Two Great Books on Trauma & PTSD

I read a couple of really great books on trauma recently that I’d like to share with you: Healing from Trauma – A Survivor’s Guide to Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life by Jasmin Lee Cori, MS, LPC and Invisible Heroes – Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal by Belleruth Naparstek, LISW, BCD.

With Healing from Trauma – A Survivor’s Guide to Understanding Your Symptoms and Reclaiming Your Life, Jasmin Lee Cori, a licensed psychotherapist and psychology teacher, has created a comprehensive guide that covers many different aspects of the trauma experience. Perfect for the layperson as well as the trauma survivor, Cori’s writing is very reader-friendly and easy to understand. Topics include: trauma’s effects on the brain, the body, and the mind; PTSD and other trauma-related disorders; healing; types of therapy and healing modalities; tools for dealing with trauma; life management; spiritual issues, and much more. Each chapter includes practical exercises and questions for consideration and ends with “Ten Points to Remember,” a helpful review of important information.

Cori likes lists and you’ll find a lot of them in this book. For example, her ten “Tasks of Healing” include suggestions for:

  1. Resetting your nervous system.
  2. Freeing your body of the impacts and holding patterns that have derived from the trauma.
  3. Expanding your capacity to stay present.
  4. Mastering your trauma symptoms.
  5. Being able to feel a full range of emotions without being controlled by any of them.
  6. Managing and coming to peace with your memories (or lack of them).
  7. Coming to terms with what happened.
  8. Making up for what you missed.
  9. Integrating.
  10. Giving back.

I appreciated Cori’s thoughtful suggestions for life management and her emphasis on learning to trust one’s internal guidance and honor one’s sensitivities rather than dismissing or diminishing them or trying to push through them too quickly. For a general, comprehensive overview of the trauma experience, I thought this was a great book.

For more information about Jasmin Cori, you can check out her website at JasminCori.com.

Invisible Heroes – Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal by Belleruth Naparstek was an incredible book and not at all what I expected. Naparstek is a psychotherapist and author who has written extensively about using guided imagery to heal. (Her first book Staying Well with Guided Imagery was, and continues to be, hugely popular.) Given the title, I thought this book would be primarily about survivors and their experiences—and it does include many survivor stories. But this book also offers a wealth of information about trauma and PTSD that I found invaluable.

The book is divided into two parts: Understanding Trauma (Part I) and Healing Trauma (Part II). Part I serves essentially as a reference manual for trauma and PTSD. Here, Naparstek discusses the key variables of PTSD: who suffers PTSD, when and why. For example, she reveals that women are more vulnerable to traumatic stress than men and children more so than adults, and that dissociation during a traumatic event is the single strongest predictor that someone will get PTSD. There is extensive information about the physical, cognitive, emotional and behavioral effects of trauma, and Naparstek provides a description of the biochemistry and physiology of the trauma reaction that I found fascinating. The book does include stories from both survivors and therapists, which bring the information and descriptions to life and are sure to resonate with those suffering from PTSD.

Part II of Invisible Heroes is all about using guided imagery to heal from trauma and PTSD. Naparstek covers the basics of using imagery and visualization, including a discussion of the benefits of using imagery in recovery and why trauma’s impact on the brain often renders cognitive approaches to trauma inadequate. She follows this with complete guided meditation “scripts” for what she calls the three different stages of trauma: (1) Reestablishing safety and control, (2) Healing and integration, and (3) Cleanup and renewal.

Naparstek has produced a number of guided meditation CDs, including two that go with this book: A Guided Meditation for Healing Trauma (PTSD) (a single CD) and Guided Imagery for the Three Stages of Healing Trauma (a 3-CD set). (CDs are sold separately from the book.)

For more information about Belleruth Naparstek, you can check out HealthJourneys.com and her blog BelleruthNaparstek.com.

You can find both of these books as well as Belleruth Naparstek’s CDs on my Books & Media page under the Trauma and Recovery category. (See the category links on the right side of the page near the top.)

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