Books & Reviews

Below are the books I used to heal, but that’s just me.
For “what is attachment trauma,” check the Audio & Video tab above for scientific videos on attachment and developmental trauma.

The Grief Recovery Handbook,” by John James and Russell Friedman.  If you have childhood and/or attachment trauma, don’t kid yourself.  Following the directions in this book properly will be a big time investment;  I worked it for three years. But it was worth it because it unfroze my dissociated defenses and opened my heart up for these next two books  to heal me.

A General Theory of Love,”  by Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon, three MDs and professors of psychiatry on a mission to break the truth to sadly uniformed Americans. It was passed to me in 2009 with the promo that it has the latest science on how to re-program painful mental patterns like a broken heart. Once I read GTL as we dubbed it, I saw that what I didn’t know was killing me.  It became obvious that I had brain trauma from infancy that had me walking around mis-attuned to people from deep in my brain stem.

Healing Trauma: A Pioneering Program for Restoring the Wisdom of Your Body,” by Dr. Peter A. Levine,  Sounds True, Inc., Boulder CO, 2005.  Make sure you get an edition with the audio CD in the back.  I’m not giving away what happened to me using this, until my own book is published — because Levine is my punchline.  I will say that it did work, big time and explosively.  But if I hadn’t first carefully exercised the Grief Recovery Handbook, I’d have been so frozen that Levine couldn’t have helped me at all.
* Caution:  Don’t Try This at Home!  I used Levine’s book — most importantly the audio exercises on his CD — in the office of an attachment-based therapist.

Women Who Love Too Much,” Robin Norwood, Penguin Pocket Books, New York, 1985.  How did she walk into my brain, dump the contents onto a lab table and make it a NY Times Best-seller?  The frightening case studies held up a mirror showing me on every page. Dozens of women found what Norwood calls “impossible men” who couldn’t relate.  These women “came from severely troubled families in which they had experience greater than normal stress and pain. By struggling to cope with their mates, these partners were unconsciously recreating and reliving significant aspects of their childhood.”  (Note especially “Good Sex in Bad Relationships”)

Changes that Heal,” Dr. Henry Cloud, Zondervan Press, Grand Rapids MI, 1990.  It starts with the doors of an emergency room slamming open to admit Joan, a 35-year old attempted suicide who had everything. But inside her earthly hell grew so dark she couldn’t bear to live.Her mother was so cold that Joan had never bonded to her, and without bonding, Dr. Cloud says, we suffer “sickness of the soul” and die. “What is bonding?” Cloud asks. “It’s the ability to relate to another on the deepest level… share their deepest thoughts, dreams, and feelings with each other with no fear that they will be rejected.”  I couldn’t even imagine such a thing. I began to weep, and it was only Bonding Page 2.  “Who would want to do this with me?” I wrote in the margin. Dr. Cloud understands the human mind and how it develops. He leads us through the four stages of becoming an emotionally whole person: bonding, boundaries, living with ambiguity, and coming out from under control by parents (outside or inside our minds) to a direct relationship with God and our own souls.

The Body Keeps the Scoreby Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, MD.  Healing starts with owning our “self,” he says.  We need 100% acceptance of our self, especially our body, exactly as we are, no guilt, no self condemnation. Only by accepting ourselves as we are, do we become free to change. We must respect our body for putting us into trauma freeze; it was the only way to defend us, as Stephen Porges says.
Here’s a summary of  van der Kolk’s “Do List” for body healing (more in blog on his book cited above).  Each step, however, requires trained specialists and hard work:
–Recognize language is a “miracle and tyrannyFor real change, the body needs to learn that the danger has passed.”
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
–Yoga then teaches us how to inhabit our bodies here, right now; that’s why it’s been used for thousands of years.
–Neurofeedback programs done by trained specialists
–“Finding Your Voice” with theater, singing, and similar.

Safe People, ” Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, (review to come),  Zondervan Press, Grand Rapids, 1995. [Also by both: “Boundaries,” Zondervan Press, Grand Rapids, 2004]

“Getting Love on the Inside,” Dr. Henry Cloud, Lecture CD, April 2002,

The Loss That Is Forever: The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father,” Dr. Maxine Harris, Penguin Books, New York, 1996  (review to come)

Coming Home to Self: The Adopted Child Grows Up,” Dr. Nancy Verrier, self-published, Lafayette, CA, 1993 (review to come)

Polyvagal Theory,” by Dr. Stephen Porges reports we have three distinct nervous systems. Among the “firsts” with mammals, we developed a new part of the vagus nerve with myelin, linked to brain stem areas that regulates muscles of the face and head.  This new “mammalian vagus” in our parasympathetic nervous system let us feel safe with others who smile and attend to us, and so be calm.  When that doesn’t happen, we revert to our more primitive “fight-flight” response in our sympathetic nervous system and prepare for aggression. And if that doesn’t work, we revert to an even more pre-historic un-myelinated part of our vagus nerve which immobilizes us like reptiles. That “freeze” response is useful for reptiles, but “potentially lethal for mammals” —  and that freeze is the origin of trauma.

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6 responses to “Books & Reviews

  1. Hi Kathy, I came across your wonderful site “accidentally”. As a trauma therapist and trauma survivor I am wondering. Is your book a “recipe” for healing? Thank you!

  2. Hi Kathy, I stumbled upon your amazing work after googling-healing myself from attachment trauma. This is after 20 odd years doing talk therapy and only really finally seeing the patterns of my life and the shame I have carried with me for too long. I spent the first 6 months of my life in foster homes, after having been given up by a teen mom. Flash to my infant self being adopted into a family that already had a biological son ( with another premature one soon to come). This early history, combined with the events of the next several months with my new family (my younger brother being premature would make my primary caregivers highly unavailable or absent for many of the critical bonding months) have had a profound effect on my attachment limitations.
    Your writing inspires me! I feel that I too, may be able to move forwards and heal myself to a degree I haven’t yet been able to. I would love to connect you and ask you questions. Thanks so much for your open, insightful and enlightening work!

  3. Hello Kathy, what do you think about Lawrence Heller and his NARM-method?

    • I have Dr. Heller’s book and since he’s trained both by Peter Levine and also in developmental trauma, his method could be excellent; but I’ve not had time to read it so I don’t know.

  4. Kathy, Thank you for this inspring and critical work. Your courage and generosity to share your life with the rest of us is a tremendous gift.
    I have known for a very long time something was terribly wrong, but have only recently learned what the name of all of this is.
    It has been a huge relief to know it wasn’t my fault and can stop blaming myself for feeling broken. Sincerely, Nancy

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