The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD from the Inside Out

Overview

2013 Nautilus Silver Award Winner!

In 2010 the Department of Veterans Affairs cited 171,423 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans diagnosed with PTSD, out of 593,634 total patients treated. That's almost 30 percent; other statistics show 35 percent. Nor, of course, is PTSD limited to the military. In twenty years as a therapist, Susan Pease Banitt has treated trauma in patients ranging from autistic children to women with breast cancer; from underage sex slaves to adults ...

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The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD from the Inside Out

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Overview

2013 Nautilus Silver Award Winner!

In 2010 the Department of Veterans Affairs cited 171,423 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans diagnosed with PTSD, out of 593,634 total patients treated. That's almost 30 percent; other statistics show 35 percent. Nor, of course, is PTSD limited to the military. In twenty years as a therapist, Susan Pease Banitt has treated trauma in patients ranging from autistic children to women with breast cancer; from underage sex slaves to adults incapacitated by early childhood abuse. Doctors she interviewed in New York report that, even before 9/11, most of their patients had experienced such extreme stress that they had suffered physical and mental breakdowns. Those doctors agree with Pease Banitt that stress is the disease of our times. At the 2009 Evolution of Psychotherapy conference Jack Kornfield noted, "We need a trauma tool kit." Here it is.

Most people, Pease Banitt says, experience trauma as a terminal blow to their deepest sense of self. Her techniques restore a sense of wholeness at the core level from which all healing springs. The uniqueness of her book lies in its diversity and accessibility. She assesses the values and limitations of traditional and alternative therapies and suggests methods that are universally available. Almost anybody can grow some lavender in a pot, she notes, or find a tree to sit under, a journal to write in, or Epsom Salts in which to soak. They can learn exercises of the mind and breath work to regulate the body. Besides such resources, Pease Banitt's tools for healing include:

  • Skills to build a first-aid kit to respond to any traumatic event
  • Insight into the causes of stress mentally and physically
  • Motivation to deal with stress sooner rather than later
  • An insider's knowledge about maintaining health
  • The ability to make good decisions for effective interventions
  • Increased resilience to overwhelming events

She closes with a look at public policy and public health issues and the need for new therapeutic models. If trauma is the disease of our time, then healing from trauma individually and globally can pave the way for a brighter future. This book provides the tools.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Some events can take years to recover from. The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD from the Inside Out is a mental health guide from Susan Pease Banitt as she uses her expertise as a psychotherapist to help readers cope with their life's pain, presenting them many ideas on their road to healing and how to better embrace it all. The Trauma Tool Kit is a strong addition to psychology and self-help collections, highly recommended.
" --James A. Cox, Midwest Book Review

"Scores of books have been written about post-traumatic stress disorder--what it is and how to deal with it. The latest is The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD From the Inside Out by Susan Pease Banitt, a psychotherapist who has been seeing patients for more than three decades and who also is a certified teacher of hatha yoga.
Banitt points out in her book that when she was in her forties she "was shaken to the core with an eruption of PTSD from the bowels of my being." The author does not dwell on the details of her own case of PTSD in the book. But she now recommends spiritual and holistic modialities such as acupuncture and naturopathic treatment for her patients with PTSD.
Those and many other treatments are part of the "trauma tool kit" that Banitt explores in her book. The author does not directly address PTSD in veterans of the Vietnam War or any other conflict. However, veterans with PTSD should be able to use the ideas, information, and practices Banitt includes in her 'tool kit.'" --The VVA Veteran, Books in Brief blog

"Susan Pease Bannitt, a psychotherapist, yoga teacher, and alternative healer, says PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is a whole-body tragedy. Recovery, she says, begins with grounding, followed by a multifaceted East/West approach for healing body, mind, and spirit. It's not simple, and The Trauma Tool Kit reflects the complexity of the subject matter. In fact, she suggests reading only small parts of the book at a time because of the intensity of the information. This book is a treasure containing insight, practical exercises, and a wealth of resources. Consider displaying it prominently among your self-help/recovery merchandise.
" --Retailing Insight

"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a human event of such enormous repercussions that it envelops both mind and body. According to Susan Pease Banitt, in her book The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD From the Inside Out, "PTSD is a whole-body tragedy."
Western medicine has traditionally treated psychological trauma as an issue of the mind and psyche. However, today it is becoming more understood that stress and trauma affect the entire human organism, including physical health.
Banitt encourages people who have been traumatized, whether they are returning soldiers, child-abuse survivors, or others in recovery from trauma, to realize the complexity of their experiences and work on their own rehabilitation." --Penny Hastings, excerpted from ForeWord Reviews, Spring 2012

"In The Trauma Tool Kit Susan Pease Banitt concentrates on the physical, spiritual and esoteric dimensions of trauma usually ignored by our mainstream culture and healing practices. She presents universal dimensions of traumatic injury and recovery as they have been modeled in spiritual and holistic traditions for millennia as well as integrative methods practiced by holistic healers today. The Trauma Tool Kit is a readable, accessible, comprehensive, 'user-friendly' smorgasbord of healing ideas, information and practices that can help guide trauma survivors to wholeness. Susan Pease Banitt is consistently positive, encouraging and helpful as she guides readers in restoring healing and hope."
--Edward Tick, Ph.D., author of War and the Soul and The Practice of Dream Healing, and Director of Soldier's Heart

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780835608961
  • Publisher: Quest Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 365,473
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Susan Pease Banitt, LCSW is a Harvard-trained psychotherapist with over thirty years experience in mental health work. She has worked in a variety of settings with hundreds of diverse clients over the years, including: residential childcare, child abuse prevention, inpatient psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, medical hospitals and private practice. Her clients have included individuals, couples and groups, including children as young as 3 years and adults into their 80s. Since a very young age, Susan has been aware of her spiritual nature. After a Catholic upbringing, she spent her late twenties studying yoga and meditation and obtained her certification as a teacher of hatha yoga in her thirties. Over the years, Susan has come to see that traumatic stress and experiences are behind the vast majority of suffering in the mind and body. Her gifts of empathy and intuition became fully engaged when she began formal work with a shaman in 2000. At the same time, she delved deeper into yogic philosophy through intensive study of Vedanta, ancient Indian spiritual wisdom. As a healed survivor who has taken a deep journey into early traumatic abuse, Susan acts as a compassionate guide for those struggling to free themselves from the effects of traumatic stress. Because Susan has worked with so many gifted psychiatric and alternative practitioners, she has collected a large toolbox of interventions to offer clients and colleagues. Susan currently co-chairs the Mental Health Council for the National Association of Social Workers, Oregon chapter and sits on the board of Street Yoga, an organization that brings yoga techniques to disadvantaged youth in a variety of settings.
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Read an Excerpt

The Trauma Tool Kit

Healing PTSD from the Inside Out


By Susan Pease Banitt

Theosophical Publishing House

Copyright © 2012 Susan Pease Banitt
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8356-0896-1



CHAPTER 1

Road Map for Healing from Trauma


Trauma arrives unwanted in all shapes and sizes. It can appear early in life or late. It can be as large as a country or as small as an individual. It can be sudden or cumulative, or both. Trauma knows no rules, no ethnic identity or age. It does not know when to say when. You can be at the breaking point, and still more trauma will come. Why? Maybe the answer is ultimately unknowable, but if we have encountered trauma we want answers. Many of the world's greatest texts, scriptures, and works of art owe their origin to struggles around this very question. Here's what is knowable about trauma and traumatic stress: (a) trauma is a universal human experience; (b) there is an endpoint to all forms of trauma; and (c) it is possible to recover fully from traumatic stress.

Post-traumatic stress disorder has been increasingly featured in the media, and it may be the disorder of our time. Legions of returning soldiers and hundreds of thousands of child-abuse survivors compose just a few of the ranks of those with PTSD. But, you don't have to be diagnosed with PTSD to be dealing with traumatic stress. You might be in the first several weeks of recovering from a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, accident, sudden life change, or medical diagnosis. You may have been running beyond your capacities in a high-pressure job or lifestyle for years, and the effects are now catching up to you. Or you may have some symptoms of traumatic stress but not enough to qualify for a full-fledged psychiatric diagnosis. If you are reading this book, chances are you have come looking for some help with traumatic stress, either for yourself or for a loved one. What I would like to say to you, then, is congratulations. Congratulations for surviving and being alive, for reaching out for help and picking up this book. Whether you have PTSD or are struggling with chronic overwhelming stress, no matter how dire your life may be or may have been, it is possible to lead a healed, vibrant, and joyful life.

Traumatic stress entails a great deal of confusion, as if we were dropped in a perilous foreign land with no familiar landmarks and no map, all the while experiencing tremendous pain. Because of my own deep journey through trauma as well as my role as healer with traumatized people, the terrain of trauma has become very familiar, with reliable guideposts, paths, and stages. These stages are your roadmap through the experience of trauma. You can use these developmental steps to assess where you are and where you are headed or need to go. Depending on your progress, some of these may seem easier or harder, obvious or puzzling. You may feel overwhelmed at the length of the journey or resist certain steps (e.g., why should I have to be the one to forgive?). Not to worry. Do not fight your natural feelings; just notice them, and keep moving forward. When you look at a map, what is the first point you look for? Where you are going? Nope. You look for that You Are Here arrow. Once you know where you are and where you want to go, only then can you make your journey safely and without a lot of unnecessary detours.

Healing from trauma has a developmental path all its own with distinct stages of healing. Like other models of healing, these stages are not necessarily linear, progressing from one to another in order. In psychology we think of time moving upwards in a spiral rather than in the usual straight line. True healing consists in forward and apparently backward directions in healing called regressions. Regressions can feel like out-of-control backsliding, but they are really loops in the spiral that end up moving forward again and are universal to human development. For example, when a baby learns to walk, often sleep patterns that have been well established for months become chaotic for a couple of weeks. This behavior does not mean the baby has gone backwards in its development, even though regression looks and feels like that to the new parents. The baby brain is busy incorporating a new ability, walking. When the skill is consolidated, the baby will continue to progress in its development.

As you look at the stages in healing from trauma, know that, like that baby, you may need to go backwards (regress) occasionally to a previous stage in order to go forward again. Some stages may take a few months, while others can take years. Some manifest according to age and development. Certain stages may loop or overlap simultaneously. Healing from trauma is very individual. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to how people traverse this terrain. Because trauma involves the wounding of multiple dimensions within the human being, the stages of healing from trauma are also multidimensional. So, use what follows as a guideline. Nothing as complex as the human mind can be completely outlined. This roadmap is not supposed to be dogma. As you go through these steps, if they fit for you, great; if not, temporarily put them aside and focus on healing where you are.

The seven stages of healing from traumatic stress are, in the usual chronological order, trauma shock, rebooting, acceptance, feeling and releasing, integration, restoration, and forgiveness. These are not merely psychological stages but whole-body processes that unfold as one moves through the journey of healing from trauma.


Trauma Shock

Trauma literally stuns the mind. When the mind can't accept what it sees, or when the amount of information about reality becomes too big to process, people go into psychological shock. Broca's area, the center of language in the brain, may shut down, rendering victims temporarily mute. You may have seen this phenomenon if you have ever come upon the scene of an accident. The victims are often staring off into space, unsure of where they are or what has just happened to them. They might be wandering aimlessly or sitting on the ground with their heads in their hands.

Trauma shock occurs in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic or horrifying event. Signs of trauma shock can include a fixed stare; a racing heart rate; a feeling of spaciness, dizziness or lightheadedness; incongruence between words and tone of voice (e.g., speaking in a monotone when describing the trauma); a feeling of being out of one's body; muteness; rigid bodily posture; and a deceptive calmness that belies the seriousness of the event. Trauma shock is not to be confused with the medical term "traumatic shock," shock that results from a physical injury. Trauma shock is a purely psychological mechanism that kicks in automatically, much as physical traumatic shock does. In a situation in which physical injury may have occurred, it is important not to confuse the two. Medical personnel can help rule out any physical traumatic shock to the body that can look like this first stage of trauma. Of course, physical shock should always be treated first.

It is easy to think that someone in trauma shock is all right. To the untrained eye, the victim can look calm, like someone in control of the situation, when nothing could be further from the truth. People in trauma shock have an almost locked-in feeling; they seem to have disconnected their internal world from their outer expression and being. They sometimes describe later how they were "screaming on the inside." People can also experience trauma shock as being numb, dissociated, or ungrounded. Trauma shock is like a system freeze or crash in a computer; one is overwhelmed with too much emotional data to process all at once.

Trauma shock is not well understood in our society yet. Recently, in Portland, Oregon, a suicidal man was shot because he did not answer a policeman quickly enough in the heat of crisis. To many psychiatric professionals it seemed obvious that the man, whose brother had just died suddenly, did not answer because he was in a state of deep trauma, but the police assumed he did not answer out of a dangerous resistance to orders, so he was fatally shot, a tragic outcome for all involved. Had the police had a better understanding of the mechanisms of trauma and how trauma shock affects the speech centers of the brain to the point of muteness or delayed speech, they would not have confused a traumatized suicidal man with a dangerous sociopathic one.

Ideally, trauma shock would last just long enough for one to get help and pass quickly. In some cases, though, I have seen people who were in mild to severe states of trauma shock for weeks, months, or even years. Trauma shock can occur at the time of the event but also in the future, whenever the trauma is retriggered. Many of the people who cannot move through the stages of healing from trauma keep getting stuck in trauma shock, a helpless and uncomfortable state of frozen numbness. The first step in releasing trauma shock is recognizing it. Just knowing you are dealing with shock will help to move you forward in healing, along with some techniques described later in this book.


Rebooting

If trauma shock is like a computer system freeze or crash, then the next stage involves rebooting our brain and functioning. Now there still might be some bugs in the system, but to carry on with our daily lives we need to get our brains up and running. How easily we do this depends both on the severity of the trauma endured and the number of previous traumas we have lived through.

In rebooting, we get grounded in our bodies and engaged in our lives again. We reenter relationships, but everything has changed. This time of reentry is delicate and fraught with hazards. Others wish to support us, but they have no clue what we have been through unless they are trauma survivors themselves. We often feel as if we are moving through an alien landscape even though externally nothing has changed. Our internal landscape has shifted so profoundly that we can have a sense of disorientation at this stage. It's as if someone has put an invisible 150-pound backpack on us and then encouraged us to move about freely. Easier said than done.

This changed landscape itself is traumatizing. Rebooting finds us in territory where we have the potential to feel challenged, alienated, and abandoned at every turn. We want to share our experience, but we don't want to see the look on peoples' faces when they hear our story. Some stories are so horrendous that those suffering from traumatic stress feel they can never tell them to anybody. We naturally want company (the human being is a social animal, after all), but feel it's hopeless. This feeling creates for many a secondary level of trauma, the trauma of disengagement, lack of functioning, and abandonment, sometimes perceived and sometimes real. It is not unusual for previously healthy relationships to fall apart at this stage or for people to lose their jobs or marriages.

When these secondary traumas kick in, sometimes trauma shock returns. I have seen many people who have been caught in a repeating loop of trauma shock and rebooting for years. If you find yourself in this situation, I want you to know that healing is possible. The way out is to move forward into the third stage.


Acceptance

Acceptance is the most crucial and also the most challenging stage in the journey of healing from trauma. To understand acceptance we need to look at its opposite. What is the opposite of acceptance? Denial. What is denial? Simply put, denial is the automatic and unconscious response of our defensive systems to protect us from information that would destroy our sense of the world and ourselves. To fully accept what has happened to us, to embrace the trauma, means that structures of our self and our world need to go utterly away, possibly never to return. Denial protects us from unbearable loss, confusion, and intolerable anxiety, but it also puts us in prison and tosses away the key.

The process of acceptance can include recovering previously repressed memories, but it doesn't have to. For example, a victim of date rape might define her event as "having done something stupid," or an earthquake survivor might rationalize, "So many people had it so much worse than I did." This altering of reality, which can range from minimization to outright fantasy, is quite common in survivors of traumatic events. To come fully into reality and acceptance in order to heal trauma, a person might have to admit that a "funny uncle" was a pedophile, that a bomb dropped actually did kill innocent people, or that acceptable child-rearing practices never involve floggings. Acceptance always entails a shift in the current reality to one that is more horrible, if more real, than the reality of denial. No wonder it is so very difficult. Yet, without this acknowledgment and acceptance no healing is possible. Those unacknowledged traumas then remain locked within the body-mind, creating dysfunction and disease.

The horrors to which people are subjected and to which they subject others are literally endless. Humans are capable of every kind of barbarity and cruelty, and there is no era of history in which these acts have not been performed. When I used to work on an afterhours child-abuse hotline, every report of abuse in the entire state was funneled into our little room each night and weekend. Every time I thought I had heard it all, I assure you I hadn't. A person couldn't make those things up. Hearing twenty to forty stories of child abuse per night for four years, I did get to a place in which I wasn't outright shocked any more, but I could still be surprised at horrible variations on a theme. I do understand why you might not want to accept your story or tell someone else, but it is so important that you do so for your own healing.

Acceptance is particularly challenging when part or all of a memory has been repressed. What is a repressed memory? A repressed memory is simply a memory that has yet to be acknowledged in full consciousness. Cognitive psychologist Jennifer Freyd has been researching the phenomenon of repressed memories for decades at the University of Oregon. Her research shows that a memory is more likely to be fully repressed or dissociated when the victims were traumatized by someone who was supposed to be caring for them. She calls this type of trauma betrayal trauma. If you have been traumatized through abuse by a caregiver, especially if you were a child at the time, the acceptance stage can be a lengthy one. Be patient, and give yourself all the time you need without forcing the issue. Eventually you will know everything you need to know about your past; the developmental process of aging naturally aids in the recovery of memories. If your trauma stems from abuse by a caregiver, a therapist with extensive experience in betrayal trauma is highly recommended to help traverse this difficult terrain.


Feeling and Releasing

Traumatic events, by definition, overwhelm our ability to cope. When the mind becomes flooded with emotion, a circuit breaker is thrown that allows us to survive the experience fairly intact, that is, without becoming psychotic or frying out one of the brain centers. The cost of this blown circuit is emotion frozen within the body. In other words, we often unconsciously stop feeling our trauma partway into it, like a movie that is still going after the sound has been turned off. We cannot heal until we move fully through that trauma, including all the feelings of the event.

If you are very young when trauma strikes, under seven years or so, the brain is still very plastic and malleable enough to divide and conquer. The visual image gets stored in one compartment, smell in another, the narrative of what happened in yet another, and so on. This separation is why it is so hard to piece together a memory from a young age or why it feels unreal. Patients will sometimes say that they see a snapshot of themselves in a traumatic situation they can't feel or that they are having flashes of intense negative feelings without any story or picture. In some cases children can completely dissociate from events in their history until years (perhaps decades) later, when memories tend to return. If you are older than seven years or so at the time of the event(s), the brain does not seem able to dissociate as easily. In that case it is very common for traumatized people to turn to substances (prescribed or not) for dissociation from unbearable memories and sensations. The result for both processes is the same: stuck memories that have never processed fully and safely through the body for release and integration.

The key to unfreezing, making sense of your history, and moving on in your healing is feeling everything related to your traumatic event and letting the energy of that emotion leave your body forever. Scary, isn't it? Many of us spend decades trying to avoid just that. The pain seems too intense to deal with. Some people feel they should be able to do this on their own, but I say, "Don't try this at home!" You wouldn't attempt a dangerous ascent on a glacier without assistance and instruction, would you? So why try to manage unmanageable feelings on your own?


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Trauma Tool Kit by Susan Pease Banitt. Copyright © 2012 Susan Pease Banitt. Excerpted by permission of Theosophical Publishing House.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

What to Do in Case of an Emergency xi

Preface xiii

Introduction: The User's Manual 1

Operating Instructions 4

Letting Go of "Should" 8

Disclaimer 9

Tips and Troubleshooting 10

Implementing Change 12

Tool 1 Road Map for Healing from Trauma 15

Trauma Shock 18

Rebooting 20

Acceptance 21

Feeling and Releasing 23

Integration 25

Restoration 26

Forgiveness 28

Tool 2 First Aid for Psychological Trauma and Shock 33

Grounding 33

Clearing 40

Restoring 46

Altering and Suppressing 52

Tool 3 The Treasure at the Core 59

The Deepest Wound 61

The Core beneath the Core 63

Spiritual Diversity 65

Finding Your Cosmology 68

Tool 4 A Yogic Model for Healing 73

The Infinite Monkey Theorem 74

Local versus Nonlocal Consciousness 76

The Rishis 78

The Adhara System 79

Tool 5 The Annamayakosha: Mending the Physical Body 91

Nutrition 93

Supplements 98

Medicinal Plant and Herbal Healing 101

Essential Oils 106

Naturopathic Medicine 109

Massage Therapy 113

Chiropractic Care 115

Eye Movement Desensitization Response 118

Psychiatric Medication 119

Biofeedback 123

Heat Therapies 126

Music 127

Unwinding the Body 129

Tool 6 The Pranamayakosha: Healing Your Energy Body 133

Chinese Medicine 136

Thought Field Therapy and Emotional Freedom Technique 144

Energy Healers 145

Crystals and Stones 147

Smudging 153

Homeopathy 155

Animal Therapies 159

Healing in Nature 161

Yoga 164

Blessing Food and Water 171

Tool 7 The Manomayakosha: Enlisting Your Thinking Mind 175

Counseling 177

Finding Safety 178

Mapping Triggers 182

Creating a Timeline 186

The "I Want" Exercise 188

Expressive Therapies 190

The Work of Byron Katie 191

Loving-Kindness Meditation (Metta) 194

Eckhart Tolle Now 196

Tool 8 The Jnanamayakosha: Mining the Wisdom Mind 199

Core Beliefs and Quantum Physics 201

Raising the Opposite Wave 204

Giving What We Need to Receive 206

Shamanic Practices 209

Past-Life Regression Therapy 219

Wisdom Teachings 222

Prayer and Mantra 223

Meditation 226

Tool 9 The Anandamayakosha: Ecstasy and the Bliss Body 233

Fishing 239

Dolphin Encounters 240

Extreme Sports 241

Collective Ecstasy 243

Ecstatic Dance 244

Nature 246

Darshan 247

Divine Inner Bliss 248

Tool 10 Embracing Wholeness: The Motivation to Heal 251

The Effects of Untreated Trauma 253

Why Should I Talk About It? The Risks and Benefits of Disclosing Trauma 260

A New Vision for Healing 266

Changing Your Own Outcome 270

Acknowledgments 273

Notes 275

Bibliography and Recommended Reading 281

Index 293

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 25, 2012

    As a physician I frequently, probably daily, see patients with P

    As a physician I frequently, probably daily, see patients with PTSD or with a trauma history. Some have suffered specific traumatic events as a child or as an adult, others have been traumatized by some aspect of their medical illness or condition. Many of these individuals do not have an ongoing relationship with a therapist, or even have a clear idea where to turn to for help. The Trauma Took Kit: Healing PTSD from the Inside Out is an excellent resource to which I will refer patients. Given the breadth of modalities covered, there is going to be 'something for everybody' in this book. I believe everyone who reads this book will gain helpful insights into their situation and know that healing is possible. The writing is clear and direct as well as engaging. I highly recommend this book for anyone who has suffered a traumatic event as well as family members and caregivers of those individuals.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2013

    As I write this, I hesitate to give my full disclosure, [Full di

    As I write this, I hesitate to give my full disclosure, [Full disclosure: I work for Susan Pease Banitt] because I think some of you won't read my review, or will dismiss it. But I have read the book, and I do work for her, and I would not stay at a job I didn't in some way believe was for the sake of bettering the world.

    As I write this, our world is falling apart.

    Some reviews of The Trauma Tool Kit claim, "I know all this already." But a lot of us know this already. So then why does it seem no one is practicing it or heeding it? I'm guilty of this.

    It's easy to read through this book, or even pass by this book, and think: I don't have PTSD or I know that or That book's not for me. Or maybe we're deterred by the Self-Help section.

    And yet, that's where we are in the world—having to help ourselves.

    As I read the book, the revelation I had was twofold: First, I realized that I just might have suffered some trauma. I have been fortunate in the low degree of my trauma, but it has continued to affect me still to this day. And just taking that moment to think, and to look inside, has made a difference in how I see my past, how I live in the moment, and make plans for the future. It's this kind of meditation and thoughtfulness in our lives that should be able to keep us from the savage culture we are becoming—nay, have become. We live in a traumatic lifetime. I think back on the horrors of the recent past. Think about it. Think about the 20th century—that amazing time of innovation, progress, war. Do you think we do not still carry trauma? Every single one of us?

    Which leads me to my second revelation: We must all commit to fixing this now. The final tool in the toolkit, Embracing Wholeness, summarized everything I had been thinking while reading the book. Not only do people who have been diagnosed with PTSD need to find help—the rest of us need to help prioritize providing this help. PTSD needs to jump into the limelight, and not in the way it's been discussed in mainstream media; that is no help to anyone. The conversation needs to be changed, and it needs to be louder and it needs to be broader. We cannot continue to ignore what is becoming an epidemic. Because every time another of our young men or women is deployed into battle, every time another woman is beaten or raped, every time a young boy is molested—and when each of these atrocities is lied about, covered up, and hushed—our world suffers and surrenders.

    Look around us—soldiers who are supposed to be fighting for freedom are being tried for murder. And the people who send them there don't want anyone to talk about the PTSD they are diagnosed with.

    Women are being raped, and instead of finding the rapist, we are blaming the victim.

    Children are being shot in our schools. And the children who survived will suffer a great trauma.

    When our children see all of this happening, that merely perpetuates the problem.

    The media use PTSD as a way to get ratings, then turn around and use the most sensational and traumatic video from war and terror.

    Do we not see a cycle here? Do we not want to stop it?

    If you know all the things in this book already, then share it with someone who doesn't. When you read it, did any of it remind you of anybody? If you don't know what's in this book, read it and find out.

    Then use it. Use the tools Susan gives you. Use the tools you have.

    One of the greatest tools we have as human race is communication. Read this book—then talk about it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2012

    As a health lawyer, with training in both law and medicine, I fi

    As a health lawyer, with training in both law and medicine, I find this to be an excellent book. In life, traumatic stress knows no boundaries, and is an equal opportunity problem for all people. Susan Pease Banitt, LCSW has written a highly valuable and informative book for any professional or any person or family to gain a great deal of insight in to how traumatic stress can lead to serious life and health problems.

    Her book, The Trauma Tool Kit, Healing PTSD From The Inside Out, is a first rate book.

    It is easy to read, it outlines many key aspects of what "trauma" is and what "traumatic stress" is and how over time, serious chronic traumatic stress can lead to very serious health and mental health issues, including PTSD and many other serious mental health and medical problems. This book will help anyone who is seeking to learn more about “traumatic life events and chronic stress” and also learn more about why they feel the way they do, help them understand the subtle nature of some traumas, and that serious and also long term traumatic stress is a broad social problem that impacts perhaps 25% of families in America. This book points out that one does not just recover from chronic traumatic stress with a little time, nor does a person recover at any predictable rate. It can take a long time (sometimes years) for some very good people who have had to deal with traumatic stress to try to get back their old energy and zip.

    Susan Pease Banitt has outlined many helpful and proactive suggestions that will be of great value to many people. She opens up many options that trauma victims and burned out chronically stressed people may use. She offers a broad approach of potentially valuable options. She has both solid mainstream medical suggestions, is clear about the valuable role of mental health professionals, and takes trauma and it often life threatening and serious consequences very seriously. She also has a great way to include many formerly called “alternative medicine” approaches that are now considered part of the “complementary medicine” area. She is a big fan of yoga. Yet, her book is a broad based book and covers the area of trauma in a very wide open and broad manner.

    Anyone who is caregiving for an aging parent with dementia, or a parent with a serious age related illnesses, and anyone who has had any form of traumatic experiences can gain a great deal from this fine book. The book is “an ideal first book” for people who want to learn more about trauma, PTSD and chronic and cumulative effects of long term emotional traumas and other forms of trauma in life. I give this book an "A+++" rating and think it will be an enduring classic. The book is “affirming” and will resonate with many readers who have had to endure chronic stress and traumatic stress of any kind.

    This is a critical and important positive book for family members, both family of origin and also extend family and friends, who often do their best to help friends who are caught in positions of being advocates for aging parents, family members who are dealing with major traumas in life, and more. Few people in a family system either understand, or seek to truly understand, what many traumatized individuals or adult children of sick elderly parents go through. The same is true for family members who are geographically distant and who can only make occasional visits.

    I can’t wait for her next book and her website updates!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2013

    This woman has no experience that is useful in healing those suf

    This woman has no experience that is useful in healing those suffering from PTSD. She is all theory, and no practice. 

    Absolutely worthless.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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