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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Laura K. Kerr’s Trauma's Labyrinth: Reflections of a Wounded Healer is her collection of essays on the subject of psychological trauma dating back to 2010. It is written with an imperative to share the effects of violence on the mind, body, and society. She has chosen the title as an apt metaphor for reflecting her personal need for realignments and centering on her well-being. As a practicing psychotherapist and trauma survivor, she also uses her writing to deconstruct, in her own words, the false divide between the wounded and the healer as she has been living on both sides. It benefits the reader because it contains perspectives on reforming mental health services by addressing trauma at the core and the subjectivity of mental illness.
Trauma’s Labyrinth is one of those rare explorations of the role of self-care among counseling professionals, and Laura K. Kerr hits the mark in highlighting the relationship between therapists and their counseling work. With writing as a form of therapeutic release, Kerr develops a greater awareness of her dialectics that she now shares to instigate changes and improvements for the practice. Her perspectives are not merely rhetorical ideas designed to spark intelligent discussion. They encourage a level of exploration necessary to arrive at self-actualization because a well-healed healer is an effective healer. As Kerr acknowledges her bouts with trauma, it becomes a factor in making her become an even better practitioner. Due to the intimate nature of psychotherapy, this anthology of essays raises social and existential issues that Kerr suggests to fill the dictates of the therapeutic approach—something that would benefit both patient and practitioner. It is an energizing and stimulating must-read work on the challenges that encourage patients and counselors to stand together.