–by Laura Dennis

Therapist and author Hilary Jacobs Hendel has blogged for ATN several times this past year, including popular posts such as “Head, Heart, Repeat” and “What Mad Men and Don Draper Taught Us about Power and Shame”. She is also the author of “It’s Not Always Depression” and “The Healing Power of Hugs” in the New York Times, and now of an exciting new book, It’s Not Always Depression.

In this “non-toxic prescription for wellness,” Hilary describes the role the core emotions play in our lives, the ways we feel them in our bodies, and the profound need our society has for what she aptly calls an “emotional education.” We have a lot of head knowledge, she says, but few of us are aware of all that goes on from the neck down. Her aim is to change all that, not only in her therapy practice, but also in this book.

The author describes It’s Not Always Depression as a science-based yet jargon-free, reader-friendly work, directed at lay readers and therapists alike. Using the AEDP (Accelerated Experiential Dynamic Psychotherapy) model pioneered by Diana Fosha, who also wrote the book’s forward, and the Change Triangle, the book interweaves the author’s personal story with stories from the many clients she has helped over the years. Each section concludes with exercises the reader can try at home…and having talked with her myself, I think she means it when she says “exercise!” Remember, we already live too much inside our heads…

While It’s Not Always Depression does not target the attachment and therapeutic parenting communities in particular, it does address the deep and lasting impact of childhood trauma in people’s lives. Perhaps the biggest significance for our particular community will be the tools it offers parents and children. This book proposes safe ways to vent feelings, but truly to work through them. If we can re-connect with ourselves, we’ll be better equipped to connect with each other. Isn’t that the goal?

It’s Not Depression goes on sale today. Find it at Random House, Powell’sAmazon, Barnes and Noble, or your bookseller of choice. I know I’m putting it at the top of my TBR pile, and when I’m done, I’ll be back to share more. Happy reading!