The galleys of the book are here!! My book, Journey Through Trauma will be released February of 2018 and I wanted to share with you my excitement about it’s coming debut and a bit about how it came to be.
For all the years that I knew her, my grandmother had a yellowed sheet of paper hanging on her refrigerator with the famous quote from Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” And this book is a result of many groups that I have been a part of—and you, my readers are part of an important group that brought this book to life.
Writing a book about healing from trauma and actually healing from trauma share a very important mantra: never give up. And my motivation for writing this book about healing from trauma was above all—that I had watched people who were very hurt, who had lived through trauma give up. Give up on treatment, give up on relationships, give up on work—and most of all, give up on themselves. For most of my early career I worked with kids and families in the communities in and around Boston—and I watched trauma be passed on from generation to generation. Grandparents who passed it on to the parents who passed it on to their kids. This intergenerational trauma could feel endless and hopeless. I wished that I could find a way to stop all of this trauma--stop it from impacting future generations, and stop it from robbing families and communities of the healthy people they needed. After 15 years, I expanded my work from psychotherapy to consulting and had the opportunity to work on a leadership program in Cambodia with men and women who had lived through the Khmer Rouge and who were working to heal from it—and rebuild their communities and their country. And once again I saw how hard it was to heal from trauma and yet how important it is to understand how trauma impacts your current behavior so that you have an opportunity to work with it and you can understand why healing from it is so difficult and so important.
And at some point the work I was doing as a therapist, and the work I was doing as a consultant in post-conflict countries began to combine with the work I was doing in healing from my own trauma and I began to look at what the process of healing entailed—I began to observe common patterns, stages, processes in all the places where I was working with trauma.
In 2005 on a consulting trip to Italy, I walked around Venice which has shops with beautiful marbled paper—and I bought a small, marbled notebook and took it back to the hotel—and sitting at the bar eating dinner I began to try to make some notes about what I thought the pieces of the trauma puzzle were. I boldly titled the notebook “On Integration” and once I began to make notes, there was really no going back. I had started a book. The book began the way healing begins—you have an inkling of something bigger and you start—and you start with small, fragmented pieces. The early years of the book were about writing notes and observations. Trying to translate the experiences I was having as a therapist, consultant and therapy client. Trying to map the trail I was traveling in all of the domains. The later years of writing were trying to craft these fragments into chapters.
There were many years of writing where it didn’t look like anything at all, let alone a book. And despite its slow progress and the difficulty of weaving it all together, I never gave up. And I never stopped believing that it could become a book. I never gave up because I believed that having a trail guide to trauma would help more people stay on the trail so they heal their trauma and get their lives back, and giving up on the book would be giving up on them. And, I never gave up because I believed that this trail guide would help people NOT pass their trauma on to their kids. But working only during my breaks wasn’t allowing me to finish, so in 2013 I took four months from my work schedule and dedicated it to finishing the manuscript.
But a finished manuscript is not the end of the journey for a book. It’s barely a beginning. Because in order to get published you need to find an agent and a publisher—and that’s where all of you become part of the story of this book. I did what I was told to do—I wrote letters to agents, and waited patiently for their replies, but that is a slow and difficult process with many moments of both hope and rejection. So while I was patiently waiting I did the next thing that everyone tells you to do: write a blog. I didn’t believe writing a blog would actually do anything, but I loved to write and it was a way to begin getting my trauma information and parenting information out to people. And In June of 2015 I wrote a post entitled “The Letter Your Teenager Can’t Write You” which went wildly viral—over 2 million hits as of this writing and it continues to circle the globe (and has been translated into French, Spanish, Greek, Russian and Italian). There was one week in July of 2015 where my blog post was getting shared 48,000 times a day. And from that sharing an editor found the blog piece on her FaceBook page, passed my work on to agent, Ellen Geiger—who happily took me on, and she worked with me to find an editor, Caroline Sutton at Penguin Random House—and my book had found a home! Thanks to all of you—and many more who supported me on this long and wonderful journey.
Preorders for the book are available by clicking HERE. As a pre-order offer, for the first 150 people--if you take a screen shot of your completed order and email your screenshot to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with a mailing address, I will send you a handwritten note to put in your book when you get it.