'Knowing How: 20 Concepts to Rewire the Brain' by Julie Valenti
Julie Valenti has organized a number of complex concepts about trauma, 20 to be exact, into a clinically useful and accessible book. She opens the book by briefly explaining her own trauma history and how the 20 concepts were integral for her own growth and healing. Her vulnerability drew me in and brought a resonance to the message of hope that can be found throughout the book.
The 20 concepts are rooted in the principles outlined in the book ‘Trauma Model Therapy’ by Dr. Colin Ross such as ‘the problem is not the problem, the locus of control shift, and attachment to the perpetrator’. Valenti expertly pulls out and builds on the key ideas and provides a concise description of each concept that would be helpful for therapist, clinicians, clients and their loved ones, and really, anyone interested in learning more about complex trauma.
At the end of each of the chapters, there is a list of questions that can be worked through for oneself or with a client to dig deeper into the concepts and provide further contemplation. The questions are thoughtful and challenging. I would love to see a companion workbook in the future where people could dig into the questions with more worksheets. But that’s just me, I love a good list or worksheet to help organize my thoughts!
In her chapter titled, ‘How to Rewire’, Valenti writes about the hard work and repetition that is required for learning and implementing the 20 concepts in one’s life. She underscores that new neural pathways require repeated efforts to rewire the brain to make different choices and have healthier, more balanced thoughts and responses. She ties in the neurobiology of trauma with the 20 concepts throughout. Overall, the book is succinct and can be read in one day but has enough depth to keep you engaged and learning. The busier I get, the more appreciative I am of writers who can synthesize difficult topics and condense them into cogent books. Oh and there’s a nice reading list at the end if you're looking for more book recommendations!
Take care and thanks for reading! - Dana