theraputicimaginationHolmes, J. (2014). The Therapeutic Imagination: Using Literature to Deepen Psychodynamic Understanding and Enhance Empathy.
Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University

If one were to summarize the perspective extolled within The Therapeutic Imagination, it would inarguably be that imagination is the key to effective psychotherapy. Imagination, here, is of the sort that is applied to empathetic definition, understanding, and potential conception of the thoughts and feelings of others. The book further explores the idea that those well versed in different forms of literature are resultantly gifted with a broad emotional and psychological framework they can use to understand the existential experiences of clients. Taking these principles into constant consideration, different forms of literature and select authors are looked at and explained as illustrative of certain central principles in therapy and psychological expression. Functioning as a sort of expansive thought experiment, the book attempts to define the necessary and essential aspects of therapy and explain them through literature. Concurrently, it argues that the ability to perceive fully the psychological and emotional ramifications of certain mental illnesses and therapy, one needs to be aware of outside conceptions. Throughout, the book points to understanding the thoughts and feelings of authors and poets as an avenue furthering more empathic clinical work.

Well-sourced and highly cognizant of the historical and contemporary foundations of psychiatry and psychotherapy, The Therapeutic Imagination is as much a theoretical work in its own right as it is a consolidation of what is already known about the therapeutic process. It can then be seen as a guide trying to reframe existing knowledge through relating necessary factors in therapy work with emotional and existential narratives derived from poetry and fiction. The process for explanation the book uses is broken into three parts. The first concerns the imagination of therapists, the ability for them to understand and express their own thoughts and feelings internally. The second is concerned with narrative style and how it plays a role in conveying the transformational and storytelling aspects of psychotherapy. The third part heavily draws upon literary accounts as illustrations of numerous psychiatric conditions. With the use of poetic examples, the final part shows the failure of psychiatry to serve its patients without the incorporation of psychodynamic creativity and imagination.

The Therapeutic Imagination, as a result of its focusing on multifaceted internal and intangible aspects of the psychotherapeutic process, might best serve as supplemental reading for individuals first learning how to conduct effective therapy. There is a definite slant towards student readers here, although the book by no means limits itself to that audience narratively or in attention to detail. Professional readership will also find the book useful for its captivation of the parts of therapy inexpressible outside of the artistic viewpoint. In exploring the imaginative capacity needed for the therapist to deepen their understanding and work with clients, those therapists experiencing difficulty in their work might find new meaning behind it. Because it sometimes reads like a textbook (speaking the author’s background in writing textbooks for psychotherapy), there is an intermittent dryness to some parts of this narrative, however this can be forgiven as these parts add greater theoretical and scientific background to the author’s discussion. While the certainty with which some of the concepts are discussed might be off-putting for those not already artistically inclined, the book nonetheless brings forth a wealth of interesting ideas that many will find highly intellectually stimulating.

Jeremy Holmes has worked for 35 years as a consultant psychiatrist and medical psychotherapist in the National Health Service (NHS). Currently, he is a visiting professor at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, conducting lectures nationally and internationally. An avid writer, his most recent works include The Oxford Textbook of Psychotherapy, Storr’s The Art Of Psychotherapy, and Exploring In Insecurity: Towards an Attachment-Informed Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy.

Holmes, J. (2014). The Therapeutic Imagination: Using Literature to Deepen Psychodynamic Understanding and Enhance Empathy. New York, NY: Routledge.
ISBN: 978-0-415-81957-2.
Hardcover. 200 pages. Includes index and references.

justonethingHanson, R. (2011). Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time.
Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University

Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time is a step by step guide aimed towards improving psychological well being in all aspects of personal, social, and emotional life. The book incorporates a mildly Buddhist-influenced perspective as it guides readers through a series of techniques aimed at improving the quality of human experience. Mindfulness is central to the narrative throughout, and steps are broken down so that the book, which is primarily concerned with self-help, can be as useful and accessible as possible. No single part or step is necessary here, either. The book stresses that one need not bog themselves down in the semantics and particularities of the provided guidelines and instructions if they feel there is a better means of achieving the book’s goals. There is also an intermittent psychological and neuroscientific presence and occasional explanation for the mindfulness process taught. Engaging the self to positively impact neuroplasticity through repetition and practice is the end goal, and through following the book, a diverse audience might benefit from its techniques and conceptual approach.

The driving point in Just One Thing is that small changes in daily routine can have a large positive impact on stress, health, and overall emotional life. In its own words, the book aims to help you “be good to yourself, enjoy life as it is, build on your strengths, be more effective at home and work, and make peace with your emotions.” The way this is achieved is through the practice of the book’s series of fifty-two mindfulness exercises. Separated into five parts, the sections cover being good to yourself, enjoying life, building upon strengths, engaging the world, and being at peace, respectively. The design of the book is such that the basic exercises build upon one another so that when read in order readers become more engaged in their emotional awareness. The model followed here is aimed towards expanding conscious awareness and bears some degree of similarity to cognitive behavioral therapy. Since the narrative and presentation styles are designed like a self-help book with less overt psychological or scientific explanations, the book is accessible to a diverse crop of readership. Professionals will find the book especially useful for its different methods for increasing mindfulness that might help them direct their own instructions during therapy with clients. The lessons included are crucial to improving the human experience on a basic level while also avoiding being too dry or heavy handed in new-age thinking. This might help some readers to reinvigorate their therapeutic practice and reconsolidate goals. That there is a definite neuroscientific influence present in the book furthers its broad clinical efficacy.

A self-help book that combines the underlying principles of CBT with a new-age influenced outlook on mindfulness, Just One Thing is promising in its potential application. While at times quite simple, it is the book’s boiled down elements and easy to read style that make it most effective. Not meant to be followed strictly and not expecting the kind of dedicated consistency other contemporaries demand, it is made for the average reader to pick up and use as needed. Not dedicating more than a few pages per lesson makes this style maintain its point. Those who already have a background in mindfulness training will find this book helpful in honing goals and outcome expectancies, and those who do not will benefit from the gradual building process that it presents. Readers open to doing so will find that, even after a short read, they will be shown useful and practical techniques for the present moment.

Rick Hanson, PhD, is a neuropsychologist and Affiliate of the of the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California. He has been invited to speak at numerous universities, including Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford. He is also the author of Buddha’s Brain.

Hanson, R. (2011). Just One Thing: Developing a Buddha Brain One Simple Practice at a Time.
Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
ISBN: 978-1-60882-031-3.
Paperback. 224 pages. Includes references.

Book Review Cover-SPTThe USABP interns do a miraculous job supporting the International Body Psychotherapy Journal and lending a hand to Somatic Psychotherapy Today. One role they assume, under the guidance of Jacqueline Carleton, PhD, is to read and review genre related to our field for the Resources column in SPT. My experience working with the USABP interns the past 5 years has been one of mutual respect and a willingness to learn. And, they are voracious readers who write in-depth reviews with an academic slant as well as personal reflection and experience.

They turned in so many stellar reviews for 2015 releases that SPT created a Special Summer Book Review issue to highlight their extensive work and share these books with our readers. The reviews offer insight into the content, structure, format and worth of these books—why you might be interested in reading them, what you might learn by doing so, and is it worth your time and money to buy the book.

We offer this special review to members of the USABP, the EABP, and the SPT Community as a thank you for your continued support, as a time saver, and as some fun beach reading. What book will you pick up next?

I’m reading Hakomi Mindfulness_Centered Somatic Psychotherapy: A Comprehensive Guide to Theory and Practice, edited by Halko Weiss, Greg Johanson and Lorena Monda. Yep, I have a review by a USABP intern and I want to read the book and interview the authors to share their reflections on writing this book.

Stay tuned for more in the fall


buddasbrainHanson, R. (2009). Buddha’s Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, and wisdom.
Reviewed by: Anny Reyes, New York University

Neuroscience is being widely used to explain concepts and ideas that were once separated from science, such as religion, spirituality, and contemplative practices. Experts in these fields are utilizing basic neuroscience such as neuroanatomy, neurophysiology, and evolutionary biology to explain concepts and applications to their areas of expertise. Understanding our mind, how it functions, and how we can gain control over it has been one of the world’s most preeminent challenges. Some of the greatest philosophers, Descartes, Aristotle, and Locke, dedicated their lives to understanding the mystery of the mind and its relationship with the 3-pound organ that controls every mechanism in our body, the brain.

In the introduction Hanson outlines the format of the book, its purpose, and how it could be put into practice. He explains how neuroscience research supports the idea that you could use your mind to change your brain and ultimately change your life. The book is then divided into four parts: the causes of suffering, happiness, love, and wisdom, which are the central themes of Hanson’s Buddhist beliefs and framework. The first part of the book provides a comprehensive background on basic brain anatomy, brain mechanisms, and how our brains give rise to emotions. Hanson also provides evolutionary explanations for emotions and our reactions to everyday situations and to life’s more traumatic experiences. The research was relevant and the explanations as to the causes of suffering were very straightforward.

However, the later chapters follow a less evidence-based framework. This is an area where experts in a field outside neuroscience must be cautious not to make conclusions based on assumptions or personal opinions. Neuroscience follows an empirical framework and anything that’s not scientifically proven is not taken at face value, therefore when using neuroscience research to explain certain concepts, only evidence-based explanations should be provided. Overall the book is moderately well researched, some chapters more than others. Despite the lack of relevant research in certain parts of the book, Hanson provides a great overview of the different concepts and practices related to the three themes of the book, happiness, love, and wisdom.

Hanson, R. (2009). Buddha’s Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, and wisdom. ISBN: 978-1-57224-695-9.
Paperback. 251 pages.
Contains references, forward, and preface.

whensexhurtsGoldstein, A. (2011). When Sex Hurts: A Woman’s Guide to Banishing Sexual Pain.
Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University

When Sex Hurts: A Woman’s Guide to Banishing Sexual Pain is a medically informed self-help book directed at women who suffer severe and long term pain during sex, as well as general genital pain during contact with afflicted areas. Drawing from both a medical and psychological framework, the book breaks down the many reasons a person might be experiencing such pain. It makes clear that pain during sex is exceedingly common and often not well-understood or diagnosed, even by professionals. It also emphasizes that sex does not need to be painful, which is on its own a powerful notion for those who have always experienced such symptoms. Especially of note here is that the book is designed for women without any medical or psychological background, and a significant portion of what is covered is aimed at teaching, alleviating fears and insecurities, and helping readers develop comfort with their bodies. Primarily focusing on the medical and physical spectrum of the various potential and common causes of pain, the psychological influence of trauma, insecurity, intentions, communication, and comfort with sexual partners are present here but are not as emphasized narratively. For those therapists who wish to expand their own knowledge of the phenomenon, the book will bring them up to speed on the newest medical and psychological considerations in diagnosis and treatment.

When Sex Hurts is structured in three parts, essential background information, the root of the problem, and when pain is gone, each reflecting the healing process as part of a continuum. Readers first get an overview of the problem, the commonality of it, what forms it might take, and reasons it might be there. The book then moves on to discuss pain more generally and how to think about it medically and personally. The third chapter covers how best to address pain and symptoms you may have with your doctor, what terminology you should know, and explains that seeing different doctors might be necessary if what’s occurring isn’t being addressed effectively. The following chapter discusses how to contain damage to your relationship, with different avenues of communication and understanding discussed, as well as how to maintain a healthy romance in spite of pain. The next several chapters discuss the various specific causes of sexual pain, which comprises the majority of the book’s contents. Disorders, infections, the effects of childbirth, pelvic and nerve pain, and psychological influences among other things are covered here. It is all very detail-oriented in a way that is easy to digest for average readers. The final part of the book discusses how to pick up the pieces of your life once the pain is alleviated, and deals largely with interpersonal relationships, prognoses, and how to adjust into a truly fulfilling sex life.

Because it is such a pervasive factor in the lives of many women, it is highly likely that having an understanding of the problem of sexual pain will be useful for therapists and their clients. Because this is an issue that might come up in therapy, the problem warrants greater understanding so that informed guidance can be given. The portion of the book dedicated to the potential psychological roots of sexual pain are, admittedly, lacking in comparison to the far more expansive sections on medical and biological problems. In part, this is due to the authors being medical doctors, and also due to sexual pain having been inappropriately considered a primarily psychological problem for the last several decades. This is something the authors make clear does more harm than good and allows avoidance of effective steps towards symptom improvement. Ultimately, the book is significant because of the good that it can do for those women who experience this kind of pain and are not getting informed or proper advice on how to think about and address it. What that might entail informatively for professionals depends on their practice, and individual therapeutic considerations.

Andrew Golstein, MD, is the president of the International Society for Study of Women’s Sexual Health. Caroline Pukall, PhD., is a leading researcher of female sexual pain and dysfunction, and works as an associate professor at Queen’s University. Irwin Goldstein, MD, has performed patient care and research for sexual dysfunction for thirty years. All three also co-authored the influential textbook Female Sexual Pain Disorders, considered groundbreaking work on the topic.

Goldstein, A. (2011). When Sex Hurts: A Woman’s Guide to Banishing Sexual Pain. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press.
ISBN: 978-0-7382-1398-9.
Paperback. 250 pages. Includes glossary, notes, index, and references.

neurobiologytreatmentLanius, U. F., Paulsen, S. L., & Corrigan, F.M. (2014). Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation: Toward and Embodied Self.
Reviewed by: Anny Reyes, New York University

One can agree that research findings on the neurobiological underpinnings of psychopathology could help aid in forming successful interventions and treatments. However, there is a gap between science and practice. It is difficult to find a comprehensive integration of both research and clinical interventions in many psychopathological conditions such as traumatic stress syndromes and dissociation disorders. Dissociation is often explained in a dichotomous fashion, either in a psychoanalytic context or purely neurobiological, with no implications of a common ground. Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation provides 22 chapters of integrative research and clinical applications written by various experts in the fields of affective and cognitive neuroscience, animal research, psychology, and psychiatry, among others.

The text is divided into two parts: the first part is focused on the neurobiology of dissociation and the second is dedicated to treatment and interventions. The first part of the book is aimed at providing the neurobiological framework behind traumatic dissociation that informs clinical practice and treatment. One of the main goals of the authors is to provide well-grounded research that could further advance the understanding of traumatic dissociation and create the missing dialogue between researchers and clinicians. The material in the first part of the book is very dense in neurobiology, neuroscience, and neuroendocrine terminology, which could present an obstacle for clinicians who do not have any neuroscience background. However, the authors provide explanations and definitions of many of the general concepts explored and they make occasional references to clinical terminology and treatment. It is noteworthy that the book is targeted at clinicians and researchers who are looking to further expand their expertise in traumatic dissociation.

The second part of the book is focused on treatment and integrating the research previously discussed. For each concept explored several options for treatment and intervention are provided, along with case examples and vignettes. The authors focus on the theoretical background of the treatments and not on step-by-step guidelines. Therefore, further reading is recommended if a clinician is interested in incorporating these interventions into their clinical practice. The editors did an exceptional job at putting together a comprehensive source of emerging research in the neurobiology of traumatic dissociation and stress.

Lanius, U. F., Paulsen, S. L., & Corrigan, F.M. (2014). Neurobiology and Treatment of Traumatic Dissociation: Toward and Embodied Self.
ISBN: 978-0-8261-0631-5.
Paperback. 510 pages. Includes: Index. Keywords: traumatic dissociation, neurobiology, integrative research.

body-movement-journalMalkina-Pykh, I. G. (2015). Effectiveness of rhythmic movement therapy: Case study of subjective well-being. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy, 10(2), 106-120.

The following study was to assess the effectiveness of Rhythmic Movement Therapy (RMT) in improving Subjective Well-Being (SWB) in a non-clinical population. Subjective Well-Being is defined as a person’s declared well-being based on their perceived satisfaction with life or happiness. According to the literature review, body-oriented interventions are still in the early stages for demonstrating increases in SWB. RMT is defined as a psychological intervention that is rooted in body-oriented psychotherapy, dance movement psychotherapy, and rhythmic gymnastics. In the research design, subjects were divided into a low to medium SWB level group and a high SWB level group. Group 1 was randomly assigned to 10 RMT groups and 5 control groups. The RMT intervention consisted of 16 once-a-week sessions of 45-50 minutes. Several questionnaires were collected from 273 subjects. The questionnaires that were used to assess SWB were: the Integral Index of Social Well-Being (IISW), Personal Orientation Inventory, the General Locus of Control Scale of the Locus of Control Inventory (LOC), the Neuroticism Scale from the Eysenck Personality Inventory, the Toronto Alexithymia Scale, the Body Image Test, the Personal Perfectionism Scale (PPS), the Sociotropy Scale of the Personal Style Inventory, and the Symbol Personality Test. Results indicated improvement in SWB level in subjects from the RMT group compared to the subjects of the control groups.

What I liked about the study is that based on all of the personality variables used to measure SWB, there were significant associations between SWB and neuroticism, high self-directedness, external locus of control, low levels of alexithymia, low body image dissatisfaction, low sociotropy and low perfectionism. In this case, I felt the researcher operationalized the concept of SWB quite well. However, I thought that it would have been useful to provide test-retest reliability and alpha coefficients for all tests used in the study in order for readers to understand why such instruments were selected. I also appreciated that the researcher demonstrated all of the statistical analyses performed on the data and that the data demonstrated improvements that were statistically significant between all variables. The researcher mentioned that there were some limitations to the study such as providing only a partial explanation for the influence of personality on SWB; that the statistics used do not prove causality; that the IISW test did not include a family domain which SWB studies argue is one of the most important domains; the study sample is small; and that the effectiveness of RMT is not compared to other methods of treatment.

What is significant about this study for the field of body psychotherapy is that body-oriented therapy, such as RMT, can positively influence one’s level of happiness in life and that this is now being demonstrated by research. I appreciate that the author mentions not only do such interventions increase SWB at individual levels, but such interventions stimulate the development of increasing SWB at public policy levels. I feel that our field needs more studies that show the effectiveness of body-oriented therapies and as the author recommends, that such interventions be compared to other therapies and that longer studies with follow-ups are needed to better assess the effectiveness of treatments. I truly believe that body-oriented therapy is on its way to becoming the standard of doing therapy where the body is seen as a necessary component to treatment for psychological recovery and well-being. As Jack Lee Rosenberg stated years ago, it will one day be “unethical to do therapy without a somatic perspective” (as cited in Caldwell, 1997, p. 6).

Caldwell, C. (1997). Getting in touch: The guide to new body-centered therapies. Wheaton, IL: Quest Books.

Sharon StopforthSharon Stopforth, MSW, RSW has been a counselor for 15 years specializing in anxiety, depression, addiction, abuse and trauma. Sharon is a Certified Integrative Body Psychotherapy practitioner and is currently working on her Ph.D. to further research in the field of body psychotherapy.

8 steps to pain freeGokhale, E. (2008). 8 Steps To A Pain-Free Back: Remember When It Didn’t hurt.
Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University

At first glance, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back would appear to be a fairly straightforward book about methods for back correction. To think this would not be entirely incorrect, as the bulk of the book’s contents and the point behind its principles revolve around posture correction to alleviate back pain. Where the book diverges considerably from contemporary guides is in explaining the origins of and corrections for back pain. The book is written by Esther Gokhale, an anthropologist with a background in integrative therapy. The perspective she undertakes came after studying the postures and physically involved routines of various cultures around the world. Her point in the book is that the rampant chronic back pain observed in western cultures and modern societies stems from our poor posture, and that our change in posture is related to specific sociocultural practices. It should be noted that the book is exclusively interested in explaining this phenomenon in biological, physical, and anthropologic terms. She observes that among certain cultures with seemingly more physically intense daily routines, various postures play a role in avoiding spinal strain. The book operates as a graphically detailed guide to adjusting posture and movement to improve or eliminate back pain, taking techniques from around the world in tandem with one another to accomplish this.

Because the central focus of the book is to improve back pain, each of the eight steps mentioned in its title explain through written guides and visual aids how to change posture and body orientation. Before this, the book shows how notions of proper posture in western society are incorrect and what biological ramifications our existing conceptions have on spinal and physical health. It then goes on to explain the immediate benefits of change for the body, and details how to approach the forthcoming lessons. The lessons themselves are organized by forms of posture change followed by the scenarios readers would practice them in. It starts with stretch-sitting, then stretch-lying on your back, stack-sitting, stretch-lying on your side, using your inner corset, tall-standing, hip-hinging, and glide-walking. It also includes at the end some optional exercises, diagrams of basic human anatomy, and a list of the sources used. In each step, as postures and techniques are explained, they are also accompanied by helpful and detailed diagrams that are simple to follow. Alongside this, numerous anthropological observations are given to explain how and when posture differences developed. This is also done with consciousness towards how posture changes over the lifetime and with outcome expectancies following correction, making the dialogue fairly cohesive for readers of any age.

Those readers looking to improve their posture and physical well-being will find 8 Step to a Pain Free Back intrinsically helpful through the techniques it incorporates and the presentation style that it employs. The written and diagrammed instructions are specific and detailed, and there is a strong biological and physical therapy influence in the solutions proposed. Additionally, having suggested corrections that come from an anthropologic framework may speak more to readership involved in studying and practicing in the social sciences. As a result, this book may have greater efficacy within this particular population of readers versus other books that use similar techniques but which lack the same theoretical explanations and narrative. This is, at its core, a book on posture correction, but for those interested in mindfulness and body therapy techniques, the book may be useful in expanding knowledge in this subject.

Esther Gokhale, L.Ac., has had a lifelong interest in integrative therapies. She has studied biochemistry at Harvard and Princeton, and later acupuncture at the San Francisco School of Oriental Medicine. Following her own experiences with crippling back pain and the ineffective treatments for it, she decided to find a more lasting solution. After studying at the Aplomb Institute in Paris, she performed long running anthropological research in Burkina Faso, Brazil, India, Portugal, and elsewhere to to develop the Gokhale Method, which she currently teaches and is most known for.

Gokhale, E. (2008). 8 Steps To A Pain-Free Back: Remember When It Didn’t hurt. Palo Alto, CA: Pendo Press.
ISBN: 978-0-9793036-0-9.
Paperback. 228 pages. Includes appendix, glossary, bibliography, and index.
Key words: back pain, physical therapy, anthropology, chronic pain, first-person, posture

recollectionofsexualabuseCourtois, C. (1999). Recollections of Sexual Abuse: Treatment Principles and Guidelines.

Reviewed by: Michael Fiorini, New York University

Recollections of Sexual Abuse: Treatment Principles and Guidelines is a widely encompassing diagnostic manual for practicing clinicians to assist, frame, and guide in the treatment of sexual abuse recollection. The book first covers the past and contemporary (as of 1999) historical context of sexual abuse that is remembered after the fact. From there, it details relevant knowledge pertaining to recollected sexual abuse and outlines that information for application in the clinical setting. It establishes a practical and theoretical framework for clinicians to work through and places it along a continuum of tailored treatment. Extensive research is cited throughout the book as well, and from a research perspective it can be extremely useful as a tool for guiding future or current research. A multifaceted approach, it is designed so that even those without any background in treating this particular kind of disorder will, by the end of the book, have an intricate knowledge of recollected sexual abuse and how it differs dynamically from her forms of affect, recollections, and abuse clinically. For those who already have some knowledge of the topic but wish to further expand what they know and can use in treatment, the book is equally invaluable.

Recollections of Sexual Abuse seeks to outline what is currently known about recollections of sexual abuse, how to consider it clinically, and how to treat it. All of this is done through a strict scientific and research foundation. The book first frames how the phenomenon has been handled in the past within the psychological community and details the adverse ramifications mishandling it had for how sexual abuse and clinical treatment were approached on a macro scale. It then frames the present context and the controversies behind false memories. After the socio-historical portion of the book, the structure of the rest of the book becomes topical. It explores trauma and memory interactions, child sexual abuse and memory, the philosophy and principles of practice and the evolving standards of care, and the evolving consensus model of post-trauma treatment focused on symptom relief and functioning. After this, the book centers largely on clinical guidelines. It covers guidelines for risk management, for assessment and diagnosis, for working with memory issues, and explains countertransference issues and a treatment decision model within a framework for different clinical memory scenarios. The book closes with extensive appendices and references that comprises a quarter of the book’s total content.

Essentially an expansive textbook for explaining the clinical intervention and consideration of sufferers of sexual abuse recollection, Recollections of Sexual Abuse contains a wealth of information for professional clinicians of all levels of experience in the topic. Detailed, conscious, and considered in its means of framing clinical scenarios and underlying goals in treatment, the book could be considered required reading for those working with patients who have reported experiencing recollected sexual abuse. Strictly clinical and very dense, it can serve as a jumping off point for the treatment process and for those looking to expand their expertise in treating traumatic experiences either real or imagined.

Christine Courtois, PhD, is a psychologist in private practice and serves as clinical director of The CENTER: Post-Traumatic Disorders program in the Psychiatric Institute of Washington. She conducts national and international workshops on the treatment of incest and of forms of sexual abuse and trauma. She has also authored Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy and Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. Appointed a member of several APA investigate groups studying child abuse and family violence, she was also the recipient of the APA award for distinguished professional contributions to applied psychology as a professional practice in 1996.

Courtois, C. (1999). Recollections of Sexual Abuse: Treatment Principles and Guidelines. New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
ISBN: 978-0-393-70397-5.
Paperback. 437 pages. Includes appendix, index, and references.
Key words: sexual abuse, rape, recollection, memory, trauma, diagnostic tools, treatment guidelines


Sharon Stopforth

Edwards, J. (2015). Exploring sensory sensitivities and relationships during group dance movement psychotherapy for adults with autism. Body, Movement and Dance in Psychotherapy, 10(1), 5-20.

The following study was conducted to explore the sensory experiences of adults with autism using Dance Movement Therapy (DMT). The author was interested in observing the attachment behaviors of adults with autism and finding out how they form relationships. The author used a case study design and justified using a qualitative design in order to explore human experience. As a result of selecting this design, only four participants were observed over an eight week period. To avoid bias, the researcher kept a reflexive journal and invited another researcher to observe the participants in order to compare findings. The researcher was aware that her extensive knowledge and experience working with autistic clients and her training as a dance movement therapist would potentially lead to bias. The researcher attempted to address this bias by asking a therapist with different training to be a co-researcher. Findings showed that participants experienced sensory sensitivities that influenced their relationships. The participants were able to adjust to each other’s sensory needs and become more aware of each other’s emotional and mental state. The researcher concluded that more research is needed for the autistic adult population.
The researcher did an excellent job in describing the literature available on autism, sensory integration and attachment theory. I was happy to see that she dispelled the myth that autistic children are the result of being brought up in an environment lacking emotional warmth. Instead, she mentioned new research that shows there is a neurobiological and sensory basis to autism. Also, she points out that a recent study shows that children with autism are able to form healthy attachments. The researcher also was thorough in describing the aim of her study and outlining her research questions. Often, in my experience, authors of research articles fail to put the aim of their study and research questions in clear terms. I appreciated that the researcher recruited another researcher to record observations in order to minimize bias. The researcher presented the findings with rich descriptions from the participants as well as entries from her journal and from the co-researcher.

The researcher states that a limitation of the study was the small number of participants and cannot be generalized. By choosing to conduct a qualitative study, a small sample size is justified. Case studies generally do not exceed a sample size of four or five cases (Creswell, 2007). A case study is a good approach when the inquirer seeks to provide an in-depth understanding of the cases (Creswell, 2007). I feel one of the limitations of the study was that only well-functioning individuals were selected. Perhaps different results would have arisen had the participants been lower functioning. I appreciate that notes on the contributor were included about the researcher and her background, however I would have liked to see something about the background of the co-researcher in this section to get a sense of the differences between them and how this may have informed the study.

This study contributes to knowledge in the field of body psychotherapy by using a somatic intervention with a population that experiences difficulty in communicating verbally. What is unique about this study is that it demonstrates a relationship between sensory processing and our ability to develop attachments and form relationships. As more research is conducted in this area, hopefully it will provide more evidence that somatic interventions provide a missing link that verbal therapies cannot regarding the brain and attachment.

Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Reviewed by Sharon Stopforth

Sharon Stopforth, MSW, RSW has been a counselor for 15 years specializing in anxiety, depression, addiction, abuse and trauma. Sharon is a Certified Integrative Body Psychotherapy practitioner and is currently working on her Ph.D. to further research in the field of body psychotherapy.

Lee, T. (2014). Trilogy of body imaginary: Dance/movement therapy for a psychiatric patient with depression. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 41, 400-408.

Reviewed by: Nevine Sultan, MA, LPC, NCC

Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) developed in North America around the early 1950s as an interdisciplinary practice integrating the creative expression of the body with verbal communication within a psychotherapeutic context. Expressive body movement allows clients to access both their inner and outer worlds, enhancing clients’ sense of self-in-relation. At this time, much of the empirical literature addressing DMT is Eurocentric (based on Western concepts and values) given that many of the research studies conducted on DMT take place in the Western world.

This case study examined the application of DMT with a 56-year-old Taiwanese woman diagnosed with major depression with psychotic features. The client reported experiencing physical fatigue, chronic insomnia, weight loss, and a suicide attempt. At the commencement of treatment, the client exhibited flat affect, and a number of dissociative symptoms including vocal monotony, glazed eyes, and low engagement with her physical surroundings, even with her therapist (the researcher). The intervention consisted of three phases of treatment designed to (a) build the therapeutic relationship, (b) enhance the client’s body awareness and allow her to create her own verbal interpretations of her bodily experience, and (c) facilitate the client’s embodiment of her imagination, enabling her to make contact with her inner conflict and reveal the true nature of her trauma.

Treatment involved weekly DMT 60-minute sessions over the course of two years, with a one-month annual pause during Chinese New Year. Phase one included 16 sessions in which each session opened with three movements of dharma discipline: Shuai Shou Tong Mai (moving hands to unobstruct meridians); Ti Jiao Tong Mai (stretching legs to unobstruct meridians); and Tian Di Zhen Dong (shaking all of the body). As the therapist facilitated the client’s release of muscular tension, the client voiced her experience to the therapist, thus enhancing the therapeutic connection, and allowing the client to access her trauma and bring it into the process of therapy.

Phase two included 30 sessions predominantly using the Rumba, the client’s preferred style of dance. The therapist noted that the client’s use of ballroom dance, and her description of her inability to dance without being led by her teacher, indicated her preference to be a follower versus a leader, and allowed her to engage her sensuality and femininity to attract the opposite sex in her desire for love. However, the therapist used this phase of the treatment to encourage the client to direct the therapeutic process through her knowledge of ballroom dance. The client’s taking on a teaching role enabled her to experiment with being the leader. The therapist also urged the client to free walk in order to explore her unintegrated parts, release her body from the restrictions of ballroom dance, break habituated movement, and become more grounded and embodied.

Phase three included 22 sessions using the flying dance, in which the client embodied fairies, flying birds, and other characters from her imaginary world played out through spontaneous and highly energetic body movement. Stepping away from the consistency of ballroom dance and into a more improvisational form of body movement helped the client release the need to see herself through the lens of observers (both real and imagined) and to instead see herself through her solitary experience, and through her experience directing the therapist. The client’s ability to embody her imagination and act out her fantasies through spontaneous body movement supported the release of repetition and dissociation. The client was then able to express her feelings and thoughts in an instinctive and unrehearsed manner, which ultimately paved the way for a connection between the client’s soma and psyche.

One of the limitations of case study research in general is the restricted transferability and/or generalizability of the findings. However, this case study had a number of strengths, including the rich descriptions of each of the client’s and the therapist’s experience, and the utilization of a culturally sensitive intervention designed to suit the demographic considerations of the client and the geographic location of the treatment. This case study and its findings provide a platform for further qualitative research in DMT, especially within multicultural settings. As we strive to establish an evidence base for body psychotherapy, it is important that our research efforts and findings reflect the knowledge, theory, and clinical practice of our discipline in as comprehensive and universal a manner as possible.

NevineNevine Sultan, MA, LPC, NCC

Nevine has a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from St. Mary’s University, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision with a concentration in Somatics. She lives and practices in San Antonio, TX, specializing in trauma, dissociative disorders, and grief. Nevine embraces an embodied phenomenological approach to counseling and psychotherapy, research, and teaching. She is especially passionate about the relationally shared experience between therapist and client, and the impact of the embodiment and somatic awareness of the therapist on empathic presence and therapeutic praxis.

The way of mindful eduRechtschaffen, D. (2014). The Way of Mindful Education. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 318 pages. IBSN:978-0-393-7-895-0

Reviewed by: Alexa D’Angelo, Hunter College

In a time of increased state testing and common-core chaos, Daniel Rechtschaffen shares an alternative approach to education. The Way of Mindful Education, joins the mindfulness movement currently taking place across the globe, emphasizing the importance of mindful exercises, for both educators and students. Rechtschaffen claims that we expect high levels of attention and focus from students, but do not teach children how to focus (10). It is this oversight that the book attempts to correct. The Way of Mindful Education, highlights the need for mindful education, while offering sample curricula and exercises for a mindful classroom. Rechtschaffen has supplied all the tools a teacher would need to begin to apply to their classroom setting, and cultivate a mindful learning experience. This book is written primarily for educators, however anyone working with children could benefit from its teachings.

Rechtschaffen recognizes that a mindful education is entirely dependent on the mindfulness of teachers. In other words, teachers must practice what they preach! Part II asks teachers to focus on themselves and increase their own mindfulness (41). Part II asks teachers to take time to focus their attention inward in the hope of developing a mindful attitude, which they will inevitably pass onto their students (41). Through the cultivation of embodiment, attention, heartfulness, interconnectedness and emotional intelligence, teachers can better identify what is needed to creative a positive, mindful classroom (86). These tools could prove helpful not only for the wellbeing of one’s student’s, but for the well-being and consciousness of individual educators.

Part IV offers a myriad of different exercises for teachers to implement in their classrooms in the hopes of creating a mindfull and productive learning environment. The exercises range from stillness practice, to journal entries, dialogue prompts, along with drawing and writing activities (161). These simple activities are used to introduce mindful playing, eating, moving, breathing etc., in a manner that is engaging and exciting for students. Part IV also offers sample scripts to guide teachers through their introduction of mindful exercises (184).

The Way of Mindful Education encourages educators to improve their classroom experience using the various tools and exercises offered. It not only allows teachers to recognize an increasing need for mindful education, but also offers comprehensive and attainable methods as to how to go about introducing mindful education to their students. This book could greatly improve the academic experiences of children of all ages and backgrounds.

The Therapist's treasureCaby, A. & Caby, F. (2014). The therapist’s treasure chest: Solution-oriented tips and tricks for everyday practice. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 345 pages. ISBN: 9780393708622

Reviewed by: Mona Zohny, Hunter College

In The Therapist’s Treasure Chest, translated by Jenny Piening, Andrea and Filip Caby have gathered a multitude of interventions designed to be used with children, adolescents and their families in therapy. The authors have gathered these techniques through their own training and experience as well as the experience of other professionals. This book is a practical tool designed to help therapists deal with a multitude of “psychological problems that have not yet become entrenched.” (56)

Part One serves as an overview of both the theoretical framework that the authors use and the therapeutic conversation. They explain their systemic, solution-oriented and resource-focused approach to therapy. The authors also provide examples of effective questioning techniques along with several case examples that help illustrate the concepts in this section.

Part Two describes dozens of therapeutic techniques. Each intervention follows the same format: idea, method, tips (in which the authors offer variations of the technique), indications, contraindications (when it doesn’t work) and the setting. Some techniques are designed to be used in the consulting room while others can be implemented by the client at home. The authors provide detailed descriptions of the purpose and application of each intervention along with case examples in which the technique is successfully implemented.

Part Three focuses on different disorders and behavioral problems clients may have and lists the interventions (found in Part Two) that can be used by therapists to help their clients find a solution. The issues addressed here range from anxiety to sibling rivalry and from intellectual disabilities to nail-biting. The authors provide a brief description of each problem and then list the suggested interventions, followed by general suggestions and/or a case example.

Part Four offers solutions to particularly challenging situations that a therapist typically has to deal with. These situations range from expressions of hopelessness from the client such as “Things are never going to improve!” (294) to arguments in the consulting room. In each scenario, the authors provide a list of helpful responses that a therapist can use to help the client deal with his or her problem.

The Therapist’s Treasure Chest is a valuable resource for therapists working with children and families. The interventions in this book are both creative and practical. The format makes it easy for readers to search for solutions to specific issues or browse through interventions to use in their practice. The authors offer variations for each skill and encourage readers to make adjustments in their own use of these techniques. The case examples provided throughout the text help to illustrate how these interventions can be implemented effectively.

personal construct methodCaputi, P., Viney, L., Walker, B., Crittenden, N. Personal Construct Methodology. Malaysia: Wiley-Blackwell. 348 pages. ISBN:9781119954163.

Reviewed by: Zachariah Calluori, Columbia University

Personal Construct Methodology provides a comprehensive look at the variety of methods, both quantitative and qualitative, that the psychotherapist can use to evaluate the personal constructs of a patient. These methods hinge upon the work of psychologist George Kelly, an originator of constructivist theory, repeatedly cited in this book. In 1955 Kelly suggested that people are “adventurers who are capable of experimenting with how they make sense of their lives”. He formalized this notion in the concept of construing, which says that individuals have the ability to construct the meaning of their own lives. Individuals are constantly in the process of forming and reforming personal theories.

New experiences test and shape the individual constructs on which a personal theory is founded. Personal constructs are formed by contrasts known as bipolars. An individual has many personal constructs, some unique and some shared by others, but all important to construing one’s life. Idiosyncrasy arises in bipolars because they do not rely on dictionary antonyms. For example, two people may identify “fear” as an aspect, but identify a different complement, perhaps “courage” for one person, and “calm” for another. Reality is a hierarchical system of personal constructs, and the uniqueness of one reality from another is further compounded by variation in the ordination of constructs.

Constructivist assessments identify and explore personal narratives and constructions of experience. One such assessment invented by Kelly is the repertory grid, a structured interview that aims to investigate a patient’s construing process. This book covers the repertory grid and other quantitative grid-based methods. However, it also explores non-grid qualitative methods such as laddering and self-characterization.

Personal Construct Methodology presents many methodologies in detail, offering example charts for grid-based methods as well as step-by-step instructions for interactive approaches. Statistical evidence for the validity and success of each methodology is offered. The book deals with a field that owes much to the early work of pioneers, but contemporary progress is evident in the inclusion of chapters regarding computer-aids, new analytic approaches, and the integration of constructivism in a clinical setting. This book presents personal construct theory in a highly relevant way, weaving new analyses, presentations, and applications into recent and established methodologies with an eye towards clinical practice

Caputi, P., Viney, L., Walker, B., Crittenden, N. Personal Construct Methodology. Malaysia: Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN:9781119954163.
Paperback. 348 pages. Includes general index and references for each chapter.

SelfJohnston, A. & Malabou, C. (2013). Self and Emotional Life: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience. New York, New York: Columbia University Press. 276 pages. ISBN: 9780231158312.

Reviewed by Sue Roh, Columbia University

Adrian Johnston and Catherine Malabou in Self and Emotional Life coalesce two seemingly contradictory disciplines: psychoanalysis and neurobiology. While, historically, the two were disparate fields, neurobiology has made innovations that psychoanalysists can no longer ignore. Johnston and Malabou hypothesize that in the future, the field of psychoanalysis will see dramatic changes due to innovations in the life sciences; but the sort of change that will take place is where they diverge in opinion.

For this reason, Self and Emotional Life is not presented in a typical manner. Instead, it switches between Malabou and Johnston’s different arguments. Malabou believes that the future of psychoanalysis will be cut and overrun by neurobiology, but Johnston maintains that psychoanalysis will take into account the impressive advances of neurobiology and incorporate them into their methods of analysis. This disaccord can be attributed to their diverging opinion on the key role of psychoanalysis: While Johnston claims that psychoanalysis can theorize but not treat, Malabou affirms that analysis can neither theorize nor treat.

Johnston and Malabou explore the example of neural plasticity, which demonstrates neurobiology’s inability to elucidate all aspects of the brain. Even Damasio, a contemporary neurobiologist, implies that neurobiology is insufficient in studying the brain to its full capacity. Rather, our subjective experiences shape our brain in a significant way that cannot be ignored. Reducing the body to the brain is disregarding the importance of subjectivity.
The dual approach of neuro-psychoanalysis reconciles these two seemingly divergent fields, and, as Johnston notes, its emergence is a recent innovation. Never before has a coalescence of psychoanalysis, neurobiology, and Continental philosophy occurred. This coalescence will result not only in a new field of psychoanalysis but also innovations in neurobiology, a field which Damasio and LeDoux have spearheaded.

Self and Emotional Life fuses two seemingly opposing fields and is presented vis-à-vis two seemingly opposing arguments. The way the two authors introduce and contest each other’s arguments offers a nuanced and comprehensive understanding that allows the reader to conceptualize his or her perspective on subjectivity. Furthermore, it reaffirms the fact that one does not have to relinquish his or her philosophical soul in order to be engaged with neurobiology or the other life sciences.

Johnston, A. & Malabou, C. (2013). Self and Emotional Life: Philosophy, Psychoanalysis, and Neuroscience. New York, New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN: 978-0-231-15831-2.
Paperback. 276 pages. Includes index.

When the past is always presentRuden, R.A. (2011) When the Past is Always Present. 132 New York, NY: Routledge. 132 pages. ISBN:978-0-415-87564-6

Reviewed by: Alexa D’Angelo, Hunter College

Ronald A. Ruden offers biological explanations and therapeutic techniques for the treatment of traumatization in When the Past is Always Present. He expounds at length on the biological mechanisms that occur during the process of trauma encoding, and later offers techniques to reverse the trauma and consequently bring balance to the brain and emotions. This book is intended for therapists, as well as those suffering from trauma and looking to self-administer helpful, healing techniques.

Ruden begins his book by introducing a third pillar to the already existing psychological treatments: psychotherapy, and psychopharmacology. He proposes psychosensory therapy, as a method for treating traumatization (5). Emphasizing the utilization of human touch, psychosensory therapy uses the emotion linked to the trauma, in conjunction with a strategic application of human touch, to reverse the cognitive imbalance resulting from the traumatization (5). Psychosensory techniques treat the traumatization as a mind-body interaction rather than solely focusing on the mind and brain.

Ruden proposes “Havening” as a method to treat traumatization through the utilization of human touch and the re-exposure of a traumatically encoded emotion (95). This combination can help alleviate the trauma as it exists as an imbalance in the brain. Ruden explains the biological process of the reversal of the traumatization in Chapter Eight. Chapter Eight also includes a helpful guide to Havening, which could be easily applied by a therapist (109). However, if one is reading the book in the hopes of “Self-Havening”, Ruden has supplied a guide that does not require the assistance of another individual (113). These tools could prove very useful for an individual struggling with a traumatizing event.

Ruden fills the remainder of the book with anecdotal examples of trauma, along with several appendices intended to guide therapists though their use of psychosensory trauma techniques. Ruden’s appendices offer suggestions for therapists, along with circumstantial specifics relative to differing issues a therapist may be working with.

When the Past is Always Present offers an extensive amount of information on the causation and manifestation of trauma. Ruden has created a technical guide to understanding the mechanisms of trauma, along with a manual of psychosensory techniques. Through his many examples and step-by step instructions, one can feasibly perform psychosensory techniques on his/her patients, as well as self-administered havening techniques. Ruden’s text could also prove useful as a resource for students looking for a comprehensive explanation of the biological mechanisms that accompany an encoded trauma, as well as a window into possible trauma treatments.

Ruden, R.A. (2011) When the Past is Always Present. New York, NY: Routledge.
ISBN: 978-0-415-87564-6
Hardcover, 210pp. Index Included.

The Tibetan YougaRinpoche, A. & Zangmo, A.C.(2013). The Tibetan Yoga of Breath.
Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
132 pages.IBSN:978-1-61180-088-3

Reviewed by: Alexa D’Angelo, Hunter College

Anyen Rinpoche and Allison Choying Zangmo collaborate on The Tibetan Yoga of Breath, offering insight and experience in relation to the importance of the breath. The book focuses heavily on the positive effects of yogic breathing on physical, mental and emotional health. It also touches upon the negative effects of improper breathing on our health, while offering suggestions to change our pattern of breathing. While this book is written to benefit and guide those interested in yogic breathing, it could easily generate an interest in the topic for a wider audience. The Tibetan Yoga of Breath, offers breathing techniques that require no additional time, only inward attention during one’s daily routine.

Yogic breathing can offer peace of mind through the control of the breath. The book illustrates how one is capable of responding with less agitation to external stimuli, through a conscious, inward focus on the breath during times of disorder or conflict. By slowing the breathing, and subsequently taking fewer, deeper breaths, the flow of air can calm the mind in those few breaths (17). This process can ease the experience of anxiety and depression through the learned techniques of wind energy training (46,47).

The second half of the book offers clear instructions as to how to practice wind-training techniques. We are given a step-by-step guide to the Nine Cycles of the Breath, accompanied by several images to enhance our understanding of the practice (64-65,71). Part II is entirely composed of the application of the breath to life’s varying circumstances. The authors attempt to ease the fear of impermanence, and suffering, along with the cultivation of healing and kindness. Part II aptly applies the breathing techniques to everyday life in a manner that is comprehensive and manageable.

The Tibetan Yoga of Breath, effectively and clearly outlines the positive effects of yogic breathing on our overall health and wellbeing. It does so through both a holistic and Western lens, utilizing the experiences of the Yantra, Yogi masters, along with science. Through the examples and exercises, the book allows us to experience the effects of the controlled or elongated breath while reading about their endless effects on our mind, body and emotions.

Rinpoche, A. & Zangmo, A.C. (2013). The Tibetan Yoga of Breath. Boston: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Paperback, 132 pp., References and suggested further reading included.

An insistence on lifeGignoux, J., 2013, An Insistence on life: Releasing fear of death to fully live, New York: FoulkeTale Publishing. 117 pages, 9781492745204


Reviewed by: Mona Zohny, Hunter College

At some point in our lives, all humans are forced to face the notion of death. An Insistence on Life: Releasing Fear of Death to Fully Live is a collection of stories that demonstrates various ways of dealing with death. The anecdotes in this book have been gathered and relayed by Jane Hughes Gignoux, an ordained certified Celebrant who has spent years studying healing and consciousness. She offers many workshops and courses about death, which several of the stories in the book are derived from. This book is ideal for anyone grappling with the concepts of life and death. In the Preface, Gignoux states that “life and death are inextricably connected to one another. Their dance is never ending, and the melody is pure love” (xvii).

The book consists of seventeen stories. Each chapter begins with a different segment of poetry that sets the tone for the story. Gignoux relays stories beginning from her experiences volunteering as a play therapist in the 1980’s for HIV/AIDS pediatric patients at Harlem Hospital. Some of these stories are about people accepting their own death while other focus on the experiences of people coming to terms with the death of a loved one. The title of the anthology was inspired by a friend of Gignoux who described her experience at the memorial of a loved one, stating that her friend’s house “’was filled with life. There was an insistence on that.”

Throughout the book, one of the major themes is the idea that releasing the fear of death does not necessarily mean that one can control it. Gignoux points out that one of the “…challenge[s] we all encounter in the face of death is the reality that there is absolutely nothing anyone can do to change it.” (48). The acceptance of this statement by people throughout each of these stories is directly related to the transformation to a more peaceful state of mind.

An Insistence on Life is an inspirational anthology of moving and poignant stories that portray the acceptance of death as a way to embrace life. The stories cover a range of contexts in which death must be faced and provide alternative ways of doing so. The people in these stories all come from unique backgrounds but share the desire to embrace both life and death in order to live more fulfilling lives.

Dear family and friends and colleagues, and students of all generations,

As most of you know I have been practicing Reichian Therapy since 1986, having trained with Dr. Bernard Rosenblum at the Center for Reichian Character Analytic Therapy. I then created the combined modality of Reichian Character Analytic Mind/Body Therapy and Dance/Movement Therapy.

In connecting to the community devoted to conveying Reich’s work in an accurate way, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Kevin Hinchey, Co-Director or the Wilhelm Reich Institute (Museum).

Kevin, along with Mary Higgins, has devoted a good deal of his life selflessly to curating Reich’s archives and disseminating the truth about the theory and practice of the groundbreaking form of mind/body therapy Reich created, as well as his work as a scientist.

It feels like the right moment in history for this film to be made. The tide seems to be changing in many realms to start to take in who Reich really was and the profundity of his work. Kevin’s wonderful combination of brilliance and passionate devotion to accurately portraying Reich and his work makes it ‘beschert’ that he makes this film.

Please join the Kickstarter campaign to make this vision a reality.

Most warmly to you all,

Johanna Climenko LCSW-R, BD-DMT, LCAT, Certified Reichian Character Analytic Therapist

Meck forgot to rememberMeck, Su & de Vise, Daniel. ( 2014) I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. 281 pages. ISBN: 9781451685817.

Reviewed by Kristina Flemming, Columbia University

(SPT) The events that happened in Su Meck’s life seem as if they were contrived as the plot of some drama filled film. Her initial accident and life thereafter is bewildering, especially when noting that she suffers from an unusual case of retrograde amnesia and she’s immediately thrust back into a world where her understanding of it is still very elementary. In Meck’s memoir, I Forgot to Remember, we see her frustration with life after her brain injury and her attempts to piece together everything she’s forgotten.

More than twenty years after a ceiling fan falls on Su Meck’s head, she writes about how she feels not being able to recall the first two and half decades of her life. Many of the events she describes are from secondary sources. Even though the memoir is primarily written in the author’s voice, other characters take over when they are quoted in the retelling of a story. This can be a bit confusing, but it’s definitely an interesting and different way to format a memoir. It’s structured in such a way that the readers feel like Meck interviewed her family members about her own life. Unable to recount it with any certainty, readers are able to feel the author’s frustration with never being able to know who she was and her personal beliefs about anything. This is a side of amnesia that I’ve never thought of. Of course, most people know that amnesia involves a loss of memory. However, I never included a person’s life goals as a part of his or her memory. It seems unimaginable to lose your closely held beliefs or to forget your aspirations completely.

Another major recurring theme throughout the memoir is the author’s dissatisfaction with her early premature release from the hospital. She consistently draws attention to discrepancies in the hospital records during her stay. Although the notes from the doctors, nurses, therapists, and social workers show the breadth of work that go into recovering from a traumatic brain injury, they also show inconsistencies in her symptoms and the decision to let her leave the hospital early.

A person writing a memoir when they can’t remember their own life seems like an incredibly steep challenge. Through stories from friends and family as well as looking into medical documents from her hospital stay, Meck has assembled her life story. I Forgot to Remember is a heart wrenching and inspiring book that truly illustrates what it’s like to live with a traumatic brain injury.

Meck, Su & de Vise, Daniel. (2014) I Forgot to Remember: A Memoir of Amnesia. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster. ISBN: 9781451685817.
Hardcover. 281 pages. Includes index and references.
Key words: retrograde amnesia, traumatic brain injury, memoir, healthcare

Somatic Psychotherapy Today is designed to disseminate information about somatic psychology, body psychotherapy, and body/mind/spirit practices as well as information about psychotherapy in general. It provides a forum for sharing news and advances in clinical practice, research, resources, and policy as well as information about professional activities and opportunities in the field.

Its purpose is to bring concepts involved with somatic psychology, body psychotherapy, and body/mind/spirit practices to a larger public audience to capture their interest and support individual growth as well as collective growth in our local and international communities. While this publication cannot capture everything related to the immense field of psychotherapy and body-centered practices, we will strive to provide a venue for our readers (be it therapists, students, researchers, folks in waiting rooms) to experience different perspectives.

SPT was founded on the belief of the power of personal presence on the page in a community of acceptance. What we do individually has a collective impact on our world –its health and well being and on all living entities that dwell here. Voicing our truth is paramount and finding the right venue to speak is just as critical. SPT offers writers and readers the space to connect, to share thoughts, ideas, and opinions about what matters in the work we do and the impact on peoples’ lives and to further our field of study and practice.

Listed below are the current available online editions of the SPT magazine.

(Please note that you will need Adobe PDF reader to open the magazines, just click the link for the edition to open.)


Summer, volume 3, number 1 2013 – * Additional Resources

Fall, volume 3, number 2 2013

Winter, volume 3, number 3 2013


Summer, volume 2, number 1 2012

Fall, volume 2, number 2 2012

Winter, volume 2, number 3 2012

Spring, volume 2, number 4 2013 – * Additional Resources


Summer, volume 1, number 1 2011

Fall, volume 1, number 2 2011

Winter, volume 1, number 3 2011

Spring, volume 1, number 4– *Additional References


Contribute to Somatic Psychotherapy Today Deadlines below:

Spring 2014: The Body in Relationship (deadline closed)

Fall 2014: Eating Psychology (first deadline is March 15, 2014)

Winter 2015: Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology with guest editor, Kate White, co-editor of the APPPAH Journal (first deadline is October 15, 2014)

Spring 2015: Embodied Spirituality (first deadline is January 15, 2015)

Submission Guidelines for Being Published in SPT

Knipe emdr toolboxKnipe, J. (2014). EMDR Toolbox: Theory and Treatment of Complex PTSD and Dissociation. New York, NY: Springer Publishing Company. ISBN: 9780826171269.
Paperback. 256 pages. Includes index and bibliography.
Key words: EMDR, trauma, states, adaptive information processing.

EMDR Toolbox: Theory and Treatment of Complex PTSD and Dissociation provides a framework for employing supplementary Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) techniques to treat more complex disorders involving psychological defenses and dissociative symptoms, such as complex post-traumatic stress disorder. The book is meant to introduce additional techniques to therapists with prior experience in performing standard EMDR therapy.

Experienced practitioners can quickly and effectively treat clearly-recalled, single-incident traumas with standard EMDR procedures. However, many patients present with conditions that indicate internally discordant personality structures such as anxiety and depression. Distinct states of minds are activated at different times by certain memories, specifically the young emotional part (EP) and apparent normal part (ANP). The ANP attempts to maintain a sense of normality, while the EP is intrusive, recalling the fearful ego state at the time of the traumatic event.

EMDR therapy is founded on the adaptive information processing (AIP) model, which assumes that there is a human mechanism for processing and resolving disturbing life experiences that is natural and physical. The AIP model states that these memories, even if disturbing, are subject to the natural tendency of the mind to move away from a reactive response and towards “realistic” consideration. The book explains how AIP applies to the treatment in three parts, regarding complex PTSD, psychological defenses, and dissociative personality structure.

Author Dr. Jim Knipe, a practicing psychologist, has been using EMDR since 1992. Knipe, throughout the book, offers anecdotes from his practice, many pictorial aids, and even two patient session transcripts, thereby personalizing and clarifying the material. The professionalism and transparency in these details is important because, as Knipe writes, “this process is not primarily cognitive but occurs naturally, ‘off the radar’”.

EMDR Toolbox: Theory and Treatment of Complex PTSD and Dissociation is a valuable resource, inviting and informative, for psychotherapists already trained in standard EMDR that desire to expand their practice and better treat complex patient cases.

Hefferon positive psychologyHefferon, Kate. (2013) Positive Psychology and The Body: The Somatopsychic Side to Flourishing. New York, NY: Open University Press. 254 pages. ISBN: 9780335247714.

Review by Kristina Flemming, Columbia University

According to Kate Hefferon, most of the literature on positive psychology doesn’t give fair mention to the body’s role in this field. Hefferon hopes to address this issue and illustrate how the two go hand in hand in her book, Positive Psychology and the Body. By integrating several perspectives to give an overarching view, she provides a clearly organized text introducing positive psychology and its relationship with various other fields of study.
Each chapter has a specific layout, which is succinctly explained in the preface of the book. There are mock essay questions located at the beginning of each chapter which hints that the book is mostly designed for students. The essay questions are only one example of the interactive content throughout the book. Case studies, fun facts, and suggested resources are just some of the many learning boxes within the text. These allow the readers to pause and really think about the material.
The first half of the book is practically an introductory course in psychology. It’s great if you want a refresher on a topic or be able to see the grand scheme of things as Hefferon connects everything to positive psychology and the body. I don’t think this text can stand alone, but I also don’t believe it was meant to. It’s a great supplementary text and definitely provides all the tools necessary for learning about positive psychology. The book is less about being introduced to new topics; it’s mostly about seeing how all the pieces connect together in a new and engaging way. Nevertheless, don’t be too quick to think that there’s nothing new the book has to offer. You might find a bit of information totally foreign to you. For example, I was introduced to health psychology and positive health.
Positive Psychology and the Body: The Somatopsychic Side to Flourishing is not supposed to be an all encompassing text.. Hefferon presents the relevant topics and provides a starting point. Now you have to do the heavy lifting and research it for yourself. Hefferon offers a lot of new topics to the conversation. She also notes the value that positive psychology holds for research in other unexpected fields. The purpose of the book may be not only to inform, but also to spark interest; something valuable to everyone not just the novice.

Hefferon, Kate. (2013) Positive Psychology and The Body: The Somatopsychic Side to Flourishing. New York, NY: Open University Press. ISBN: 9780335247714.
Paperback. 254 pages. Includes index and references.
Key words: positive psychology, the body, health, sexuality

Geller psychotherapist therapyGeller, J.D., Norcross, J.C., Orlinksy, D.E. (2005). The Psychotherapist’s Own Psychotherapy: Patient and Clinical Perspectives. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. 429 pages. ISBN:987-0-19-513394-3.

Reviewed by: Alexa D’Angelo, Hunter College

Edited by Jesse D. Geller, John C. Norcross and David E. Orlinsky, The Psychotherapist’s Own Psychotherapy tackles the topic of the psychotherapist as a patient. More specifically, the editors have gathered nearly thirty essays, written by a number of professionals in the field of psychotherapy, which explore the subjects of the psychotherapist’s experience in psychotherapy, as well as the impact and importance of therapy for the practicing psychotherapist or analyst. The Psychotherapist’s Psychotherapy is organized into three parts. The first is dedicated to “The Therapist’s Therapy in Different Theoretical Orientations”, the second discusses the therapist as a patient, while the third part is focused on the experience of the therapists’ psychotherapist (x-xii). Editors Geller, Norcross and Orlinksy have compiled a body of work that is deeply informative on the topic of the psychotherapist’s psychotherapeutic experience.
Chapter I, presents readers with a comprehensive introduction to the topic of the psychotherapist’s therapy, as well as the implications for both their personal and professional life. This includes the role of the psychotherapist’s therapist, as well as the largely limited guidelines and literature that refer to this relationship. The authors identify individual therapy as an important tool, which should be utilized by practicing psychotherapists “as the symbolic core of professional identity” (3). While personal experience in individual therapy is obligatory in clinical psychology programs in many European countries, the United States often does not require any experience in psychotherapy (with the exception of psychoanalytic training)(5).
Part II presents readers with autobiographical essays, which recount the psychotherapeutic experiences of several psychotherapists in differing theoretical orientations. Jesse D. Geller, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, recalls his time with five different psychotherapists in his essay, “A Patient in Five Psychoanalytic Psychotherapies” ((81). He delves into the successes, failures and difficulties he experienced in psychotherapy, beginning with his first psychotherapy experience at New York’s, City College (82). Geller offers a great deal of insightful and relevant information relative to his varying experiences in psychotherapy throughout his academic and professional life.
Geller, Norcross and Orlinksy have compiled a group of theoretically diverse essays that tackle the topic of the therapist’s psychotherapy from both the viewpoint of the therapist-patient, as well as the therapist’s therapist. Through various insightful and informative essays, readers are offered a great deal of information on the subject, as well as an emphasis on the importance of psychotherapy for the practicing psychotherapist.

Geller, J.D., Norcross, J.C., Orlinksy, D.E. (2005). The Psychotherapist’s Own Psychotherapy: Patient and Clinical Perspectives. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN:987-0-19-513394-3.
Hardcover. 429 pages. References and Index included.
Keywords: Psychotherapy, Patient Perspectives, Autobiography

Explore Somatic Psychology—a holistic form of therapy that recognizes the powerful connection between body, mind, and spirit—in this mini-conference presented by the United States Association for Body Psychotherapy.

This workshop showcases four distinct body-mind therapies within the field of somatic psychology–incorporating a dynamic blend of movement, mindfulness, and neuroscience. We are honored to feature Peter A. Levine with his groundbreaking Somatic Experiencing, Bo Forbes, founder of Integrative Yoga Therapeutics, and highly trained practitioners in the fields of Bioenergetics and Core Energetics. Read more online.

Discover what your body might be trying to teach you and experience the gifts of somatic psychology for your work and life.

Kripalu60Kripalu is the largest yoga-based retreat center in North America. While you are here, enjoy daily yoga classes, natural-foods cuisine, massage and healing arts, hiking trails, sauna, like-minded people, and extraordinary views—all in the natural beauty of the Berkshires of western Massachusetts.

Copresented with

Morin-PierreThis is to let you know about the new conversation in the “Somatic Perspectives on Psychotherapy” series. This month, it is with Pierre Morin, about health, sickness and Process Work.

The “Somatic Perspectives” series is edited by Serge Prengel, LMHC. Every other month, there is a new conversation. Each conversation lasts approximately a half hour. You can listen to it on the website, or download it as an MP3 audio file. You can also read it as a PDF transcript (available on the same page).

Pierre Morin, MD, PhD, is president of the International Association of Process Oriented Psychology (IAPOP) and a founding faculty member at the Process Work Institute Graduate School in Portland, OR. He was a clinical director of Switzerland’s leading rehabilitation clinic for brain and spinal injuries. After moving to Portland, OR, he studied health psychology and rehabilitation psychology. He currently works as a clinical director and supervisor in an outpatient mental health program and in private practice. Dr. Morin is a co-author of Inside Coma and author of Health in Sickness – Sickness in Health. He has written several articles on mind-body medicine and community health.


If the above doesn’t show up as a link in your email, type the following address in your browser, then click on the link to the conversation of the month:

Young, C. (Ed.). (2014). The Body in Relationship Self – Other – Society. Body Psychotherapy Publications. 188 pages. ISBN: 978-1-908729-10-1.
Reviewed by Dawn Bhat, MA, MS, NCC, LMHC

The Body in Relationship Self – Other – Society, edited by Courtenay Young, is a blend of scholarly writings from almost forty presenters at the 14th European Association for Body Psychotherapy Congress held in Libson, Portugal on September 11 – 14, 2014. For many years, the EABP has been bringing together researchers, theorists and clinicians to engage and share the latest insights along with classical perspectives that characterize the field of Body Psychotherapy. The 2014 Congress is set to focus on the body in relationship and the interpersonal nature of human experience, which are undoubtedly integral and fundamental in Body Psychotherapy. This congress book touches on what attendees may anticipate but speaks more broadly to the dynamic and cultural nature of human relations. How relationships stretch and extend out in communities is content highly important in the work of the Body Psychotherapist and especially relevant in the role an individual plays in society.

Young opens with an outline highlighting main aspects of the congress and offers a warm, welcoming introduction to this publication. Young, calling himself a “compulsive editor,” shows that the writers – being diverse in culture, language, number of publication credits, etc. – collectively created a marvelous volume that is a glimpse into how sensational this Congress intends to be. The subjects contained in this volume include multiple body-oriented viewpoints on trauma and an assortment of specific modalities of Body Psychotherapy.

With an aim to further the exploration of the field of Body Psychotherapy, this new publication serves as a program to the Congress but encompasses much more. Anybody seriously interested in exploring the Body Psychotherapy, including its rich history and poignant perspectives today, may find this Congress book a must-have. In this volume, professional development, for new to advanced practitioners, spawns areas from enhancing clinical skills, including mind-body techniques, enhancing embodiment and understanding somatic psychology, to scholarly and academic writing in a Body Psychotherapy way. Attendees of the Congress would most certainly find this work useful in optimizing their experience by gaining a prelude and having a companion to the presentations and workshops held in Lisbon.

Young, C. (Ed.). (2014). The Body in Relationship Self – Other – Society.
Scottish Borders, United Kingdom
Body Psychotherapy Publications. 188 pp.
ISBN: 978-1-908729-10-1
Table of contents and references included

Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience

Denborough, David (2014). Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transform Experience. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company Ltd. ISBN: 978-0-393-70815-8. 310 pages.

Reviewed by: Nataliya Rubinchik, Hunter College

Too often we let our experiences and circumstances define us rather than making them just a small part of who we are. David Denborough wrote Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transformation Experience as a way for readers to look back at the trauma and injustice they have experienced in their lives and to rewrite the meaning of these events in their story.

Negative events from our lives haunt us and define us unless we choose to rewrite our story. We have to learn to separate the good of who we are from the bad that circumstances outside of our control causes us to become. Denborough includes activities for the reader as well as examples from his cases to clearly show the reader what he or she should be doing.

Denborough divides his book into steps to help the reader go through a hopefully successful narrative therapy while he or she reads through the book. It is important for readers to understand from the beginning that the problem is the problem, and externalizing is the first step to overcoming it. It is also important to find the find someone or something that will be supportive of our journey whether it is an imaginary friend, someone we are close with, or just the pages of this book. It is similarly important to decide who is vital to our lives. Once we have identified all of these parts of our lives, we can begin to put them together into a story of our lives.

Retelling the Stories of Our Lives: Everyday Narrative Therapy to Draw Inspiration and Transformation Experience is written in an organized and easy-to-follow way which makes it easy for readers who wish to learn to retell their stories to feel comfortable doing the activities. It is written to be a guide for both individuals and larger groups of people who want to work together and help each other through this journey. Denborough gives readers a way to overcome trauma that has held them back for too long and see themselves in a better light.

Book Cover 3The idea that partners in committed relationships elicit strong reactions in each other is self evident. That these passions are often overlooked in the therapy room is equally a reality. In this ground-breaking book, you will discover an innovative system for helping couples discover all of who they are.

The Gleasons ask you to reconsider what it means to trust your intuition, make room for strong energies, work with the body, bring sexuality into the therapy room, and to elicit full emotional expression. Here you will learn to welcome the passionate, erotic, chaotic truths that are often kept under wraps in the therapy room. Exceptional Couples: Transformation Through Embodied Couples Work synthesizes modern developmental theories with the wisdom of somatic psychotherapy and reveals how “embodying” is fundamental to helping couples break their patterns of vitality destroying habits of interacting.

The Gleasons invite you on a journey of the highest magnitude where couples can come fully alive. They generously open the door to their practice room, sharing in-depth case examples and effective strategies they’ve developed over the course of their careers. They ask you to come along with them and live in the mystery of yet-to-be discovered places in every relationship.

The Gleasons met in in 1976 in clinical social work graduate school. They have devoted their lives to exploring how couples, including themselves, can have exceptional (beyond the ordinary) relationships.

8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-AggressivenessBrandt, A. (2013). 8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. 184 pages. ISBN: 9780393708462

Reviewed by: Joshua D. Wright, Hunter College of The City University of New York

In 8 Keys to Eliminating Passive-Aggressiveness Andrea Brandt strives to guide readers through practical steps to eliminating passive-aggressive behavior, a surprisingly common response to conflict that is destructive to relationships. Written for a general audience of those who either have identified their own passive-aggressive behavior, or who may be involved in passive-aggressive relationships, Brandt has created a fluid narrative using expertly drafted anecdotes and practical exercises to illuminate concepts.

As a psychotherapist, Brandt describes the origins of passive-aggressive behavior as a suppression of anger due to societal constraints and an outwardly passive response to situations due to perceived anxiety. The eight keys illuminated throughout the book have the goal of revealing hidden anger, teaching the use of body sensation to understand and express true emotion, teaching assertive communication, and guiding people to productive conflict negotiation. According to Brandt, all of this may require “the healing of childhood wounds” (p. xxx).
The key strength of this book is the anecdotal stories throughout each chapter, which describe couples that struggled and overcame relational problems stemming from passive-aggressiveness. Each of the eight keys is elaborated through its own dedicated chapter and consists of practical exercises such as journaling about one’s anger in order to recognize hidden anger or using provided checklists to aid in identifying unmet needs. The accessibility of this style lends to a light reading that is informative without going into unnecessary detail about underlying theory and research.

Despite the lack of demonstrated research support, there is something to gain from perusing its pages. General readers will gain an intimate knowledge of their own behavior and suggestions for eliminating passive-aggressiveness. Likewise, practicing psychotherapists will be exposed to relevant exercises that can be immediately incorporated in the clinical setting.

The final chapter reconnects to the introduction, elaborating on the initial example of passive-aggressiveness and providing a glimpse into how using the eight keys might change a destructive relationship for the better. Ultimately the path Brandt elucidates “[is not] a succession of doors, rooms you can pass through toward some magical destination” (p. 180). Instead she states, “you’ll be moving back and forth among the keys” and eventually realize adjusted relationships with more enabled responses and less reliance on passive-aggression (p. 180).