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Since Sept 11, the oft-neglected issue of trauma and its aftermath have gained national attention. In this well-researched yet very readable book, Gina Ross makes an invaluable contribution to an issue that affects every one of us, either directly or indirectly.

Ross explains how past traumas haunt and debilitate us in myriad ways, long after the events themselves have passed. She shows us how many of our current problems, from war to poverty, from addiction to child abuse, perpetuate this vicious cycle, as victims become aggressors. Only in understanding the roots of the unconscious, trauma-based behavior, and enacting a healing process using a variety of available methods, can such cycles be broken.

In a particularly provocative insight, Ross points out how trauma workers and journalists are particularly vulnerable, exposed and re-exposed as they are over time, with too little opportunity for support or resolution. As media coverage of an event is repeatedly seen or heard, the audience too may become second-hand victims of often far-away events.

In a unique exploration of the nature and healing of trauma, Gina Ross gives us the tools to shift centuries of human suffering toward a new way of seeing, feeling, and being in the world. The result can be a happier, more productive society, one that perpetuates positive rather than negative cycles, and where altruism overcomes selfishness, respect prevails over abuse, love conquers fear, and the nobler instincts of humankind can truly manifest themselves.

Hyla Cass, MD
Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine; author of St John's Wort: Nature's Blues Buster, and Natural Highs

Gina Ross has produced a must read that illuminates people's ability to constructively understand, recognize and heal their own psychic injuries, traumas that are directly borne or witnessed, and even secondhand trauma. She also alerts us to trauma being a root cause of violence and advises us to look at political conflicts between groups and nations through the trauma lens.

Ross writes about the anguish producing fall-out (or burnout) that can sneak up on media personnel-specifically war correspondents, camera and video personnel and editors-affecting their reporting as well as putting their well-being at stake. Making us aware of what she calls "the trauma vortex," is only her eye opening prelude to "the healing vortex," the inner resources most of us can draw from to move beyond events we might like to lay to rest but are unable to.

I can attest that the "healing vortex" works. During a time of great peril, extreme stress and fear several years ago, I was able to draw on so many of the healing resources Gina has described so accurately in this book. Consider this review an endorsement and a testimonial as well.

Jerry Levin

Former CNN's Middle East bureau chief.

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 2004 International Trauma-Healing Institute