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A New Book that Might Be Helpful for You, or Someone You Know

February '18

In this newsletter, I usually focus on books you might like at the beginning of summer (in the northern hemisphere) — great fiction to devour in the longer, relaxing, days of June, July and August. But today, in the midst of winter, I want to bring to your attention a nonfiction book I think is a true winner. Full disclosure here — the author is a friend of mine.

Gretchen Schmelzer is one of the brightest people I know, and a great story teller, so I was not surprised by the immediate intelligence and compelling text I found in the opening chapters of her book, Journey Through Trauma: A Trail Guide to the 5-Phase Cycle of Healing Repeated Trauma. (I haven’t finished reading her book yet, because it was just released this month.)

In the initial “Invitation” section, Gretchen, (sorry I simply can’t refer to her as Schmelzer) explains that repeated trauma, unlike a car accident, is trauma that happens over and over, whether it is living “through war, or child abuse, or sexual abuse, or domestic violence, or gang violence.” She then elaborates on this definition by outlining three aspects of repeated trauma: “what did happen — the experiences of terror and helplessness that you remember…;what aided survival — the protections you created to survive the trauma…and what didn’t happen — the growth and development you missed, because you were surviving being hurt.”

Gretchen’s informs her readers that “No one heals alone. You will need to find help in order to heal” — help that can be provided by therapists, pastoral counselors, or groups. She has written this book, not as a self-help book, but rather as a guide, or map, of the journey survivors take on the way to wholeness. Her motivation for writing it was to encourage repeated trauma survivors to stay on the challenging trail of healing until they reach their destination.

What illuminates her writing about this topic is her own personal experience with trauma, her work as a psychologist with others who have experienced trauma, and with survivors of WWII, the Khmer Rouge, the Vietnam War and 9/11.

The ring of truth resounds throughout her writing. As you might have guessed I highly recommend this engaging, informative and intelligent book. If you have been a survivor of repeated trauma, or you know other folks who have, this is a perfect present for yourself, or for them.

I’ve devoted this issue of Midlife Discovery to this one book, because I believe it would be so beneficial to any woman at midlife who is looking back over her life and wanting to heal wounds that remain. Perhaps you’ve read a non-fiction book, or books that influenced you as you reinvent your life. Would you be kind enough to share the title and author of any you found helpful?

Thanks so much,
Bonnie

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