This is a great book for anyone who has experienced trauma, is a caregiver (of any kind, personally or professionally), or who is a student of the human story.
The author chronicles how secondary trauma exposure is real – and is has profound effects on caregivers. She lists the effects (16!) with lots of New Yorker cartoons for levity.
Then she recommends developing a spiritual or other practice – a daily practice – of doing some activity (meditation, walking, cardio for 15-45 minutes) some sort of release mechanism, to restore the body’s balance.
She’s working with concepts that can be hard to describe unless they are experienced, so she uses a lot of great examples about the symptoms of overexposure and how they manifest.
Although I had to read it slowly, I highly recommend this book. I read it slowly because I would have these “WOAH…” moments and need to put it down for a while. It is too easy to retraumatize yourself, trying to push through difficult material. Practice self care while reading this book.
Also, I went to a workshop she offered in Spokane a few weeks ago – it was amazing! Laura has a great sense of humor, and that kept the workshop from getting too bogged down in residual emotional gook. There was lots of wonderful discussion, examples, review of what is in the book, and more.
The Trauma Stewardship Institute website is here, and the book is worth buying and reading.