Top positive review
Amazing resource for people with complex trauma
Reviewed in the United States on March 26, 2020
I had actual tears of recognition in my eyes after starting this book; six months later, upon completing it, I feel like I have reached a milestone in my recovery from abuse. I felt understood by this book in a way that I never have before with a psychology or therapy text, except for Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery. This book is absolutely invaluable for someone with complex trauma in childhood, who used dissociation as their main defense mechanism.
I am somewhere on the dissociative continuum (I had symptoms resembling DID in adolescence), though it wasn't identified as the source of my mental health problems until mid-adulthood, when I finally sought treatment for sexual abuse and trauma rather than depression alone, and then everything changed for the better. I started reading this as a follow-up to The Stranger in the Mirror (an excellent overview of dissociation), not expecting to get much out of this one, as therapy workbooks tend to be challenging for me. But I found myself highlighting every page.
It's a gentler alternative to works that focus on sexual violence (many of which have helped, but those are hard to read when triggered). It's also made grounding and mindfulness exercises more accessible for me, since these are written expressly with a dissociative/traumatized reader in mind. The language, too, is so clear and validating. Some chapters might be more triggering, depending on your experience-- I was surprised that the relational stuff was harder for me-- so personally I recommend skipping a chapter or section if you feel like you're "fighting" with it, then returning to it later on. I had good luck with this approach. And don't be afraid to spend more time on a challenging chapter. You'll get out of the book what you put into it.
I wish I had encountered this book years ago, but I'm just so glad to have it now. Best $17 I've ever spent. I want to tell the writers thank you.