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Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others Paperback – May 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 111 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Trauma Stewardship

"Taking on society's biggest challenges can make self-care seem trivial, even self-indulgent. We willingly subordinate our own needs to those of the work and the world at large, often feeling gratitude for the opportunity to do so, then wonder why we're so exhausted. Gently and insightfully, Laura nudges us toward the proverbial balance so that in the end, we can both work and live more fully."
--Chelsea Sexton, alternative fuel vehicle advocate and cofounder of Lightning Rod Foundation and Plug In America, featured in the film Who Killed the Electric Car?

"I saw a lot as a cop in San Diego and as chief of the Seattle Police Department. Looking back on my thirty-four years in policing, I only wish that Trauma Stewardship had been in my car or on my desk that whole time. Whether it's bureaucratic sources of distress or the steady diet of traumatic situations encountered on the streets, Laura's extraordinary book offers a lucid, insightful, often humorous, and always practical guide to the professional who has no choice but to deal with trauma. I can't recommend it highly enough."
--Norm Stamper, PhD, Seattle Chief of Police (Ret.) and author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing

"This impressive book helps one to recognize the effects of trauma exposure everywhere: in ourselves, our organizations, and our society. Readers will be guided (gently) along an individual path of exploration, growth, hope, and recovery. I will be recommending it to everyone I work with."
--Cynthia Garrett, MD, Vancouver Native Health Society Medical Clinic and New Westminster Mental Health Centre

About the Author

Laura van Dernoot Lipsky is a trauma social worker, educator, and consultant. She is also the founder and director of a Spanish-language preschool and grade school enrichment program that offers an environmental and social-justice curriculum. Connie Burk is the executive director of the Northwest Network of Bisexual, Trans, Lesbian and Gay Survivors of Abuse.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; 1 edition (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157675944X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576759448
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Sullivan on April 13, 2009
Format: Paperback
I didn't even know I needed this book. It gives coherent words and structure to understand the process that occurs for those who find themselves caring for others, and what we might need to keep going and make it make sense.

The chapters are concise and readable, with cartoons and anecdotes to make it witty and interesting. I don't know what more I can say except that it is breathtaking.

If you are a nurse/doctor/social worker/psychologist/first responder/legal aid/non-profit/humanitarian worker, even if you think you aren't burnt out or that the trauma you are experiencing in your patients/clients doesn't affect you, read this book! It should be taught in grad school.

As a non-professional who may be responsible for elders or others with special needs, this book could provide a safety valve and strategies for keeping in touch with yourself while caring for others. This is not a self help book. It is a whole new way of looking at the field that is accessible to professionals and non-professionals alike. Wish I had had this years ago.
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How many books do you read that compel you to want to send it to everyone you know? THIS BOOK IS SUCH A BOOK. This work completely transcends its genre. At the risk of sounding over-the-top, if you are a citizen of this Planet, you should read this book. It is dense with nugget after nugget of profound wisdom and insight into the human condition. Let's face it, the World we live in poses very challenging circumstances--both individually and globally. Lipsky does not sugar-coat these realities. Rather, she courageously probes into the core of human trauma and its residual effects, while offering a treasure trove of tools for transcendence. The writer's use of HUMOR is MASTERFUL-she somehow manages to elicit an array of almost "Sedaris-style" belly laughs, while addressing the most serious of life's obstacles. Her profound insight into the recesses, idiosyncracies and trappings of the human mind allows her to offer the golden chord of healing, in the form of pragmatic solutions and tools--we just have to grab on. It's quite a ride!!
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I thought I was doing a good job managing my exposure to others' trauma, until I read this book. What I discovered is that I'm responding in a multitude of subtle ways that have, over time, altered who I am and how I live. Yet, the message I took from the book, is that I chose this path and therefore, as a trauma steward, have a responsibility to manage my trauma exposure response. Instead of feeling hopeless about who I've become, I decided to embrace my responsibility and take back control. I started with simple changes, such as answering my phone when it rings instead of letting it go to voice mail. I noticed an internal shift almost immediately. I had not realized how much I had been avoiding connection and keeping myself isolated as a way to cope with my trauma exposure.

The author's approach to trauma stewardship is systemic and encompasses a variety of domains and ecologies. As a clinical supervisor, I am able to use this material to help my staff recognize and manage their trauma exposure response. We are all using this knowledge to help our clients' caregivers and the external systems that work with our clients recognize and manage their exposure to our clients' trauma. The result of our increased awareness has had a direct and significantly positive effect on our work.

Reading this book was a privilege and a gift. It is original, profound, and eye-opening!
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This has been the most important book I have read as part of my professional career working with survivors of domestic violence. The books gives the necessary perspective to be able to continue doing this type of work for many years. Not only has the book changed the way I look at my work, it has changed the way my agency works with survivors. The best part of Trauma Stewardship is the incredibly straightforward manner in which the information is imparted. This is a must read for anyone trying to do good in the world.
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As someone who has worked in the environmental field for many years, I was delighted to find that this book speaks to my experience as well. Those of us who care deeply for the state of the planet may not use the language of trauma, but this book describes me and my colleagues in conservation and sustainability very well. When you are sitting daily with the realities of environmental degradation, you definitely feel that you can never do enough, and it wears on you at a very deep level. This book provides accessible yet profound strategies for taking care of yourself, and by extension, all forms of life in your care.
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Format: Paperback
Be curious about this book.

And don't forget to breathe. Consider this book an invitation to come home to yourself. Given the reality of our times and histories of oppressions, our home center can seem far away and blue sky can seem out of reach. Yet Trauma Stewardship is here to remind us why we work for justice and how to sustain ourselves and the transformation we seek. With profound insight, Laura guides us towards spaciousness, hopefulness, choice, and liberation.

Beautiful over breakfast.
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