David Treleaven’s book, “Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness,” advocates for Mindfulness teachers to recognize the importance of understanding trauma from a biology, interpersonal, and systemic perspective, guide students safely through practices, and continuing to partner with other trauma professionals in their community. He puts a large emphasis on understanding the ongoing traumas that those who are in marginalized groups have to deal with and how this impacts their day to day life.
The author gives a brief background of Mindfulness but assumes one who is reading this already has that foundation. He provides more information on trauma and the residue it leaves in the body. He then outlines his 5 principles of Trauma-Sensitive Mindfulness; staying within the window of tolerance, shifting attention to support stability, working with dissociation, practicing with relationship, and understanding social context.
“The point here is that other people–who they feel are safe and trustworthy–can help survivors regulate arousal, whether through settling eye contact, physical touch, or overall presence.”
As a therapist and yoga instructor who spends a lot of time taking in content on trauma, mindfulness, and yoga, I found this book incredibly enlightening and useful. Treleaven approaches this heavy topic with a wealth of his own knowledge, vignettes to describe how mindfulness can be effective and ineffective with those who have endured trauma, and steps for the Mindfulness practitioner to understand how to structure, lead, and address a class and a survivor with a trauma-sensitive approach. I really enjoyed his emphasis on systemic trauma in that it gave me a better understanding of how the ongoing trauma can show up differently than other traumas. I also appreciated his information on the vagus nerve as it relates to neuroception(being able to connect to the social world).
This book is a must read for any practitioner of mindfulness or yoga, since mindfulness is used so abundantly in classes. All instructors will teach survivors of trauma whether they know about it or not. It’s always important to know the risks and how to address an abreaction.
Read this book if:
- You are a Mindfulness, Meditation, or Yoga Instructor
- You are a therapist who may be utilizing or recommending mindfulness practices
Treleaven, D. A. (2018). Trauma-sensitive mindfulness: practices for safe and transformative healing. New York: W.W Norton & Company.
Judith Herman’s “Trauma and Recovery” is a go-to book for understanding chronic or complex trauma. Her book focuses on the repeated traumas that some people go through including war, captivity, and childhood trauma to name a few. Written in the 90s, her work still stands as powerful information in understanding how these types of trauma affect the survivor in a much more impactful way than a single-incident trauma. Herman explores challenges with self-regulation, relationships, and identity.
Her book is divided into 2 parts; the first on the history of understanding trauma and the second on the stages of recovery. I found myself struggling to get through the first chapter on history. The subsequent chapters explore captivity, child abuse, and the need for a separate diagnosis. Herman proposed a set of criteria for her “Complex Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Sadly, in 2019, we still do not have an official separate diagnosis despite Herman, Van Der Kolk, and others who have advocated. As a therapist, the second half of the book was much more interesting to me as it unpacked the different stages of recovery for a survivor.
“Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning.”
Overall, I enjoyed this book but it took a long time for me to get through. It’s quite heavy material and presented in a way that I could only soak up a few pages at a time. I found it to be informative and lined up with the other author’s in the field of trauma I am drawn to.
Read this book if:
- You work in the field of trauma
Buy it here.
Herman, J. L. (1992). Trauma and recovery. New York: Basic Books.
In his book, “A Whole New Mind,” author Pink explores how we are moving into the “Conceptual Age” from the “Information Age” where right-brain qualities will dominate. He theorizes that due to abundance of materials, automation of processes, and finding cheaper labor overseas, our society will need to depend on qualities such as creativity and empathy.
After explaining the new age he believes we are entering, Pink divides the book into 6 topics that he believes are vital; design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning. Each chapter explains what he is referencing with real-world examples as well as a “portfolio,” that has resources to enhance each trait. He theorizes that computer engineering, medicine, and law professions to name a few, are going through transformations where major parts of their profession is either automated or found overseas for cheaper. He encourages the reader to not give up on these professions but to utilize more right-brained traits in order to thrive.
“We’ll need to supplement our well-developed high-tech abilities with abilities that are high concept and high touch. (As I mentioned in the Introduction, high concept involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into a novel invention. High touch involves the ability to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian, in pursuit of purpose and meaning).”
This is the second book of Pink’s that I have read. I really enjoy his way of using real-world examples for understanding a phenomenon. This book reminded me of Brene Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection” and he referenced Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” I love it when worlds collide! The overall message felt comforting for a as Pink calls it “R-directed thinking” person. Not to fear our “L-directed thinkers,” your skills are still valuable, you just may need to exercise some of the right side qualities and this book has the answer for you. As a caution, this book was written in 2006, so some of the information seems dated.
Read this book if:
- You are fascinated with understanding the new age and how to stay relevant with your career or skills
- You are interested in strengthening your right-brain qualities
- You are more right-brained and curious how your skills are useful and needed in the future
Buy it Here
Pink, D. H. (2006). A whole new mind: Why right-brainers will rule the future. London: Cyan.
I’ve created a list of books that I believe are interesting for people who practice Yoga or are interested in beginning their Yoga practice.
Kasl’s “If the Buddha Dated” is a book about finding love, dating, and getting to know yourself on a deeper level within a relationship. Kasl uses her own experiences in dating, as a psychotherapist, and from exposure to relationships within different religions and spiritualities.
“On the spiritual path the rules are simple. Be kind, compassionate, honest, and natural.”
The book is divided into many parts with many small “bite-sized” sections on the topics within. She explores everything from preparing to love, recognizing what you want, the dating journey, and commitment once you find a partner. She has included lots of checklist and activities to really help uncover what you are looking for, will it work for you, and understanding yourself.
I enjoyed this book as it was simple to read but effective in helping the reader sort out their dating life. I think the title can be catchy for someone who may be aligned more with Eastern Spiritualities but it’s not exclusive to Buddhism. She references Christianity and Sufism to name a few. I think this book is so approachable and brings something tangible to dating that is often difficult to sort through. I did get a good laugh at her references to placing an online ad for dating since it was published in 2001! For those in a marriage, she has another book called, “If the Buddha Married.”
Read this book if:
- You are thinking about dating
- Currently dating
Buy it Here
Kasl, C. D. (2001). If the Buddha dated: Handbook for finding love on a spiritual path. New York, NY, U.S.A.: Penguin Compass.