The Transformation: Discovering Wholeness and Healing After Trauma by James Gordon, MD
Mental Health | Psychology | Nonfiction
Published by HarperOne
Release Date: September 10, 2019
Goodreads | Amazon
Note: I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinions.
I’ve frequently written about my struggles with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder on this blog, and I always look forward to reviewing books that deal with mental illness. When FSB Associates reached out to me to ask if I’d like to review Dr. James Gordon’s new book, The Transformation, I jumped on the chance. Despite not being familiar with the author’s name, I had definitely heard of his organization, The Center for Mind-Body Medicine.
It took me a while to read through this book, but that was only because the information contained within it was so helpful, and I wanted to try out all of Gordon’s advice. I went through a whole stack of sticky notes annotating this book so that I could come back to it over and over again.
The Transformation is a book meant to help people deal with trauma through methods other than being prescribed antidepressants and other drugs. One thing to note is that Dr. Gordon doesn’t think that medications are bad, in fact, he writes in multiple places that they are useful if needed, but that the techniques in this book can be used before resorting to taking pills.
Of course, the advice and techniques contained in this book can be used if you’re already on various medications, such as I am. Medication only goes so far, and it’s always nice to have other methods for handling the bad symptoms of mental illness.
One aspect of this book that immediately drew me to it was Dr. Gordon’s definition of trauma. Whereas many people think of trauma as something rare, he defines it as something that everyone experiences – from violence and war to losing your loved ones to being fired from a job. It’s this definition that I feel should be the correct one. So many of us can point to at least one traumatic experience in our past that we are still trying to overcome, and as such, The Transformation is a book that I would recommend to everyone.
Within the book, Gordon gives us plenty of examples of how his methods have worked for different groups of people, from survivors of brutal wars, to business people, to first responders, and everyone else.
I’ll admit that I was skeptical at first of some of the advice, particular what he calls “shaking and dancing.” Essentially, this is similar to ecstatic dancing, which I’m familiar with (it was popular when I lived in Asheville) but that I’ve never done. Well, I tried it while reading this book, and let me tell you – it really did help loosen me up when I was stressed and anxious. It left me feeling more energized. My full-time job is at a call center that deals with auto insurance, and it’s the most stressful and demeaning job that I’ve ever had. This past week, I’ve taken to hiding in bathroom stalls when I feel like I’m on my way to having another panic attack in order to “shake things off,” and it has really improved things for me. While it’s not going to solve the fact that my job worsens my mental health or that I have anxiety, it is a useful method for dealing with it in the moment.
Another part of The Transformation that I really appreciated was the chapter on diet and mental health. I’ve always been fascinated by how the foods we eat can influence our mood and mental health, and it’s a section of the book that I will definitely be referencing frequently.
I’m not going to go into detail into every technique that Dr. James Gordon discusses, because I think you should get it directly from the book. What I do want to say is that I am incredibly thankful to the publisher for reaching out to me for a review, because it’s already improving my life. I doubt I would have picked this up otherwise, but I’m so, so happy that I’ve read it.
If there’s any part of your past or present that is causing you stress or anxiety, please find a copy of this book when it’s released on September 10th. Whether you purchase a copy or request a copy from your library, just get it into your hands and read it.