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February 7, 2005

04 Feb
I’ve been very moved by the reactions to Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal . Emails and letters keep coming in, from both trauma survivors and therapists, telling me how much the information was needed.
Greetings, all.

I’ve been very moved by the reactions to Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal . Emails and letters keep coming in, from both trauma survivors and therapists, telling me how much the information was needed. It makes me very happy that I took the 3 years to research and write this thing.

We in the allied mental health fields have been so badly off-base in how we’ve addressed trauma, pushing people to talk about their trauma right from the start of treatment, before self-soothing skills are in place, and, in many cases actually making matters worse instead of better. I look back at the way I approached some of my clients years ago, and I’m filled with chagrin and regret. It was the best we knew at the time, but it was at best unhelpful and at worst, destructive. Happily, there’s no excuse now. The information is out there.

As I point out in the book, this is because the biochemistry of survival actually impedes language and cognition, while pumping up the more primitive parts of the brain that process images, sensations, perceptions, emotions and kinetic movement. THIS is where we need to start - with these mid-brain and brain stem processes - before we can get back to the higher cortical functioning involved in "talking about it". And that’s why imagery is a best practice and treatment of choice for healing posttraumatic stress.

Far too many therapists are still unaware of this, although many have intuitively arrived at this same conclusion on their own, just as I first did, through trial and error. But the book provides the why’s, how’s, when’s and wherefore’s, thanks to some wonderful, recent discoveries in the fields of epidemiology (thank you, Mr. PILOTs database!!), brain scanning technology, biochemistry and clinical discovery.

It’s not surprising that some of the new therapies that have been found to be helpful to trauma survivors - I call them the "alphabet therapies" in the book, for obvious reasons - EMDR, TFT, SE, EFT, TAT, VKD, TIR, IRT, PET, etc - are all imagery-based - a commonality that escapes even some of the creators of these marvelous methods - because it’s so basic and obvious, I guess. Thankfully, there are hundreds and even thousands of cutting edge therapists and counselors who are skilled at these methods, and more.

We got this question last week:
"When will your new book, Invisible Heroes, come out on CD? This is one powerful book and I can really relate to it in such a personal way. I have lost track of the amount of material I have from you that supports my every day. Thank you.."

I can finally answer that I’m at long last done recording that sucker. It took forever (It’s unabridged, so it’s got some serious playing time going on there). Now we need to edit it, do some mixing, and then it will be ready.. hopefully by Spring.

Take care and be well,

Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award