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Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence-From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror Paperback – July 7, 2015
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"One of the most important psychiatric works to be published since Freud."―New York Times
"A landmark."―Gloria Steinem
"A book of luminous intelligence. You must read it as soon as possible."―Sophie Freud
"Astute, accessible, and beautifully documented. Bridging the worlds of war veterans, prisoners of war, battered women, and incest victims, Herman presents a compelling analysis of trauma and the process of healing. A triumph."―Laura Davis, coauthor of The Courage to Heal
"This book will surely become a landmark work on the social impact of psychological trauma and on its treatments.... A magnificent gift to survivors."―Women's Review of Books
"A stunning achievement ... a classic for our generation."―Bessel van der Kolk, M.D., author of The Body Keeps the Score
"Herman's brilliant insights into the nature of trauma and the process of healing shine through in every page of this rich and compassionate book."―Lenore Walker, ED.D., Director, Domestic Violence Institute, and author of Terrifying Love
"Herman links the public traumas of society to those of domestic life in this provocative work of psychiatric theory."―Publishers Weekly
About the Author
Judith Herman, M.D., is professor of psychiatry, emerita, at Harvard Medical School.
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Judith Herman writes this book with such love, and nurturing and caring. I read it very slowly, with a highlighter. I could only read it a bit at a time, to give myself time to process. The book helped me understand things that had been mysteries to me my entire life! I hadn't made the PTSD connection before. Life has a way of illuminating things. At first, I wanted to track Dr. Herman down and see her for a few sessions. Too bad I don't have that kind of money :-) I found a PTSD group via MeetUps, and started working with the therapist who runs it and offers a sliding scale. I'm an integrated and joyful person these days.
Now I try to help others who have no idea why their lives are a "mess" with the depression, anxiety, panic, and low self-esteem. IT FINALLY MAKES SENSE! Thank you, dear Ms. Herman. (And Bessel van der Kolk)!!
There is some political slant, but it is not the focus of the book. If you are serious about understanding trauma and people, this is an incredible book. I'm amazed how thorough it is. I'm amazed this much information can be in one book that is only 276 pages long and not a text book. It's well-written. There is some sophisticated vocabulary in it...Several times I had to look up words in my online dictionary to fully understand what the author is communicating. She is wonderfully gifted in her approach to this subject.
She starts with history, goes into trauma and various treatments. She delineates differences of acute trauma of a single event vs chronic traumas. She delineates further on how even just one good support can help someone with trauma, vs the results of someone experiencing trauma yet having no validating support. One of her key points is Chaper 6..."A New Diagnosis"... discussing that complaints of chronically traumatized people are not well-understood. For example:... "Survivors of child abuse who become patients appear with a bewildering array of symptoms....They may collect a virtual pharmacopeia of remedies: one for headaches, another for insomnia, another for anxiety, another for depression. None of these tends to work very well, since the underlying issues of trauma are not addressed".
She talks about getting the correct diagnosis. Investigating under the symptoms, thoroughly knowing the history. After that, the treatments are not just medication or psychotherapy. It's often both, but in a certain way... Safety first, then trauma work, then reconnection. It even goes into the strengths & support the therapist needs to treat people who have experienced trauma as well as details of individual vs group therapies. This book also discusses medications, but doesn't have a multitude of pages devoted to medications.
Please understand my description here is just a slight outline. Trauma and Recovery is an incredibly thorough and well-written work. It also includes many pages of its referenced sources.
The epilogue discusses many things including recent studies, advances and programs since the book was written 2 decades ago.
I highly recommend this book.