Archive for the ‘books’ Category

Resources for Healing Attachment Disorders

March 27, 2015 12 comments

I was back-tracking an interesting search query that led someone to my blog and ran across a great web site that was one of the Google search results. From what I saw, this has links to a lot of great resources if you’re dealing with attachment problems, so I wanted to share it. (I didn’t go beyond the page to which I am linking, but it looked as if the whole thing would make for good reading.)

Don’t Try This at Home: Finding an Attachment Therapist

(Belated) Happy New Year!

January 2, 2015 15 comments

Greetings Gentle Readers,

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope that the coming year is filled with peace, healing and self-discovery! I am presently on vacation and will have no internet access from January 4th – January 14th. I wanted to post a quick update. My husband is doing really well, the ablation seems to have really helped regulate his heart. We literally went to his cardiologist on the way out of town, who cleared him to go on vacation. I am very grateful that he is out of danger. Continue Reading

Book Review: How We Heal and Grow

October 27, 2014 18 comments

I have been following Dr. Jeffery Smith’s blog, Moments of Change for some time now and was very honored when he asked to send me a pre-publication copy of his new book, How We Heal and Grow: The Power of Facing Your Feelings for review. I have long been a fan of his lucid, clear writing and his gift for so clearly explaining the often mysterious and elusive interplay of therapy. This book has proved to be no exception to that rule.

If you read only one book about healing this year, or even this decade, let it be How We Heal and Grow. The book is well written and easy to read, with clear prose and carefully delineated arguments. Continue Reading

Where Oh Where Can AG Be?

October 26, 2014 20 comments

Greetings Gentle Readers,
Sorry for the prolonged absence, but the release (which actually still hasn’t gone out yet!!! AUGH!!) went down to the wire. I did my final turnover at 5:00 on Wednesday the 15th and then my husband and I left for a cruise at 5 AM the next morning. So I had very limited internet access from the 16th to the 24th. We had a lovely, relaxing time, but it’s been difficult going since we got home. I have been doing some intensive work around being present in my body (which it turns out is NOT a favorite activity of mine) and there is a tremendous amount of shame coming up as well as some very young memories being triggered. I hope to do some writing about it soon. In the meantime, it feels like I kind of just put everything on hold while I was away, but now that I’ve returned home I am feeling quite flooded. There’s a lot of shame and anxiety floating around and I have been feeling incredibly weepy but it’s not really connected with anything. On top of that, things have very much improved and settled down with the crises we’ve been dealing with and it feels like I may be collapsing now that I know it’s over, and I can. Which is the long way of saying that I am struggling with feeling very fragile, overwhelmed and ashamed. Continue reading


February 7, 2013 10 comments

I’m doing a shift on the crisis line tonight and someone put up a wonderful quote from Rachel Naomi Remen on the wall. It’s about the power of silence and it’s so good (and true) that I wanted to pass it on. If you have never read anything by Rachel Naomi Remen, may I recommend that you stop whatever you’re doing and buy one of her books? I read her book Kitchen Table Wisdom a few years back and it was incredibly powerful and moving and led to one major breakthrough (I was a business card that wanted to be a marshmallow. See, now you have to read the book to figure out what in the world I’m talking about. ;)). I read it on BN’s recommendation and then brought it to session with 15 different yellow stickies in it. She understands the power of human stories, but the even more powerful effect of having ours heard and understood. Continue Reading

Fantastic Book on Your Brain and How to Get Along with it.

August 20, 2012 1 comment

I am presently reading a really good book on our brains and how they work. I’m still reading it, but already know it’s worth recommending. The book is The User’s Guide to the Human Mind: Why Our Brains Make Us Unhappy, Anxious, and Neurotic and What We Can Do about It. The author, Shawn T. Smith, Psy.D.,  is a psychologist whose blog, Ironshrink,  I have followed for a while. This is his first book and wow, did he hit the ground running. The book addresses the basic premise that our brains have evolved not to make us happy, but to make sure we survive. But we now live in a different environment than that in which our brains evolved and so have life and death reactions to situations that aren’t. I wish I had been able to read this book awhile back. The author lays out , in a very clear and concise manner, why we think and react the way we do and how we can learn to step back from our feelings and be more deliberate in how we act. How we can learn to live with our brains, instead of fighting them.

This is a book written for laymen and very clearly so. It also contains a lot of simple, easy to implement, mindfulness exercises to teach you how to take control of your brain and your feelings so that you can choose how to react based on your values. For anyone struggling to heal from disorganized attachment and all the trust struggles that can occur based on their history of abuse, this book is a treasure. It provides a lot of insight into why we behave as we do, normalizes that behavior and offers solutions for coping with our maladaptive beliefs.

The Paradox of Shame – Part I

July 26, 2012 6 comments

Shame has been a constant theme throughout my healing, but I have found it to be really dominant as I have begun to risk more and live more fully. When I was recovering, I finally realized how ruled I was by fear. Fear was all about me, imprinted on a cellular level; present in the air I breathed. When I finally realized how permeated by fear I was, I was scared to stop being scared! I can still get scared, but fear is not the omnipresent backdrop of my life anymore. Being less afraid has led to being able to risk more. As I risk more, I find myself reacting with shame when I run into new difficulties. Happily, this has led to my discovery that BN is also a first class shame buster.

The true purpose of shame is to keep us safe from violating the taboos and rules of our “tribe.” For so many human generations, our very survival depended on our ability to be accepted by and attended to by a group of people. We are a social animal, who thrives by being with others. Our needs cannot be met without relationship. We cannot know ourselves outside of relationship. Failure to conform to the mores of a group could result in being driven forth so that an individual did not threaten the well-being of the group; but being driven forth was often the equivalent of a death sentence. So our need to “fit in” is extremely strong and other people’s disapproval can affect us deeply. Which is why a sense of shame is such a powerful motivator to control our behavior as it is literally experienced as a matter of life or death. Continue Reading


October 28, 2011 7 comments

This is based on a (very long) post I wrote on the psychcafe in response to another member asking about forgiveness.  Forgiveness was something I struggled with for a very long time (I still can!) and I thought some people might find it helpful to read.

Disclaimer/Trigger warning for religious material:  This is very much written from the perspective of my world view as a Christian and I understand that not everyone reading will agree with all the values that I discuss. I am also painfully aware that some people have undergone childhood abuse presented in religious terms and therefore might find this very triggering. But in order to explain what happened I have to refer to those beliefs and how they affected me. All I ask is that you accept that they were my values so this was how I saw it. I think the larger principles about forgiveness translate pretty well across other world views.

Back in 2000, I was still struggling with forgiveness. I had done a lot of trauma work which had finally allowed me to recognize my anger (ok, rage). But as hard as I was working, I couldn’t let go and forgive (I have a strong belief that forgiveness is a necessary thing, although now I believe that it can take a lot of time depending on the severity of wrongdoing, and in some ways is an on going process for the rest of your life.) My husband and I had just taken a really great Sunday school class at our church (best we ever took actually) on parenting. There was one section that addressed the commandment “Honor thy father and mother.” The couple teaching the course (it was a video tape series) talked about everyone being called to obey this commandment. But depending on how we raised our children, we could rob them of the joy of obeying that command. That honoring your mother or father can be a joyful, easy thing to do or it can become an onerous duty. When I heard that, something in me was struck like a bell: “that’s it!! I’ve been robbed of the joy of honoring my parents.” But along with it came the deep sense that in order to be faithful to the call of God on my life, I needed to do just that, honor my mother and father, no matter how impossible it looked from where I was sitting (and it looked utterly impossible from where I was sitting). I didn’t believe that God would give me a commandment and not the resources to obey it (ok, I did struggle with the feeling He was trusting me too much. 🙂 Continue Reading

Helpful Books

October 7, 2011 14 comments

I am a compulsive reader, always have been. So if a problem rears it’s head, my first reaction is “is there a book about this?” Part of it, to be honest, was an attempt to stay in my left brain and intellectualize away from those messy, confusing feelings. I really struggled with the fact that I couldn’t get through the healing process just by understanding it. The Boundary Ninja often said that if it was just about knowing the facts, that when a client came through the door, he would be able to just hand them a book “How to Heal” and say, have a nice life. 🙂 I often found that to be incredibly frustrating. Later, as I came to understand that the real healing in therapy wasn’t about what you knew, but about what you experienced with your therapist, I kept reading to keep my left brain occupied and out of the way (not to mention the fact that I just became fascinated about the brain, human development and psychotherapy). But, as the Boundary Ninja and I once discussed, it wasn’t just about distraction. My ability to understand the process and the necessity of experiencing the feelings helped me to find the courage to actually feel.

Below is a short list of books I found especially helpful along the way, with a short description of why. As for General Theory of  Love,  I’ve pushed this book so hard I really should consider contacting the publisher and asking for a commission. Big Grin
Continue Reading