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.