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Secrets, Lies, Betrayals: The Body/Mind Connection Hardcover – May 11, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Random House (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679457038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679457039
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,952 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestselling author Scarf (Intimate Partners; Unfinished Business) explores new therapies that claim to be able to "reprocess" or "detoxify" traumatic memories through physical manipulation of the nervous system. Via accessibly presented neuroscience, Scarf explains how the body stores memories of intensely stressful experiences. A writer rather than a clinician (she's a senior fellow at Yale's Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy), Scarf generates her data through meeting women subjects in marital distress and exploring their pasts through gentle discussion. Throughout, Scarf weaves her own autobiographical reflections, centered on painful memories of an autocratic father and a negligent mother. Seeking to advance her own emotional well-being, she enters into a reprocessing therapy session and becomes an advocate of the technique; she persuades one of her subjects to try it out, with apparently successful results. Although the physical ailments presented in Scarf's account seem extremely slight, she makes much of a sense of emotional breakthrough and release. Scarf's investigation into the methodology of reprocessing therapies is scientifically limited, yet she does allow us some insights into how they function. Admirers of her work will enjoy her ability to evoke relationship dynamics (including abusive relationships), her seductively flowing style and her emphasis on perceptive readings of life histories. Readers with a serious interest in psychology will find little cutting-edge scholarship here, and some may question why all Scarf's subjects are women.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Scarf, author of Unfinished Business (1980), explores how life traumas are imprinted on the body and relived through a variety of symptoms from headaches to muscle tension and from memory lapses to persistent latent anger. Through case studies, she focuses on people whose lives are dictated by past experiences they attempt to keep secret even from themselves, unable to break the pattern partly because the experiences are stored in their bodies. Among her case studies is Claudia, a woman who has repressed many of her painful memories and marries a man very similar to her emotionally abusive father. Interspersed with the case studies are Scarf's own personal revelations of a neglected childhood she is only beginning to acknowledge. Scarf cites neurobiological research showing that memories exist at a physical as well as a psychological level. She discusses new "power therapies," some of which she has tried herself, which are aimed at treating both the mind and the body, accessing parts of the body that are linked to emotions, releasing the body memories, and beginning the process of healing. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

Maggie Scarf is a former visiting fellow at the Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University, and a current fellow of Jonathan Edwards College, Yale University. She was for many years a Contributing Editor to The New Republic and a member of the advisory board of the American Psychiatric Press.

Maggie Scarf is the author of six books for adults, including the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Unfinished Business: Pressure Points in the Lives of Women and Intimate Partners: Patterns in Love and Marriage. Her other books include: Body, Mind, Behavior (a collection of essays, most of them first published in The New York Times Magazine); Intimate Worlds: How Families Thrive and Why They Fail; Secrets, Lies, Betrayal: How the Body Holds the Secrets of a Life, and How to Unlock Them; and, most recently, September Songs: The Bonus Years of Marriage. She is also the author of two books for children. Her works have been published in British, Canadian, German, Hebrew, Dutch, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French and Swedish editions. Her latest book, The Remarriage Blueprint: How Remarried Couples And Their Families Succeed or Fail, is due out from Scribner this September.

Ms. Scarf is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including a Ford Foundation Fellowship and a Nieman Fellowship in Journalism at Harvard. She has received several National Media Awards from the American Psychological Foundation, including the first prize. During the recent past, Ms. Scarf has served on the National Commission on Women and Depression, has been the recipient of a Certificate of Appreciation from the Connecticut Psychological Association, and also received The Connecticut United Nations Award, which cited her as an Outstanding Connecticut Woman. In 1997, she was awarded a Special Certificate of Commendation from the American Psychiatric Association for an article on patient confidentiality ("Keeping Secrets"), which was published in The New York Times Magazine.

She has appeared on many television programs, including Oprah, Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS News, and CNN, and has been interviewed extensively on radio and for magazines and newspapers across the nation. She currently blogs for Psychology Today.

Maggie Scarf lives in Connecticut with her husband Herb, the Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale, and is the mother of three adult daughters.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 4, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having used EMDR in my clinical practice for 10 years, I am delighted to have Maggie Scarf's book available to clients and practitioners alike. It is extremely user-friendly in its explanation and description of EMDR treatment. Scarf's personal journey candidly gives a riveting birds-eye view of her own therapy. Clinicians worldwide know first-hand about the efficacy of this treatment. Now the public will have the chance to understand the importance of the mind-body connection in the treatment of psychological problems. It seems to be a "secret" that EMDR has been approved as one of the few methods effective in the treatment of trauma by the Department of Defense, the U.S. Veterans Administration, the American Psychological Association, and The International Society of Traumatic Stress. The Northern Ireland Department of Health, the Israeli National Council for Mental Health, the Red Cross Disaster Mental Health, the United Kingdom Department of Health, and many other countries recommend EMDR as a first-line treatment. Volunteer clinicians in EMDR's Humanitarian Assistance Program have trained thousands of clinicians as well as treated thousands of survivors of disasters around the world: Oklahoma City, NYC 9/11, Columbine, Dunblane Scotland, the Balkans, and following earthquakes and natural disasters in Turkey, Bombay, Bangladesh, Central and South America. Scarf's book touches on some of this research and gives a genuinely understandable introduction to the physiology of the brain/body connection so necessary in accessing and treating long-buried issues. It is a must-read book for anyone interested in the cutting edge of psychotherapy treatment. Moreover, it is a pleasure to read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "hf360" on May 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As in her previous books, Maggie Scarf has tackled an original, fascinating, and complex subject relating to the psyche, integrated both science and psychology, and presented it in a form that appeals to professionals and non-professionals alike.
This time, it's the mind-body connection, with particular reference to early traumas such as emotional abuse. Presenting examples from interviews and her own life, Scarf shows how memories of traumatic experiences may be stored in a tiny brain structure known as the "amygdala" for days or even years, long after the original event. Thus, she shows, the body remembers and holds memories of traumas even at a cellular level. Through numerous interviews, Scarf illustrates how such long-retained memories can affect present-day experiences, even those with no apparent connection to the original event.
There's so much more to this book than this brief a review can convey. If you have an interest in trauma, or the mind-body connection, I urge you to read this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By JNDauterive on March 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am considered successful, educated and accomplished, yet like many others, suffered significant physical and emotional abuse as a child of old world parents. While there is a wide variety of therapy and therapists, I never felt successful at it. I never felt free of the "deep feelings of rejection", or cured of depression. I was profoundly affected by reading this book and was ready to fly anywhere I could engage in EMDR therapy. I did find a psychiatrist locally who agreed to work with me and it has absolutely changed my life. I experienced profound realizations and consider myself finally free from past negative experiences. I'm not a healer, don't know all the buzzwords like immunoneuropsychology. I just know that this book completely turned me over and shook me out and showed me the possibility of life-altering changes within me.
(If you enjoy reading about biochemistry, another great book on the physical/emotional connection is "Molecules of Emotion" by Dr. Candice Pert).
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
and discovers there's more to them than she might have imagined, in this well-written and personal exploration of the grey area where talk therapies fail and alternative treatments make headway. Award-winning author Scarf may have some traditional therapists shaking in their boots as she describes how traumas impact the body's "wiring," and how simple techniques can "re-wire the system" in ways that talk therapies can't. Her discussion of the trauma of "witnessing" is a must-read for anyone concerned about the personal side of the international tragedies that beset us today.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 19, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Maggie Scarf's insights have been invaluable to me. I was touched by the tremendous empathy she had for her interviewees and particularly impressed with her clear explanation of her research.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book represents to me a breakthrough of the barriers between so-called "western" science and other "alternative" therapies in the realm of the psyche, and it does so in a style that is wonderfully accessible to readers. Maggie Scarf's depiction of her process of learning about this therapy - from questioning, to observing, and through to experiencing and analyzing, her own personal experience, blended in with the insightful analysis through case studies and current medical research, was both informative and useful for a general readership. I should think this would make a wonderful 4th July gift for soldiers returning from the Gulf, or pretty much anyone who has experienced a "little t" trauma in their lives, which i suppose means all of us.
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