Trauma, the Body and Transformation: A Narrative Inquiry

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Trauma suffered during childhood can affect not only a person's emotional and mental health, but also their physical health, even into adulthood.

This unique book fills a gap in research in this area, providing personal and theoretical perspectives on trauma and recovery.

The contributors tell powerful stories of traumatic childhood events, including bereavement, abuse and evacuation and separation from parents. They document their reactions to trauma whether through illness, disability, addiction, psychosomatic disorders, self-harming behaviours or dissociation. Each author also shows the pathway they have taken towards transforming their bodies to well-being.

This will be a valuable resource for those who are dealing with the impact of childhood trauma in their own lives; their families and friends whose lives are also touched; workers in the field of trauma, especially medical practitioners who can sometimes feel helpless when faced with patients whose symptoms they cannot understand or heal; and counsellors, psychotherapists and psychologists. This book will also be of value to researchers interested in narrative research methods.

Unsolicited reviews

  • "My wife and I have read your recent book. We found it very informative and interesting, and the case studies very moving. We recognised that you have tackled an area of trauma that is not understood, and consequently little has been written. I guess your book is a breakthrough. Well Done!"

  • "I wanted to say that whilst writing my assignment I read some of your book 'Trauma, the body and transformation'. Your book had moved me to tears."

  • "I didn't get showered and dressed on Saturday until 2.30 p.m. (when my grandchildren arrived), and yesterday (Sunday) it was nearly 4.00 p.m. - I couldn't put the book down until I had finished it! It was disturbing, sad, inspirational, but for me certainly the most gripping aspect of it was the gift of learning that was on every page. I thank you and the other authors for sharing your painful learning with me.

    Each story was so well written - I could only stop to eat or drink or go to the loo at the end of each story. I was so held by each person's story that to put the book down mid-story would have felt abusive and disrespectful.

    I was enlightened and encouraged by the wonderful diversity of their pathways to transformation and at the empowerment of their pathways to transformation but I despaired at times when I thought about how those pained, wounded children and adults had lived for so long with their unbearable hidden hurt. I felt breathless with fear and cried for them (and for me) as they excruciatingly identified the source of their pain. Later in their stories I shed tears at their agony as they worked through their painstaking release from the torments and fears of the past.

    I marvel at the resillience and courage of all the authors who acknowledged and confronted the unhappiness and devastation of their childhood experiences and worked their way through to a healthier self - I'm sure there are happenings in the stories that will resonate for many people as they have done for me.

    I took comfort from the way that, despite or through their pain, all the authors have come to a place of giving without bitterness, where the cycle of pain is not perpetuated, instead they and you offer hope for future generations by the caring, giving work you all do.

    Thank you Kim, (and your fellow authors), the book is wonderful!"

  • "Just a quick note to give you heartfelt thanks for your 2003 book which I discovered two copies of in a suburban library in Brisbane. My wife and a good friend have had various somatisation experiences and a history of child abuse. The narratives and your summary chapters were eye opening and a great help and hope in dealing with recent crises. We later discovered Babette Rothschild books and have also found these as sincere beacons of common sense and directions.

    So many thanks for persevering with the research and the book. May funding agencies perhaps come into the real world!"