I read, I review. I rarely comment. The difference? I offer glimpses into a book, noting
the content, the writing style, the potential impact on a reader, often sharing my personal
reactions to the material with a familiar first person writing style. An academic commentary
proposes both a different tone and approach. One that offered a challenge until I realized
that a commentary is just that, a personal reaction pinpointing part of the material that
potentially impacts either me personally or my field of study and interest, in this instance
psychotherapeutic interventions that offer clients and ourselves a way forward.

I read Ryan Niemiec’s newest publication, Character Strengths Interventions: A Field
Guide for Practitioners, with no background experience in positive psychology, no concept
of what character strengths are or how to integrate them into my life or my professional
work. I quickly learned that character strengths are positive traits that are core to our
being—our identity—and our doing, aka our behavior (pg. 2).

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In her new book, The Body Remembers Volume 2: Revolutionizing Trauma Treatment, Babette Rothschild includes what she calls a new ‘tool’, which is, in effect, a table and chart that identify the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the effects of ANS arousal in the therapeutic setting. It is designed to help therapists better monitor, evaluate, and regulate client ANS arousal states thus making trauma treatment safer through observation and modulation.

The information as graphically depicted in this book represents what I call a ‘map’. Babette and I have been colleagues for many years in the same professional field, and we share a common passion—we like making maps. Furthermore, we like to keep working with them until they have reached a level of precision that is helpful not only to ourselves but also to other trained trauma therapists – and to clients.

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Positive psychology is rooted in the idea that human beings want to thrive and engage in things that enrich their experiences and cultivate a meaningful life. In his 2014 book, Mindfulness and Character Strengths: A Practical Guide to Flourishing, author Ryan M. Niemiec discusses how practicing mindfulness can help individuals identify, understand, and apply their character strengths and create a pathway to a fulfilling life. He takes readers through Drs. Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman’s program Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice (MBSP), relays inspiring success stories about finding meaning via MBSP, provides useful handouts to guide readers through MBSP, and gives tips for practitioners such as how to apply MBSP to different settings and situations.

Mindfulness and Character Traits received praise for its revolutionary perspective. It reads like a self-help book, perfect for individuals who want to learn how to personally achieve mindfulness and discover their character strengths; however, it wasn’t written with the goal of teaching practitioners how to implement MBSP in their practice with their clients. With that in mind, Niemiec (2018) wrote his recently published book, Character Strength Interventions: A Field Guide for Practitioners for Practitioners. Additionally, he focuses more on the core of positive psychology, character strengths and less on how to achieve mindfulness. He educates the reader on the foundations of character strength interventions, relays evidence to support his claims about the usefulness of character strength interventions, and explains countless interventions step-by-step providing practitioners with a useful handbook.

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We are now engaged in collecting a number of possible contributions for a soon-to-be published book on “Body Psychotherapy Case Studies” (early 2018)
– this is part of the SRC remit to help to try and establish a reasonably good ‘scientific’ basis for body psychotherapy;
– and to increase awareness of different types of valid research – case studies being one of these;
– and to increase awareness of different ways of working in the field of body psychotherapy / somatic psychology;
– and we are intending to use some of the ‘project’ money in our SRC budget for this purpose.

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What can the theory and practice of somatic/body psychotherapy, ecopsychology and Buddhism offer to each other?

For the past five years, Kamalamani has shared life and work at the confluence of these fields in her quarterly Bodywise articles for Somatic Psychotherapy Today, an independent international publication representing various modalities in body psychotherapy, somatic psychology, and pre-natal and perinatal psychology. This volume brings together these quarterly Bodywise articles. Kamalamani explores client work in embodied and relational ways, drawing upon her practice of Buddhism. With her characteristically warm, immediate, accessible tone, Kamalamani encourages personal reflection and professional consideration as she offers insights illuminated by traditional Buddhist texts along with personal and clinical anecdotes that range from birth to death, from meditating with character to Reich’s character structures, from trauma and terrorized bodies to diversity, embodied spirituality and pre-natal and peri-natal psychology.

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Trauma is pervasive in our lives, from smaller situations that trigger feelings of inability and fear to larger catastrophes that render our entire being useless as we careen out of control. Be it a result of human inflicted acts of violence—war, terrorism, genocide— or the result of natural occurrences such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and wild fires that leave us feeling victimized, isolated, abandoned, people walk through their lives numb to their reality. Their senses are overwhelmed; scenes flash in as if happening now, not then. People exist in the past as if it is the present. And when these people become our clients, when in fact these people are in part, ourselves, we, as therapists, need to offer hope and possibility to move from then to now, to live a better quality of life than what we are experiencing in the current moment.

But, how?

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The Fall 2017 issue of the International Body Psychotherapy Journal, volume 16, number 3, is now online. This issue marks a significant transition to the IBPJ editorial team. Jill van der Aa, the managing editor since the journal’s inception, is stepping down and Antigone Orepoulou is stepping up for the Spring 2018 issue. We welcome her to the editorial team. The fall issue offers a range of papers. Readers can partake in an in-depth conversation about self-disclosure from a relational body psychotherapy stance, and explore client suffering as potentially originating from civilization then look at how getting in touch adaptively with the body resonates with helping society get in touch sustainably with the ecosystem. The pioneering work of Sabina Spielrein is explored as is the Triphasic Cumulative Microaggression Trauma Processing Model.

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In therapy, I believe our work is to support our clients as they and we enliven the places in imagination where we consciously and unconsciously create and cultivate visualizations vital for healing—specific images and sensations that are less apt to trigger distressing images but rather become integrated as components of recovery and healing. As we work within the psyche’s realm of awareness to re-envision scenes that support mental health and wellbeing, healing light becomes available when the darkness of harsher images from a terrifying past invades the mind and the body. Indeed, the recent tragic loss in Bev’s extended family had brought forth just such –a cascade of painful emotions, restless insomnia, anxious anhedonia, and a flare of her osteoarthritis.need for warmth and healing peace, Bev is learning how to confidently summon these images. However, for survivors of abuse like Bev, darker, more troubling pictures arise in the mind, unbidden and unwelcomed these images disturb their tranquility, knock them off balance.

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