Getting Past Your Past: Take Control of Your Life with Self-Help Techniques from EMDR Therapy by Francine Shapiro
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I'm starting to notice a trend in the books I appreciate most. They often include unique experiential exercises to try out to support healing. This is what I love so much about this book. After trying the techniques out of myself, I wrote them out and tried a few out with clients, and overall people really seemed to like them.
The exercises are geared strongly toward folks who feel like their past is still running their lives - whether in the form of visual flashbacks, feelings of overwhelm, pain that won't go away, or a sense of being transported back to an earlier, younger time. They were hugely helpful with clients who were in the early stages of healing trauma or were experiencing flashbacks or nightmares. It helped my clients when they were feeling unsafe or having difficulty grounding. It helped when they were having repeated disturbing images come up that they were having a hard time getting away from.
Now, like I do with most self-help books, I skipped the first two chapters, because I usually find that it's a review of information I'm already quite familiar with. Jumping in at chapter 3, I was immediately pleased with how the author encourages readers to notice the sensations in the body. I've really found that the body is the centre of healing trauma, and it's also the part of ourselves we tend to be most disconnected from. I'm trained in using a trauma healing technique called Somatic Experiencing (intermediate level) so of course the body-focus would make sense to me. What the book adds is the use of imagery for healing. I really like that and find it to be a nice pairing with body work.
This book could be used as a precursor to undergoing EMDR with a trained therapist or a precursor to any other trauma therapy. It could also be used as a standalone for people who feel fairly confident in managing their own symptoms. In addition to recommending this book to many of my clients, I would also absolutely recommend it for clinicians, even those like myself not planning to do any official EMDR training.
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I'm a psychologist, activist, and writer. I believe in sharing our stories and wisdom as a tool for our own healing as well as the healing of those around us. For this reason I've chosen to share what I'm learning, as well as guest posts from other people who've been there.
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This space will provide information, stories, and answers to big questions about some of my favorite topics - boundaries, burnout, trauma, self compassion, and shame resilience - all from a feminist counselling perspective.