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The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Recovering from Trauma and PTSD

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Written by Deborah A. Lee and Sophie James

Reviewed by Olivia Clancy

The Compassionate-Mind Guide to Recovering from Trauma and PTSD teaches readers how to overcome “flashbacks, shame, guilt and fear” using compassion-focused therapy. Deborah A. Lee and Sophie James provide readers with insight into the mechanisms of post-traumatic stress and a practical self-guided approach to overcome it.

The book is segmented into three sections: understanding reactions to trauma; developing compassionate mind skills; and using techniques to soothe the traumatized mind. The format guides readers on a journey toward success with its ability to simplify complex concepts and its straightforward descriptions making the information and skills attainable for all readers.

Section one explains the underpinnings of trauma on both a neurological and emotional level such that readers with or without a trauma history can understand the core concepts. This simplicity is also found in the teaching and implementation of techniques in sections two and three.

Most notably, the book integrates anecdotes of the compassionate-mind approach from Lee’s clinical work. In the final section, the ways in which patients might adapt the compassionate-mind approach to fit their individual trauma is exemplified using diagrams and charts. In doing so, the reader can see the evolution of a patient debilitated by PTSD to being fully alive and thriving using compassionate-mind techniques. Even more beneficial are blank graphics for readers to fill in during their own practice of compassionate-mind. The structure of narratives, skill building, and skill implementation allows readers to imagine how the compassionate-mind approach might aid their own recovery.

Lee and James wrote the book with survivors in mind; they guide readers on an appropriately simplified journey to overcoming their trauma. The comprehensive background information and simple-to-follow techniques secure the book a spot on the shelf for all distinguished self-help books.

Deborah A. Lee, DClinPsy, is a clinical psychologist and the head of a nation-wide center for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in Berkshire, UK where she spearheaded the use of compassion-focused therapy.

Sophie James is a lawyer and writer with a specific interest in self-help books that allow clinical psychology teachings to become more available to the general population.

Olivia Clancy studies applied psychology with a focus in children and adolescents at New York University where she is expected to graduate in May 2020. Having always had an interest in clinical psychology, her research interests include eating disorders, mindfulness practices and the intersection of the two.