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Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
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Product Description

When Judith Herman's Trauma and Recovery was first published five years ago, it was hailed as a groundbreaking work. In the intervening years, Herman's now classic volume has changed the way we think about and treat traumatic events and trauma victims. In a new introduction, Herman chronicles the incredible response the book has elicited and explains how the issues surrounding the topic of trauma and recovery have shifted within the clinical community and the culture at large. Trauma and Recovery brings a new level of understanding to a set of problems usually considered individually. Herman draws on her own cutting-edge research on domestic violence, as well as on a vast literature of combat veterans and victims of political terror, to show the parallels between private terrors such as rape and public traumas such as terrorism. The book puts individual experience in a broader political frame, arguing that psychological trauma can be understood only in a social context. Meticulously documented and frequently using the victims own words as well as those from classic literary works and prison diaries, Trauma and Recovery is a powerful work that will continue to profoundly impact our thinking.

Customer Reviews:

  • Very insightful and extremely well written .
    For anyone who has suffered trauma, this book gives insight into the effects of trauma and gives it language, a way to speak from the trauma and to be understood, by yourself and others. I have read no other book that is written in this area as well as this book.I would recommend it to all people who are dealing with this in their lives or are helping someone to recover. It is the best....more info
  • most thoughtful book for anyone who has experienced trauma
    i have read this book cover to cover twice and it remains rife with thoughtful, insightful and helpful information. for anyone who has suffered a traumatic event in their lives, whether recent or long past, this is a voice that understands, and can make sense of the thoughts, feelings and behavior that may have altered and tortured you life....more info
  • A close analysis of traumatic stress
    In Trauma and Recovery, Herman takes a careful look at traumatic stress and prolonged trauma and redefines post-traumatic stress disorder, leading to one of the most influencial books for psychologists in any area. The book's audience is not, however, limited to the psychological world, for the subject of trauma and its societal impact is one of great importance. Herman is possibly the ultimate source concerning traumatic stress, and this book makes that very clear....more info
  • An Informative Work on Trauma and its Damage to Selfhood and Trust
    The text Trauma and Recovery is an insightful book that outlines the many horrors and ramifications of psychological and physical trauma, as well as the arduous path to partial recovery. I use the word partial because it is not only what the text itself states (211), it is what I have observed as a ministry professional. Traumatized persons lose their senses of trust and selfhood, senses that are extremely difficult to regain once they are lost. This is especially true of those who are chronically abused.
    Dr. Herman begins her treatise of this topic with an historical backdrop and proceeds with a well articulated presentation of trauma as is it is commonly seen and understood by practitioners as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The various symptoms of this disorder are outlined and explained clinically and pragmatically. As the chapters unfolded, I found myself in a position where I could almost hear the screams and cries for help coming from the oppressed and abused. From my past work with war veterans in a clinical setting, I revisited many of Dr. Herman's case studies in the context of my own mind and experience. I believe that she is extremely accurate in her descriptions of PTSD in the various populations of victims.
    The two major emphases of the book, trauma and recovery, are logically connected in its content. For example, on Page 133, the author states that the core experiences of trauma are disempowerment and disconnection from others. Therefore, recovery seeks to empower the survivor and create new connections. It is interesting how much emphasis Dr. Herman places on relationships within the healing process. Isn't it intriguing that the corrective for abusive or traumatic relationships are wholesome relationships, and that healing can only happen within the context of these wholesome relationships?
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  • This book helped me recover from PTSD
    I can't say enough great things about this book. I had PTSD (not complex PTSD) from a cult membership, and this book was a key factor in my recovery. If you have PTSD or a counselor helping people with PTSD, this is a must-read. It is written very clearly and not in 'doctor-speak.' And it is a great complement to psychotherapy....more info
  • Cause and Effect
    Dr. herman looks at the molestations of people and describes the affects, both long term and short term, with a look at the recovery process. The atrocities are detailed. This book is very conclusive, scientific in its approach....more info
  • Toss out the rest and stick with the best
    I've read lots of books about trauma but this, by far, is the best I've found. It is written with great compassion and without bias. This is a well written clinical analysis of trauma in all it's forms and the recovery process which follows. I highly recommend....more info
  • It gets more profound with time - a clinician's view
    This a legitimate classic that first laid out the mental, emotional, and societal territory and topography of Complex Chronic PTSD -- it is not a textbook, a training manual, a how-to or self-help book, and it doesn't try to be, so look elsewhere if that's what you need.

    This is a book of exploration, discovery, and mapping, and it still offers new insights. Contrary to some reviews, it is not a 'feminist perspective' on PTSD, although it was informed by feminist ideas -- it is a profoundly human perspective on the lasting effects of inhumanity by men and women, committed against men, women, and children.

    For diagnosticians, clinicians, and people who study or work with the survivors of extreme, prolonged captivity and torment, this was the first book to describe the common patterns across several populations -- tortured political prisoners, concentration camp survivors, battered women, survivors of child abuse -- and lay out a clinical template that still holds true in almost every particular.

    I've read this remarkable book twice cover-to-cover, and many chapters three or four times. With every reading, Trauma and Recovery offers deeper insights. It is brilliant, perceptive, and well-written. It's quite amazing to me that Dr. Herman wrote this in 1993; so many of her then-hypotheses are only now being 'rediscovered' and supported by solid research. If you work with PTSD, and think you know what you're doing, this book is essential reading.

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  • Trauma - The Assault to the Psyche
    This book is an excellent guide for the therapist. It lends greater understanding of the assualt to the psyche of the trauma victim as well as the process of healing. I am saddened by how many times I have treated the symptoms and not the psyche. Herman says, "Instead of conceptualizing the psychopathology of the victim as a response to an abusive situation, mental health professionals have frequently attributed the abusive situation to the victim's presumed underlying psychopathology" (116). In other words, we blame the victim.

    This work is indeed a compassionate and much needed analysis of psychological trauma and the conflicted state it produces within those who have been victimized. Traumatized people suffer damage to the basic structures of the self. They lose trust in themselves, in other people, and in God. Victims need unconditional understanding, even if we don't understand. This book will not only explain the conflicted state of the victim, it will also provide a therapeutic course of action for their healing.
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  • Fabulous book!
    This book is a must read if you are interested in psychology. The way it is written is understandable even by the lay man. The mix between history and modern psychology is exelent. I really enjoyed reading this book and highly recomend it. If you enjoyed this book, you may also be interested in Unchained Memories. Both of these books were required for the psychology class I took at DU. Both books are superb....more info
  • I have this book and it's the light of my life.
    I was lost in my symptoms of trauma, not knowing what to do. I didn't know I had PTSD, but I bought this book anyway and lo and behold it explained my symptoms very comprehensively. Some of the book is not written for the survivors, I just skipped those chapters. This book is a must have for those lost at sea with PTSD symptoms. It saved my life....more info
  • For all trauma victims
    Judith Herman links many different forms of trauma by explaining how they all are similar in their effects on those who endured them. A must read for anyone who wants to heal from the effects of PTSD related to child abuse, military combat, political violence, and adult rape. She explains what is needed for healing to occur. I took a lot from this book and will refer back to it time and time again....more info
  • Enlightening
    This book was a suggested read from a counselor/pastor, and I'm glad I did. The author offers the reader an enlightening description and understanding of Complex PTSD. It is a great educational tool. It was exactly what was needed at the time. It can also be a good "first step" item. It helped pinpoint the issue and explain the authour's theories on addressing the issue. It set a great course to also find appropriate assistance. Armed with a name, understanding, and appropriate language the enlightened reader can pursue even more education and professional assistance if needed. This book turned out to be a light in a very dark place and I have already recommended it to others. ...more info
  • Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror
    Judith Herman has done an incredible service to all mankind with this book.
    This book is a must for women who have been victims of abuse and trauma.
    Her amazing ability to understand and articulate trauma is nothing short of empowering!...more info
  • Outstanding, comprehensive text for survivors & their healers
    This is an extremely knowledgeable, intelligent and comprehensive study of the enormous psychological impact of the trauma experienced by severely abused children and adults, and people who have close-up combat experience and other traumatic war-related experiences. It addresses chronic abuse as well as single horrific events. Dr. Herman's commitment to bringing relief of suffering through increasing the understanding of therapists, care-givers, loved ones and healers allows survivors to have greater hope for their recovery. This book also validates, in a critical way, the many and pervasive aspects of personal suffering endured by the survivors. Someone else has "spoken" the unspeakable, and in so doing, helps survivors reclaim their souls. ...more info
  • Interesting, moving, and useful for survivors and therapists
    Judith Herman's book is an excellent resource for trauma survivors and their loved ones. As a social worker and a childhood rape survivor, I find Herman's perspective on human healing to be very important both professionally and personally. Herman is an exacting researcher, a compassionate clinician, a holistic thinker, and a hopeful comrade. I, for one, am deeply moved and helped by her book....more info
  • Less helpful than most books on topic
    While I understand that this book was written when discourse on the subject was still sort of new, I think that it, in general, is not one of the more helpful books on the subject -- especially for victims of childhood physical, sexual, emotional abuse. Herman seems to cling to a somewhat childish good-vs-evil way of viewing reality. While this fits well with her campus/activist/feminist worldview, it doesn't provide a realistic or helpful way of reframing past traumas for victims.
    For people who had significant experiences of abuse in childhood, seeing people in terms or good-or-bad is often hard to avoid. So, in the EARLIEST stages of getting sorted out, it can be TEMPORARILY helpful to stress how the abuser was "bad" and the victim "good" in order to undo the old distortions of the abuser (victim-blaming). But as a person's recovery progresses -- as she/he learns to think like an adult in a complex world -- this childish simplification becomes a roadblock to greater, saner insight into life and people. The point of therapy (or recovery, or just getting your **** together) is, after all, to learn to live in a world that is -- despite the periodic appearance of some disturbing, difficult experiences -- not crammed full with supernaturally "evil" bogeymen and goblins. Life is not an ongoing battle between the "good" people and the "bad" people.
    Also, as a male who was victimized by a woman during childhood, I found the implicit identification of females as victims, males as perpetrators (unfortunately not uncommon in books of this vintage) annoying and unhelpful. Reinforcing that stereotype -- whatever ego-boost it provides for Herman and her worldview -- only creates greater roadblocks to recovery for male victims. And by denying the reality of male child victimization by adult females, our culture discourages recovery for victims, thereby helping to perpetuate an ongoing cycle of victimization....more info