Sunday, August 1, 2010

Moving On: Life When Your Lover Walks Out

Life After Your Lover Walks Out: A Practical Guide
Author: Lynda Bevan
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-26-2

Loving Healing Press is definitely the go-to publisher for all things relationship, family, personal motivation, psychology, metapsychology, trauma intervention and self help. Life After Your Lover Walks Out is the first book in the Loving Healing Press 10 Step Empowerment Series. Like all other Loving Healing Press books, this guide does not disappoint.

Lynda Bevan has written what may be the ultimate guide to moving forward when a long term relationship ends. Regardless of whether you or your mate instigated the breakup, you'll be left with numerous unresolved issues and feelings, which can include anger, fear, jealousy and regret, among others. How you resolve these issues is largely dependent on knowing the steps to a healthy resolution and taking these often tough steps forward. This book breaks it down for people of all walks of life and levels of experience.

Step by step, the reader is led through a well planned and comprehensive series of processes. Realistic and practical exercises take the reader through an introspective process, leading from the negative impact of a breakup to figuring out what your expectations really are, what is healthiest for you, and what your real emotions are telling you. The reader will understand what motivates us into healthy/unhealthy relationships, making expectations realistic and giving a sense of closure to the terminated relationship.

Purposely written in a compact style, the book can easily be read from cover to cover in just a couple of hours. It has a workable, non-overwhelming style that can be used by anyone, and would make a great therapeutic tool in any counseling practice. Highly recommended.

Why Good People Make Bad Choices: How You Can Develop Peace of Mind Through Integrity

Why Good People Make Bad Choices:
How You Can Develop Peace of Mind Through Integrity
Author: Charles Lawrence Allen
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-25-5

This book is a part of Loving Healing Press' New Horizons In Therapy Series, an excellent and diverse series of self help/personal growth books utilizing a wide array of new techniques and ground breaking works in the field of psychology.

Charles L. Allen takes a look at the how and why of the thought processes that lead us to make both and bad choices and decisions. We all do things we know aren't the right choices for us. We may even think we truly want to make better decisions and we may really make attempts to change. A part of us fights the urge to make those healthier decisions or changes for the better.

The author's premise is that how we make decisions is based on our personal ego. Our ego has an agenda of it's own and that agenda isn't always in our best interests. We need to learn the psychological functioning of our ego and how to overcome or control it. The first thing needed to make changes involves thought and personal reflection. We need to decide just what our priorities and our personal belief system consists of. To resolve issues by a personal belief system creates personal integrity and responsibility.

This author does an outstanding job explaining integrity and how to figure out your personal value system. Each chapter contains great, helpful exercises to assist you on your way. With topics including danger, fear of change and intimacy, handling happiness and more. Several appendixes offer additional assistance to work through discovering personal ethics and values, case studies, a self image inventory, an extensive bibliography and very comprehensive index.

While the book is written at an adult level, I think it would also work great as a guidebook for parents helping kids develop a personal value system. Additionally, counselors/therapists will find it invaluable for working with clients. Outstanding reference!

Journey From Head to Heart

Journey From Head to Heart: Living and
Working Authentically
Author: Nancy Oelklaus
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-43-9

In today's stressed. rushed and economically depressed world, many are worn out and heartsick, tired of working harder and harder to just keep from drowning, and seeing no end in sight. Nancy Oelklaus has compiled an outstanding resource to lead the reader through these exhausting and discouraging periods of life.

She offers practical advice, a map of the way out of stress and unhappiness using tools that encompass logic, emotion, reason, science, recovery and spiritually, along with age old wisdom from many sources, written to appeal to both those who embrace new age type of thinking as well as the more conventional user. It's a fantastic tool for individuals, couples or therapists to utilize while working toward the happier, authentic and more fulfilling lifestyle many are searching for in these discouraging and exhausting times.

Easily understood and well planned, anyone can successfully utilize her methodology to a more authentic lifestyle. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Like Christopher Moore? You will LOVE Ross Cavins!

Follow The Money: A Collection of Interconnected Short Stories
Author: Ross Cavins
Publisher: RCG Publishing
ISBN: 978-1438253961

I knew I had discovered a Kindred Spirit in author Ross Cavins when he started this collection of short stories with an all time favorite quote of mine from Moliere: "Writing is like prostitution. First You do it for love, then for a few close friends and then for money." This book is among the funniest I have ever read.

What I especially love is that the humor sort of sneaks up on you, and leaves you laughing out loud and gasping for breath. Thankfully, I was not reading in a crowded room. Laughing and okay, actually snorting my way through these stories, I marvelled at the bigger than life characters, and for many of them, they rang true as the personalities of some family members and friends, all of whom shall remain nameless.

From a couple of inept "good ole boy" kidnappers to a slimey but smart " investment" con man to a fast talking (and even faster thinking) young redneck fellow in a rush to get on with what he hopes will be a romantic evening with his girl, these are really great characters, each memorable and a little bit nuts. There are ten stories in this book, and it left me wanting lots more. All ten are excellently done, with great characters and innovative plot lines. I'm glad I don't have to pick one favorite, cause that would be tough. Each are unique and charming. The characters grow on you, and all of them could be the subject of a book by themselves. I really look forward to reading more by this funny, funny author. Read it all at once, or savor each story slowly, either way, you'll be glad to have followed the money.......what a ride!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Live A More Authentic, Peaceful and Meaningful Life

Housekeeping for the Soul: A Practical Guide to Restoring Your Inner Sanctuary
Author: Sandra Carrington-Smith
Publisher: O Books
ISBN: 978-1-84694-281-5

Imagine your emotional life and well being as a house, your home. That's the fascinating premise of this book, and it introduces us to a writer with much talent and insight.

We've all passed houses in well-kept neighborhoods that just didn't fit in. Maybe the unmowed lawn got your attention, or curtainless and dirty windows, or maybe just a general state of sadness or disrepair. Perhaps you've noticed the reverse....a home or two in a generally blighted and neglected neighborhood that stands out because of the flower bed in front, or the cleanly swept porch with a rocker, or a welcoming wreath on the front door. You just know that the people in these homes, be they the good or bad, have a different outlook on life and living than the rest of the neighborhood's residences.

One day, you realize that something has thrown your life out of balance. You've succumbed to that culture of chaos so prevalent today. Carrington-Smith has written possibly the most definitive handbook on moving your emotional wellbeing back into balance. Step by step, you will get everything you need, be it how to, self help or spiritual guidance. Consider it seasonal housekeeping for the soul.

The author has written the book in sections and chapters dealing with specific issues that may be a problem for the reader. The exercises are created in a way that allows you to work through each at your own pace. Given the fact that some may be more intense or difficult depending on your situation, this is a book to take slowly and with an open mind. Topics covered include the fear of change, mental clutter, problem avoidance, exploring relationships, moving beyond past experience and mistakes and more. Excellent points are raised, and it's an extremely thought provoking work. Affirmations and famous quotes are thoughtfully selected. I found the author's personal reflections and honesty to be most refreshing. This is a well written and practical book that can help anyone move towards a simpler, more balanced and peaceful life.

2012: Day of Reckoning Should we be worried?

2012: Day of Reckoning
Author: Daniel J. Gansle
Publisher: Infinity Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-7414-5695-8

By now, we've heard all kinds of conflicting beliefs and opinions on what will become of mankind, the planet and life as we know it after December 21, 2012.

The author, Daniel J. Gansle, is well educated in the area of Mayan culture, his university degree is in Cultural Anthropology with a concentration in Mesoamerican studies. He participated in a show on Mayan prophecy for the History Channel's documentary of 2009, Nostradamus Effect. Having viewed this documentary, I was especially looking forward to the more indepth research and interpretation I was certain would be in this book. I was definitely not disappointed by my high expectations of this book. In fact, I found it to be even more detailed, well written and fascinating than I could possibly have anticipated.

The book is divided into sections. The first section breaks down the background of the Mayans, giving the novice in the study of Mayan culture a broad base of understanding, yet also manages to share information that even those with some background in Mayan studies may be unaware of. The instruction offered to understand the Mayan Codices is exceptional, possibly the best I've seen. The next section, Prophecy, contains an outstanding explanation of New Age Movements to include harmonic convergence, psychic vision, channeling, astrology, numerology, UFOs, crop circles and more, each increasingly fascinating. This section also details the predictions of Nostradamus, galactic alignment, Planet X/Nibiru, pole shifts, timewave zero and more. The section that covers scriptual prophecy is very well done and complete, easy to understand and clarifying many common misconceptions. The book includes numerous figures, tables and illustrations, all equally informative and well written.

Regardless of your personal belief system or religious background, the author has presented an outstanding look at the 2012 debate. Highly recommended reading for all with an interest in this area.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Celebrating The Progress of Womanhood

Goddess Shift: Women Leading for
a Change
Editor: Stephanie Marohn
Publisher: Elite Books
ISBN: 978-1-60070-067-5

Women born in the new millenuim will have education, career and lifestyle options many of us could never have imagined, let alone have available to us. Tracing the feminist movement of the 70s, the changes thoughout the 1980s and 90s lead us to a reawakening of the nuturing power that women can have. Long before the image of God assumed the paternalistic attitude that is taught in most religions now, centuries of humans viewed the divine being or beings in a more nuturing, maternal manner, that of Goddess.

A stunning anthology of nonfiction articles, meditations, essays and reflections by many of the most recognizable and influential women of our time are brought together in this volume; Michelle Obama, Suze Orman, Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelo and dozens more, women who are leaders in every facet of life and diverse fields of endeavor share with all women in the hopes of empowering us to reach our own individual heights of success and fulfillment. This is an anthology to treasure, to share with all the women you know and love, and to refer to again and again for encouragement, motivation and growth. A thoughtful and wonderful book to pass on to our girl children and grandchildren, this reader/reviewer will keep her copy and refer to it regularly.

A Fascinating Look at the How and Why of Brain Function

The Evolutionary Glitch: Rise Above the
Root of Your Problems
Author: Albert Garoli
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-61599-017-7

All human beings share a common trait: in one way or another, we want to move forward in life, improving ourselves and our situations. Maybe your goal is emotional improvement, educational, financial, career goals, relationship improvement, or a combination of these and other qualities. Regardless of our motivation and ambition, something often seems to be holding us back.

Bringing his experience and knowledge of eastern philosophies, ancient age-old wisdom, modern psychology and neurobiology, Dr. Garoli explains our brain's thought processes in a groundbreaking way that makes so much sense and offers a real clarity of the human situation and making changes. His premise: throughout the evolutionary process of brain development, a superimposed identify is formed. This identity is referred to as an evolutionary "glitch". This glitch seems to make life decisions for us. Use of this book shows you the six major types of personae evolutionarily acquired and how to understand, confront and overcome them.

The writing is easy to understand and the author's style is both motivating and empowering. A fascinating look at how we function, putting the tools of change easily within our reach. Very helpful to anyone wanting to make life changes, unsure of why it is so hard to do. If you have an interest in changing your life, or just like knowing more about how the brain and decision making processes work, you'll really learn alot from this book. I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in brain function.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Help for Families of Recovering Addicts

Rewriting Life Scripts
Transformational Recovery for Families
of Addicts
Authors: Liliane Desjardins, Nancy Oelklaus, Irene Watson
Publisher: Life Scripts Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-97-2

When a family member has an addiction (to alcohol, drugs, etc.) the other members of the family by necessity are forced to change their behaviors, their lifestyle and their expectations. In many cases, these changes have occurred slowly and over a period of years or even decades. When the addicted family member make the monumental move towards recovery, the family often finds itself thrown into a new kind of chaos without expecting or understanding it.

This book is based mainly on using the 12 step addiction recovery process, but everything discussed can be utilized regardless of the method of recovery used. The book is divided into several parts, each dealing with a different stage of recovery. Families will find this helpful, enabling them to study and work through each recovery phrase as it's being experienced by the recovering family member. By completing all parts, the reader will reach a clear understanding of just what changes and adjustments they have had to make in the past and how the family dynamics will now be changing for the better. Topics are covered in a clear and easy to understand manner, explaining all the stages of change, defining the various roles played by family members in both the dysfunctional (addiction) phase and the truly transforming and freeing journey the family members all take as they work together to rewrite and change the family dynamics.

The three authors bring a wide range of life experiences, education and career training to this work. This gives the book a deeper, broader application that will apply to an untold number of families. I highly recommend this book to anyone who works with addiction and recovery, and to anyone and everyone who is part of a family at any point on the addiction spectrum. Excellent resource and promising tool for a happier family.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Life Skills: Improve The Quality of Your Life With Metapsychology

Life Skills: Improve the Quality of Your Life with
Metapsychology (Explorations in Metapsychology Series)
Author: Marian K. Volkman
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 1-932690-05-0

Applied Metapsychology makes use of one on one sessions to achieve personal goals. Developed by Frank A. Gerbode, MD, it utilizes relieving past pain and trauma and working through personal issues to expand the consciousness of the patient or user . People who study and use Metapsychology report living a fuller and more fulfilled life, with less fear, depression and unhappiness than the general population. By reading and using the detailed information in Marian K. Volkman's book, the reader will be given a concise, indepth and easily understandable grasp of metapsycology, it's value and how it's used.

Written in a manner that will appeal to therapists, laypersons and students, this book will assist the user in more accurately predicting patterns of human behavior and dealing with negative situations, people and behaviors. It's a truly user friendly volume on exapanding personal understanding of your own behavior, motivations, ambitions, deep seated issues, relationship style and communication abilities. She has formatted the book in a way that makes it ideal for group study as well as personal use. While offering a broad background of metapsychology, each aspect is written in extreme detail and ease of understanding and utilization. The author presents a wide and varied wealth of information in easily digestible sections.

Topics of study in this book include quality of life, stress and trauma as a factor in life, understanding emotions and predicting them, improving relationship in all the areas of your life: family, work, friends, etc. I found this book to be really motivational and thought provoking. I know it's one I will turn to again and again as situations arise and problems need resolution. Highly recommended, I look forward to much more from this author.

Life Without Jealousy A Practical Guide

Life Without Jealousy: A Practical Guide
Author: Lynda Bevan
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-85-9

Anyone who has ever been involved in a relationship, whether it's friendship or romance, has probably experienced jealousy. There are many forms of jealousy, all of them unwanted and uncomfortable, regardless of the cause. The author, Lynda Bevan discusses the various type of jealousy, where they come from and how to handle them; whether you are the jealous person or the one who is the reciepent of jealousy.

This book is part of an excellent ongoing series from Loving Healing Press; the 10 Step Empowerment Series, practical guides written by experienced therapists for solving life's problems.

The book is written in a style that is both interesting and easy to understand. Regardless of the reader's knowledge of psychology, it is user friendly and educational. From the broadest definitions of jealousy and envy, the book then delves more deeply into the many forms jealousy takes: sexual, romantic, possessive, emotional, financial and material among others. The psychology of jealousy is explained, as well the differences of the sexes in how they feel and handle jealousy, and the damage caused by jealous behavior. Causes are discussed in detail, and real workable solutions are offered to repair the damages.

Regardless of which side of jealousy you find yourself on, help is available in this book. Highly recommended by this reviewer.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Self Discovery and Recovery Through ReCreation Therapy

Gifts From The Child Within: Self-Discovery and
Self-Recovery through ReCreation Therapy,
2nd Edition
Author: Barbara Sinor
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-46-0

Gifts From The Child Within is a beautifully written, incredibly moving and potentially life changing workbook for self discovery and recovery through Re-Creation Therapy.

Many of the emotional, mental and even physical problems we face as adults can be traced back to a childhood trauma or experience. To work through the issues of today, it's often of vital importance to discover and work through the issues of childhood.

Dr. Sinor is an advocate of the use of Re-Creation Therapy. Re-Creation Therapy is a transforming process; reaching for and touching the child that still resides within all of us. When we accept the child we were and the trauma and expperiences we were subject to, we can release the blockages and pain of childhood that have followed us into adulthood. Divided into several parts, the book enables the reader to work through issues that still affect them at the speed they are comfortable with.

Part One deals with helping the reader comprehend and understand what the concept of "The Child Within" really means. With examples and exercises, reasders will be better able to reach their inner children and understand what issues are still being carried within.

Parts Two and Three offer visualizations, affirmations, exercises and the use of autohypnosis to begin the recovery process. With space left blank within the book, it can be used as an actual journal, tracking the reader's progress thoughout the stages of both discovery and recovery.

The author has presented the information in a way that allows for use by both the professional and layperson. Written in an easily understandable and conversational style, the reader will feel they are working with a friend, and feel the ability to open up and work through the baggage and issues carried forward from childhood. One of the things I found particularly helpful was that the program is set up to be worked at the reader's own pace and on a schedule and timing that allows the user to fully digest the information they discover at their own speed; avoiding the stress that comes with a need to maintain a stringent deadline, working on a particular issue until you feel you've worked through it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A Long Term Solution for an On-Going Problem

Why Don't They Just Get a Job?
One Couple's Mission to End Poverty
in Their Community
Authors: Liane Phillips and
Echo Montgomery Garrett
Publisher: aha! Process Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-934583-37-1

No one sets out to live their life in poverty, on welfare or serially jobless. Even before the current economic crisis, there were too many Americans chronically unemployed or having no opportunity for job training. As a former Social Worker and longtime American taxpayer, I am able to see both sides of this issue. In our society, there are many people considered unemployable. There are a variety of reasons for this. Many just do not have the financial means to continue education, and are left with no real marketable skills. Some people are truly driven into the welfare system because of circumstances beyond their control and lack the support; emotional, logistical, etc., to crawl back out. The "multiple generation" welfare share does come into play, also. It's probably the area most attacked by many as an abuse of the system. But if your mother never learned from her elders about motivation, ambition, personal skills,and the personal satifaction they offer, she probably won't know how to teach them to you. It's a vicious circle, and a tough situation for those involved. We won't solve that issue overnight, but it can be addressed successfully.

Thanks to a retired corporate couple, the people of Cincinnati now have a way out of the vicious circle that poverty often becomes. When Liane and Dave Phillips retired, they were at loose ends. With lots of energy and their shared corporate talents and experience, they started a revolutionary program. Their program is called Cincinnati Works. It's a nonprofit, member based organization changing the welfare landscape. It's a program that can (and should) be available thoughout this country.

To give an example of the success of Cincinnati Works, 80% of the people trained and hired into the community have retained their positions. That's a really incredible retention rate when you acknowledge that government funded programs of this type generally average a retention rate of 20 to 25%. Thousands of families have moved from welfare and poverty to self sufficiency and the personal satisfaction it can bring. The Phillips and their groundbreaking program have won numerous awards and the recognition of the Harvard Business Review.

The authors of this book have done an outstanding job. The writing style is clear and concise, and the story is moving, entertaining and inspirational all at once. With lots of attention to detail, it's easy to see how the plan can be duplicated. If this is not enough to convince you buy this book, the fact that a portion of the profits will be donated to Cincinnati Works (a program that really DOES work) should cinch the deal for you. If I could personally afford it, I would purchase copies of this book for every welfare and poverty program in the country. Utilizing this type of program would change the way the system works or doesn't work, in many cases. Highly recommended by this reader!

What Do You Know about Indigos?

Indigo Awakening: A Doctor's Memoir of
Forging an Authentic Life in a Turbulent World
Author: Janine Talty, DO
Publisher: Elite Books
ISBN: 978-1-60070-63-7

Indigo Children. You may have heard this phrase before. It was coined some twenty years ago, by Nancy Ann Dappe. It appears in her book "Understanding Your Life Through Color", published in 1982. Indigo Children is a term that describes the attributes of a particular group of people, commonly known as Indigo. You may share these characteristics yourself, or know someone who does. Characteristics include: great empathy, a sense of purpose, well developed intuition and a connection, nearly psychic, to the people the Indigo is close to, altruism and a keen, sometimes emotionally painful awareness of the feelings of people around them. Indigos are often nearly overwhelmed by a feeling of responsibility for everyone and everything around them. They have a strong sense of justice and fair play. Many Indigos have a great resistance to authority and authority figures, especially if they believe the authority figure is untruthful, biased or unjust. They tend to avoid being in large groups when possible. The feelings of individuals in a crowd are felt by the Indigo, and with so many people, the feelings and emotions coming at them are so great and varied that dealing with it mentally is many times exhausting; mentally, emotionally, spiritually and often even physically it leads the Indigo personality to feel drained, exhausted and overwhelmed.

Indigos feel so much sympathy and empathy for others, they generally tend to have poor personal boundaries, causing them to be overwhelmed by anxiety and worry for others, wanting to solve everything. Indigos often are whole brain thinkers, perceiving concepts as fully developed pictures, unable to view simply a portion of a situation, overwhelming them with what may look insurmountable.

Indigo Awakening relates the author's personal story. It's different from most of the books available on the subject, because they are written by people not living as an Indigo. An Indigo faces situations, experiences and difficulties in a way that is unique to their perceptions; it only makes sense that an actual Indigo would offer a more clear and concise view of just this experience, a level of understanding of the concept that others often do not fully grasp.

Dr. Talty shares a truly inspiring story, the honesty and truth to her experiences rings so true that the reader feels well connected her, as one is to a friend as opposed to just an acquaintance or author in general.

Indigo personalities are often described as being in the world but not of the world. Social norms and customs are hard for them to understand and comprehend. The ceremonial rituals seems meaningless to them. Most Indigos have difficulty participating in celebrations such as graduations, birthdays and what other people consider to be landmark personal experiences. Organized religion in general and its ceremonial use of ritual in particular seems empty, meaningless and often unnecessary and false to them. If they participate at all, it's usually to appease the desires of family and friends.

This book offers an extremely fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable read. If a family member, friend or coworker is Indigo, the book will give the reader invaluable insight into their way of thinking and coping. It will help them understand why the Indigo does the things they do and how to make a personal relationship with the Indigo fuller and more rewarding. Be warned that the author holds opinions and beliefs that may seem odd or downright ridiculous to some readers. However, use the ability to move beyond that, because even it you don't share the author's particular view of some aspects of the world or its future, you will find knowledge here that will prove valuable to your relationship with the Indigos you care about personally. Unique and touching, it's a book I highly recommend!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Change Your Life, Find Your Way

Frame Shifting: A Path
To Wholeness
Author: David K. Banner
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-55-2

We all know what we are supposed to do with our lives in general: achieve success, work hard, obey the law, honor our responsibilities and commitments, etc.. But in our society, most of us are not really given the answer to how to get there and how to define this often elusive success for ourselves. What about personal happiness and a sense of purpose? How do you come to define who you are and what gives you that sense of purpose and fulfillment? David Banner undertook a long, winding and often arduous journey within himself and successfully found his answer. We are fortunate that he chose to share this personal journal with us, and give us a blueprint for our own search for purpose and fulfillment.

A buzzword in the business world now is "paradigm". The concept of paradigm is a set of beliefs or mental models that limit what you can see, and limit your area of experience and reference to what you do see. If you can't see it, you don't know it's there. Similar to looking out a standard window; you are limited to a specific viewing region. What you see out that single window is limited, but what you see out a bay window is a larger view with more dimensions. Actually step outdoors instead, and your view is greatly increased and clearer, with more available directions to look, and no restrictions by the frame of the window to block your view. It's a bigger frame on the picture, so to speak that adds to your view, thus the title of this outstanding work, "Frame Shifting".

Step by step and with detailed instructions and thorough explanation, Banner covers subjects that include ego, the development of the ego, the laws of attraction, empathy, attunement, emotion, roleplaying, vision, God, spirituality and more. I especially appreciated the fact that while written with a view of God and spirituality, it doesn't endorse or embrace any particular dogma or doctrine. This makes the book applicable to such a wide range of people and the various life experiences and beliefs they may hold. It would indeed be a pity for a book this well written to exclude anyone. The number of people searching for just this kind of guidance is huge, and it's great approach and innovative view is a welcome addition to the current available studies in philosophy.

I would heartily recommend this book without reservation. It offers a rare clarity into the journey of human existence and personal fufillment. I hope it garners the attention it deserves.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Women and Aging, Not All Bad!

30 Isn't Old
Author: Colette Petersen
Publisher: Outskirts Press
ISBN: 978-1-4327-3264-6

In today's world, the sexes seem to age differently. Men, as they get older, are referred to as "distinguished", "established" and "silver foxes". The terms used for women are not as nice sounding. An older single woman is often called a "cougar" and as we age we hear terms like "not as young", "looking tired". Unmarried men are "bachelors", and later on, "confirmed bachelors". Women? "old maids" or "spinsters". A single woman is usually too "career driven", but a single man would be "career focused". Biologically, of course, age makes a bigger difference for women. Men can father children in theory well into their 60s or 70s. For women, we need to plan parenthood for earlier on. Many women see 30 as a stress-filled milestone. It's not one we look forward to. We want to be 16, so we can drive, then 18, to graduate high school, and 21 to get into clubs. After 21, it's not nearly as enjoyable to keep track of the years. Statistically, more women enter into psychological therapy at 30 and beyond. Not a real happy proposition, is it?

As author Colette Peterson approached 30, she decided it was time to take a new look at women and attitudes toward aging. She started talking with, surveying and interviewing women of all ages. She's written a wonderful book, written in a conversational and informal style. You can read straight through, or just pick the chapter that pertain to how you feel at a particular time.

Subjects covered are wide ranging, from Fear of Aging, Facing Fear, Loss, Choices, Body Issues, Marriage, Children, Success, Religion, Money and much more. Ms. Peterson takes a caring, friendly and humor-filled look at accepting 30. Whether you are in that age group, above or, ahem, far beyond that stage in life, you'll find much to laugh about, much to learn and lots to enjoy in this charming book.

Beautiful Stories of Life, and Dying With Dignity

Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice
Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes
Author: Frances Shani Parker
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1932690354

Frances Shani Parker has woven a beautiful and touching tapestry of life and death; sharing her stories and poems about the very memorable and wonderful patients she worked with as a hospice volunteer. Already extremely busy as a principal, the author decided to learn about becoming a hospice volunteer. Following the workshops, she began her volunteer stint working with patients in urban nursing homes. She chose to visit patients in nursing homes because she believed they were probably less likely to have family and other visitors, and may be in need of outside companionship . Most of her patients were African America, but of course she had some patients of other ethnic groups also.

By sharing her experiences as a hospice volunteer, she allows her readers to take a look inside a situation most of us know nothing about. Through these stories, we learn about the individual patients she works with, along with gaining a much more thorough understanding of the entire hospice system and philosophy. Dying with dignity and peacefullness is something that we all deserve. Hospice care is an important part of ensuring that many people can experience death this way. Numerous races, ages, religious and spiritual beliefs, and life experiences are illustrated here. The process of dying is something that we, as a society, tend to ignore or leave undiscussed. The role of an individual's life experiences, mindset, ability to communicate and religious beliefs all play a huge part in how they interpret the process of death. Ms. Parker has included poetry along with short stories to share her impressions of her patients. In every instance, she found herself learning more about life, and by sharing these lessons we can learn them too.

The book does a great service by bringing the details of hospice to the general reader. We learn how the hospice system can fit into the healthcare system (or lack thereof) in our country today. The final portion of the book is a "tour" of what could be described as the epitome of the place that we all wish we could utilize for ourselves or family members as we/they face the end of life on earth. With the aging of the baby boomer segment of our population, the needs of Americans from the hospice care system becomes greater and greater.

These stories are offered with love and respect by the author to each reader, and you feel that caring and warmth that she offered to each patient she worked with. I will remember many of the stories and the patients they illustrate for some time to come. It's both touching and thought-provoking, and would be a book appreciated at many different levels by all readers. Exceptional ! !

Dealing With Betrayal-Getting Through

Breaking Through Betrayal: and
Recovering the Peace Within
Author: Holli Kenley
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1615990092

Betrayal. Just about everyone has felt let down by someone they care about. It's tough to deal with, and even tougher to move past it and put it behind you. Once someone lets you down, it's difficult to be sure they won't do it again. You probably find it hard to count on them for awhile. Now imagine someone you love does more than let you down or disappoint you.

The case that immediately comes to mind is that of Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin. Fortunately, most of us will never have to undergo so public a betrayal, so well known and discussed. Betrayal happening to anyone, regardless of their public stature, is extremely painful. Being out of the public limelight doesn't lessen the pain and disbelief that will follow. Betrayal doesn't just happen in romantic relationships. Humans can feel betrayed by friends, politicians, public figures, just about anyone. During the current rough economic times, you may feel betrayal at the loss of a job, foreclosure, or any number of other situations. Friends betray us, leaving us discouraged and distrustful. Betrayal leads to feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety and anger. You may be grieving over the betrayal, or feel obsessed by the thought of what happened, or cling more tightly to those around you that haven't betrayed you.

Holli Kenley has written a book that goes in depth to explain the how and why behind the feelings we have following a betrayal. By understanding more about why those feelings occur, one is able to validate them, understand the need for the feelings and offer encouragement and empowerment to move beyond betrayal and into a healthier, more peaceful mindset. Then recovery can truly take place.

Section I of this book covers the knowledge and awareness of exactly what betrayal is, why we suffer negative emotions because of it. She'll clarify the different forms and levels of trust we invest into various relationships, allowing the reader to fully discover their feelings about the individual betrayal and learn to recognize the true depth and degree of the emotions you feel and what you have experienced. You begin to understand the only way to be healthy and whole emotionally is to acknowledge the painful emotions and work through them.

In Section II, the discussion centers on other recovery considerations that may require attention. For example, codependency, which is basically overinvestment of personal resources into someone/something without an adequate return or replenishment. A level of codependency can complicate the journey to recovery. Grief is another recovery consideration. Grief is a natural outgrowth of betrayal, and to successfully recover from betrayal one must understand the degree of their grief and how to work to alleviate it.

Section III is where we move beyond the "prep" work into the actual recovery process. Kenley breaks the process down into five distinct parts, followed by extensive information and techniques for successfully moving through each of the five parts. She includes very specific exercises and instructions for completing each level of the process. Additional resources that offer support are listed.

Overall, this work will be extremely useful to anyone going through a betrayal personally, or trying to help a friend or loved one navigate their way through. Written in a style easy to understand and relate to, it offers help to anyone at any step of the recovery process.

Because the book is well written and detailed, those in a helping profession can utilize these steps and activities with clients of any age who may be experiencing betrayal in any of its many forms. A valuable handbook to maintain in any permanent reference library, this reviewer highly endorses this fine work.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Recovering The Self; Journal Vol II, Jan 2010

Recovering the Self: A Journal
of Hope and Healing
Volume II, Number 1
January 2010
Edited by: Ernest Dempsey
Published by: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-83-5

Recovering the Self: A Journal of Hope and Healing is the title of this quarterly journal created to explore the themes of recovery and healing through the use of various media. Each quarterly journal includes poetry, memoir, essays, fiction, psycho-education, humor and reviews. This specific issue covers topics that include recovery from an eating disorder, parenting, culture and ethnicity, abuse recovery, stress management, AIDS orphans and more. The contributors to this issue have a wide variety of life experience, education, outlooks and beliefs.

I found each offering to be heartfelt, and all contained useful advice and insight. I learned something from each of the contributors, and my time reading was well and usefully spent. Submissions for future quarterly journals are accepted on an ongoing basis; and I look forward to reading future volumes of this well written journal. Yearly subscriptions are available, as well as purchase of individual issues.

I think anyone with interest in psychology or simply any aspect of recovery would benefit from the variety of talented contributors. Something I find especially attractive about this journal is that it is not written with an eye towards just the professional reader, but anyone who is undergoing recovery from a trauma or impacted family members, coworkers or friends. They would gain useful insight and understanding.

Reducing the Incidents of Trauma For Children

Children and Traumatic Incident Reduction
Creative and Cognitive Approaches
(Book #2 in the TIR Applications Series)
Edited by: Marian K. Volkman, CTS, CMF
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-30-9

TIR is the acronym used for the phrase "Traumatic Incident Reduction". TIR is a therapeutic modality utilized by professionals in the fields of metaphysics, psychology, psychiatry, counseling, therapy and other helping professions.

This anthology collects articles, case studies, explanations of concept and theory and related resources and information. The contributors are trained counselors, educators, researchers and psychologists held in high esteen by the professional community. The book is organized in a format that readily allows for reading through the book in it's entirety, or utilizing individual chapters depending on the needs and circumstances of the reader. Each section is well written and self contained. Taken in either whole or by chapters only, the ideas and information can easity stand alone.

Part I of the anthology offers an indepth look at the tools and techniques used in the practice of TIR. In my view, one of the major advantages to TIR is that the basic techniques and treatment processes remain unchanged, regardless of the age or sex of the client. The underlying traumas that TIR can be used for are as varied and differing as the experiences of the clients themselves. Elements of TIR can be utilized as art therapy, among other methods of utilization. Excellent information is included on the use of art therapy, especially useful when working with children. Also included are excellent reference materials the professional can share with the parents of the client. This reference material is written in a style that is easily understood by laypersons, and would be excellent in helping parents understand the methods used by the therapist with their child/ren.

Part II of this book covers the results of TIR therapy. It offers details of case studies, including some using art as a form of TIR, and numerous useful anecdotal evidence, reference and viewpoints. A specific article on dealing with at-risk youth is also included, along with a specific section covering use of TIR in an actual mental health clinic setting..

Part III is a compendum of background and theory, critical issues in TIR are covered in depth, along with PTSD coverage, an extensive glossary of terms, a brief explanation of unblocking, memory lists for children, and information on receiving training to learn more about using TIR.

Anyone who works with kids in nearly any capacity will find lots of information within these pages. Laypersons as well as professionals will gain incredible insight into the use of TIR; it's a goldmine of knowledge for working with children. Very highly recommended addition to the permanent reference library.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Excellent For Dealing with Procrastination

EFT For Procrastination
Author: Gloria Arenson, MFT
Publisher: Energy Psychology Press
ISBN: 978-1-60415-042-1

How often have you put off doing something that you KNEW you needed to get done? Procrastination. Everyone has experienced it at least a few times. It can make your life miserable, and cause stress not just for you but for the others around you. Maybe it's a problem once and again,or maybe it's a frequent problem. You know what needs to be done, and you know how to do it. You probably even have the time, tools or materials you need to complete it, so why isn't it getting done?

Gloria Arenson, MFT has written an extremely helpful book on dealing with a common difficulty. We put off doing a project because we want to avoid the feeling we have about it. There are a number of reasons for this. Shame, pain, bad memories or negative associations, or unpleasant experiences, possibly fear, anxiety or guilt. Many times, we really don't exactly know why we are putting things off at all.

How do we move beyond procrastination? By breaking free of whatever is holding us back and moving forward. Sounds eaiser said than done, right? With the correct method, it can be done, and it can be done painlessly. With this helpful handbook, Arenson shows us just the tools we need to break free.

EFT is the acronym used for Emotional Freedom Technique. Psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and therapists have learned how to utilize EFT to help their clients. Gloria Arenson puts the same techniques into our hands, teaching us how to use it. It really is a simple and easy to do procedure, but it's not totally without a bit of thought and work.

The basic premise of EFT is that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption somewhere in the body's energy system. When our bodies, mind, emotions, etc., are working in harmony, we have positive energy; the problems and stresses that occur in everyday life is what causes a disruption in our energy flow. Without the positive energy flowing easily through the body, mind and spirit, our personal energies are clogged along the way. The premise of EFT is actually the center of all Eastern Medicine, psychology and spirituality. It actually makes common sense when most people think it through, and allows the avoidance of medication or other medical intervention. Success rates have proven that EFT is a valuable and valid therapy modality.

Gloria Arenson has provided the reader with the information and background needed to utilize EFT. Written in detail with concise instructions, encouragement and case histories, this handbook will help an unlimited number of people reach their true potential. I would consider this book to be an outstanding reasource for therapists and people in the helping professions, for parents wanting to help their kids overcome procrastination, and anyone having a problem in their life with procrastinating.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Carry This Book Everywhere You Go...

A Perfect Book to Carry With You...., February 10, 2010

Short, Shorter and Shorter Stories
For People Who Have To Wait
Author: Chuck McCann
Publisher: Nitengale Press
ISBN: 1-933449-01-2

No one enjoys all that wasted, lost time we have to deal with....long lines waiting at the bank or grocery store, waiting for the receptionist to call your name for your appointment, waiting for the kids in the school parking lot (I think I spent some of the best years of my life sitting in the car, waiting on the kids....)the list goes on, and on and on... Chuck McCann understands your pain. His solution? He wrote a series of books for people like us, the ones who are mighty sick of wasting all that valuable reading time! He's written a group of highly entertaining and eclectic short stories. Some will take a couple of minutes to read, some take longer.

Every type of story imaginable is represented here. Be it mystery, drama, romantic, thought-provoking or just laugh out loud funny. The timeframe for these stories ranges from present day back to the Salem Witch Trials, and further on back to the time of the ancient Romans. My personal favorites? Kind of hard to decide, but I think it's the group of stories about Benjamin, the unluckiest criminal you will ever encounter. I know people looked at me strangely as I laughed aloud and giggled quietly while reading.

Carry this book with you. It would fit in your briefcase, your backpack, and even a purse, if you carry a big one. If your purse is small, leave some of that junk at home and cram this book in anyway. You will be so glad you did! I look forward to reading the rest of these books. They almost make those long irritating waits bearable. And for that, I sincerely thank Chuck McCann.

A Must Have for the Professional's Reference Library

Coping With Physical Loss and Disability
Author: Rick Ritter, MSW
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-18-7

Rjck Ritter, a social worker, veteran, and himself disabled certainly knows about this topic. Written in an easy to comprehend and easy to use workbook style, it's outstanding as a reference tool. All facets of dealing with disability are covered: the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional, as well as the actual practical logistical adjustments that need to be made.

Coping with a physical loss and disability is difficult, and attempting to work through the emotional, financial, logistical, family and other areas of change can seem hugely daunting. Knowing where to start can be an immense help.

Ritter's workbooks offers just that kind of help, and in an easy to understand series of questions. Through honest answers to these questions, you can learn the best method of dealing with your difficulties. You will learn how to establish a support system of caring professions, family and friends. You will be led through the process of setting your daily schedule, rehabilitation and recovery, along with determining realistic short and long term goals.

Additionally, the author includes an extensive list of suggested readings, films on pertinent issues and an excellent guide to therapeutic techniques. Also helpful is the listing of available organizations, foundations and associations, including organizations that support sports for persons with disabilities.

A specific section of the workbook is prepared especially for therapists and will prove most helpful to professionals in assisting their clients with disabilities.

An outstanding resource for anyone dealing with a disability, professionals in all areas of therapy as well as friends, family and caretakers of the disabled. Highly recommended as a permanent part of the professional's reference library.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Witches of Cahokia A Fascinating Story

Witches of Cahokia
Author: Raymond Scott Edge
Publisher: Redoubt Books
ISBN: 978-0-9794737-2-2

Based on the Indian Settlement and Burial Mounds of Cahokia Mounds in Cahokia Illinois, this "reality-based" fiction novel is a true find.

The story consists of 2 archaelogists, Daniel and Lauren French of Southern Illinois University. The Frenches are both teachers and researchers, who met and married during grad school and are now affliated with the same university they once attended as students. Residing in nearby Alton Illinois, they are called in by the University when a construction crew working on a new road stumbles upon what appears to be the skeletal remains of 2 Indian females. As the Frenches investigate the burial site, they discover that it appears to have been the burial site of dozens of ancient indians, strangely all female.

This novel alternates between the current day study of the remains and the story of the group of women that have been laid to rest there.

These Indian women span numerous generations of women gifted with healing and shamanistic abilities, and their stories are a fascinating study of healing herbs, ancient Indian medical practices, and local indian lore. Standing on it's own, these tales would make a fascinating educational and imaginative read.

Add into this the discovery, recovery and research of the burial ground by the Frenchs and their students; and the story comes full circle with the ongoing learning of a truly fascinating part of American and local Illinois history.

But this inventive author doesn't stop there; add to the mix an underground student anarchy cell determined to halt progress on the roadway and what they consider to be the destruction of indigenous flora, fauna and landscape. Working with other far-flung underground cells; these groups conspire to place stolen achealogical finds from other international sites at this burial site, thereby muddying both the waters of research and the economy of the local area, as well as the ongoing infrastructure of the new roadway. Can the University's archaelogical dig continue in the face of these intrusions? And will we ever truly learn what actually began here so many generations ago?

The author, Raymond Scott Edge, has written a beautiful story mixing Southern Illinois Indian cultural heritage, the migratory study of ancient tribes, current academic research and an educational organization's "political" infighting and relationships. I look forward to reading the other work of this author; and hope he has plans to continue this line of research and sharing of local indian lore.

Readers will find themselves drawn into these story lines, and the book offers wonderful characters and believable plot lines to hold the reader enthralled and enraptured from beginning to end. Bravo to Raymond Scott Edge for a novel that is truly innovative, entertaining and educational.

Uplifting, Motivational and Thought-Provoking

Advice My Parents Gave Me: and Other Lessons
I Learned from My Mistakes
Author: Rodolfo Costa
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1-4490-2552-6

This is a truly entertaining, delightful and thought provoking collection of 409 quotes, lessons, thoughts, words of advice and encouragement. The author gleaned these from his own life experiences and a far-ranging variety of sources.

Reading this book will offer a venue into looking at your own life experiences, past mistakes, family history and future aspirations. By taking the time to read this book, page by page or section at a time, you can find the determination, motivation and understanding you need to move forward in your life.

I think this book would be a wonderful tool for personal reflection and future reference; to take from your bookshelf like an old and caring friend when you need encouragement, a boost of determination, or just a thought-provoking meditation to help you remind yourself what is truly important in your life. I plan to keep it in mind as an excellent gift for an upcoming graduate or a friend pondering a change of circumstance in their own life.

A Must Have for Crisis Counseling..Professional or LayPersons

Coping With Crisis: A Counselor's
Guide to the Restabilization Process
(Book #5 in the Explorations In Metapsychology Series)
Author: Jim Burtles
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-41-5

The author of this excellent psychology tool, Jim Burtles, has outstanding expertise, background and practical experience in disaster recovery and emergency management, both in the business and professional world; and in working with other experts in crisis recovery as well as trauma survivors.

The rehabilitation and recovery methods covered in this book were originally created and developed in response to helping people handle and react to catastrophic events; they will prove invaluable to both professionals and laypersons working with survivors of any traumatic personal, local, national or international event or crisis.

The volume offers an extremely useful glossary of crisis/trauma/recovery and rehabilitation terminology helpful to readers of all experience levels; as well as very useful indexes and appendices.

Burtles discusses the five common reactions to crisis, the techniques of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). REBT is an established documented and proven model to alleviate stress, depression, anxiety and the other resultant issues of trauma and catastrophy, Valuable advice for couselors is covered; as well as an excellent discussion and overview of the "dark serpent theory" of survivor behavior. This dilemma and the resultant treatment suggestions are covered in what I personally believe is the best and most thorough explanation I have seen.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this work to anyone interested in learning more about crisis management, coping and rehabilitation skills and techniques. A very valuable learning tool and reference on an extremely timely and important subject.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Awakening the Eagle: A Guide to the Medicine Wheel

Awakening the Eagle: A Guide to the Medicine Wheel
Author: Ralph P. Brown (Tawennihake)
Publisher: BookSurge Publishing

I've always had a great personal interest in alternative thinking, especially in the areas of religion, spiritual belief and personal guidance. I thought I had a fairly good understanding of the various tribal lore of American Indian Tribes, but I always did want to learn more. For any reader interested in tribal lore, spiritual life, wisdom and guidance; Ralph P. Brown has written a fascinating and indepth study of the Medicine Wheel in his wonderous work, "Awakening The Eagle: A Guide to the Medicine Wheel".

Ralph P. Brown is a Mohawk tribal member and spiritual advisor. His Mohawk name is Tawennihake. In this unique book, Tawennihake leads us on a spiritual journey along with a young Mohawk boy named Okwaho; and the elderly tribal sage, Lightening Eyes. Through the indian lore and fables Lightening Eyes shares with young Okwaho, we learn about the Medicine Wheel, the vibrant entity representing and reflecting the existence of everything within our universe. Through Lightening Eyes' use of parables, fable and indian lore, we learn more of the Native American culture and tradition, and begin to understand the powers of the Medicine Wheel. By viewing the medicine wheel as it relates to our lives and spiritual needs today, the medicine wheel will bring us to an understanding and recognition of our human potential and see how we relate to our world, whether in the abstract or the literal, the positive or the negative.

The Mohawk use of the medicine wheel illustrates our universe; and ultimately ourselves as humans and earth inhabitants. Through understanding and interpretation of the medicine wheel, we can learn insight into ourselves and patience with those around us.

I highly recommend this book to anyone with an interest in indian lore and beliefs, anyone who is a student of theology or metaphysics; or any reader with a yearning to learn more about the potential of the universe and their personal life and spiritual health. It is an easy to understand and truly enjoyable read. In fact, I have read it twice already, and know I will continue to learn from each reading. I look forward to the opportunity to learn more from Tawennihake, he is truly a gifted and caring writer.

Emotional Black Holes by Grant J. Hallstrom

Emotional Black Holes
written by Grant J. Hallstrom
publisher: ClearStone Publishing

Think about your social circle, your family, neighbors, co-workers, etc. How many of those people are suffering from depression, addiction, and self damaging behaviors? For most of us, probably at least five to ten people we know, at any given time, are finding themselves in that emotional black hole, that void, the sadness that doesn't go away. Maybe you are suffering yourself.

Recognizing the problem is the first step. Then comes finding the way out, and fighting for the life that is valuable and worth living. The journey out can begin with the book by Grant J. Hallstrom, Emotional Black Holes.

The author has written a moving and thought provoking account of his own journey from his own "black hole". By using this book as a guide, you will see that you are not alone in the journey; and will glean helpful ideas for yourself or others. Chapters include dealing with lust, temptation, addiction, even the addiction of religion. You may know someone who is a control freak, or by reading this book you may realize that you are the control freak. There is hope for healing and help for everyone suffering from any form of depression and emotional emptiness or vacuum.

Today's world brings trials and problems for all of us. Getting the help we need to deal with our trials and problems can be daunting; by reading this book you can and will be helping yourself or someone you know find the way out of that black hole. There is hope on the other side. Hallstrom has given us a valuable help in finding the way up and out.