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Getting Past Your Past    by Francine Shapiro order for
Getting Past Your Past
by Francine Shapiro
Order:  USA  Can
Rodale, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Carrol Wolverton

Dr. Shapiro's main premise is that all of us, no matter how idyllic our childhoods, have negative issues that shape our lives today. Old fears from childhood determine our behaviors and our first reactions. These are further compounded by traumatic events, stress, and coping efforts. No one is exempt. Returning soldiers suffering PSTD have especially hard times, but it does not need to be military men and women. It can be pretty much everyone. Understood or not, our past is our present.

She has developed a therapeutic approach called EMDR (eye movement desensitization reprocessing), which she says is particularly effective with PSTD sufferers. In therapy sessions she brings back what is affecting us, and literally reprocesses it by using eye movements and changing the message. Butterfly hugs help. Well documented, there are charts and procedure lists. It is effective with many disorders, including sexual predators, one of the few therapies that is successful. It works because it seeks out and reprograms the original causes of the behaviors, not the behaviors.

These are not do-it-at-home yourself procedures. I found in reading the book that the old stuff wants to come back. I, too, could use some positive images to replace old negativity. I am not alone.

Although written for everyone, I am not at all sure everyone should or even could read the book. It is a valuable resource, however, for those seeking tools for mental health understanding and treatment. It is truly a new day for mental health, and I congratulate Dr. Shapiro for being an integral part of the modern era. May her foundation be successful.

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