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.
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.”