I worked in the human services field for 27 years with individuals who experienced challenges with chemical dependency. Many of those with whom I worked also had co-existing mental health concerns, many of which were precipitated by severe childhood trauma and abuse. I also learned that there were many grief issues that trauma victims experienced ,many of which were due to non- death related losses. There was the loss of childhood dreams, innocence, and faith in the ability of their biological parents to take care of them; keep them safe.
I have read many books on dealing with individuals who have experienced trauma but none which had an impact on me as much as Down The Hallway: The Story of One Woman’s Journey with Dissociative Identity Disorder by Sherry E. Showalter Through Dr. Showalter’s work with Charmaine , we learn that she is beautiful, resilient and authentic. Her willingness and desire to take you down the hallway so that she could uncover the origins of her abuse is testimony to her courage and determination to find peace and clarity. I felt as if I was walking with both Charmaine and Dr. Showalter, down that hallway.This is a book that once you pick up, you will not want to put down . Charmaine’s journey will inspire anyone who has dealt with or is currently dealing with challenging life circumstances.
This is a book that should be required reading for every college student in America who is thinking about going into the human service field and for any professional currently in the field. Dr. Showalter is a gifted, skilled and intuitive therapist who knows how to invite individuals into the process of therapy, create a safe environment , empower them to find their own truth and ultimately take responsibility for their healing. Dr. Showalter also demonstrates the power of creative ,out of the box thinking in working with individuals with challenging histories. She also allows us to see Charmaine as a person with innate gifts, that transcends diagnostic labels,which ultimately may be the greatest teaching in her book .
Dr. Showalter’s book also reinforced my existing beliefs on working with trauma victims. From my experience , if trauma victims feel safe they will do the work. Once empowered, they will take us where they need to go,;all we need to do is bear witness and provide our observations if welcomed. From my experience this also is an approach that works effectively with grieving individuals as well.
I would recommend without reservation adding this book to your Kindle or paperback book collection. Dr. Showalter’s and Charmaine’s teachings will stay with me for the remainder of my life.
Here is the link to the book on Amazon:
Here is also the link to Dr. Showalter’s personal website
Have a safe, fulfilling and prosperous 2014.