book and having a terrific response to it. It is really speaking to her.