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About the Book:
The statistics for the number of people recovering from a trauma are astounding. From 1994 to 2016, 84 million children were treated for abuse, over 4 million for sexual abuse. Domestic violence during the same period affected 30 million women and two million men. And in regards to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the USDVA released a study showing that from 1999 to 2010, roughly 22 veterans were dying by suicide per day, or one every 65 minutes. These numbers are conservative.
In her twenty-five years as a psychologist, Gretchen Schmelzer has watched too many of these traumatized people quit during treatment for trauma recovery. They have found it too difficult or too frightening or just decided that for them it was too late. But as a therapist and trauma survivor herself, Dr. Schmelzer wants us to know that it is never too late to heal from trauma, whether it is the suffering caused within an abusive relationship or PTSD resulting from combat. JOURNEY THROUGH TRAUMA: A Trail Guide to the 5-Phase Cycle of Healing Repeated Trauma by Gretchen Schmelzer, PhD is specifically for survivors–to help them understand the terrain of the healing process and stay on the path to recovery. Sometimes what feels like a big setback is actually an unexpected difficult step forward.
JOURNEY THROUGH TRAUMA gives us a map to help guide survivors and their loved ones through that healing process, see where the hard parts show up, and persevere in the process of getting well. Healing from trauma is not an event or a linear process. It is a series of cycles that spiral through recognizable phases. These are stages the survivor will cycle through again and again as they move toward health and wholeness. Dr. Schmelzer’s method of healing from trauma—the Cycle of Healing Repeated Trauma – is made up of five distinct phases that every survivor must negotiate along the way and come to understand:
- Preparation (getting ready)
- Unintegration (a controlled coming apart)
- Identification (sorting, identifying, and experimenting)
- Integration (weaving the pieces back together)
- Consolidation (solidifying and stabilizing)
From an emotional, cognitive, spiritual, physical, and relational perspective, each phase has its own focus and purpose, as well as its own set of needs to attend to. Each phase requires a different set of skills and capacities from the survivor and their guides or support system. What works well in one phase doesn’t necessarily work well in another phase, which is why one-size-fits-all treatment plans usually don’t work, and why Dr. Schemelzer’s plan is unique. This new method of healing allows the survivor to know where they are in the process, what the work is, what the challenges are, and what they can do to move through the stages gaining the healing and learning they need.
Because the cycle of healing repeated trauma is not linear, the survivor will come to understand that circling back around to a previous stage actually means progress as well as facing new challenges. Ultimately, the healing journey is one of trust as survivors come to trust their capacity to rely on help from others and this book, and to trust themselves and the work they have done.
Authoritative and accessible, JOURNEY THROUGH TRAUMA provides support for survivors and their loved ones through one of the most challenging but necessary processes of healing that anyone can face. As Dr. Schmelzer says, “no one heals alone.”
About the Author:
Gretchen Schmelzer, PhD, is a licensed psychologist, trained as a Harvard Medical School Fellow. She is a trauma survivor who has worked for twenty-five years with the complex issues of trauma, integration, and behavior change across every level, from individuals to groups to large systems and countries. She has worked with individuals and groups in large clinics and clinics in housing projects, in residential treatment facilities, in psychiatric units and medical hospital units, and in private practice. She has more than a decade of experience working with traumatized children and adolescents in residential treatment and psychiatric units. She is the founder and editor of The Trail Guide, a web-mag featured on www.gretchenschmelzer.com dedicated to healing repeated trauma.