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Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions 0 V. McGaha Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Book Being Reviewed: Wilson, B. (1953). Twelve steps and twelve traditions. New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. Reviewer: Valerie McGaha Genre: Self-Help, Spirituality Subject Headings: Anger, Anxiety Disorders, Codependency, Communication, Depression, Family Dynamics, Grief & Loss, PTSD, Relationships, Self-Injurious Behavior, Substance Abuse-Alcohol, Substance Abuse-Drugs, Spiritual Journey, Spiritual Practice Review: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was co-founded by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. The steps described in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are spiritual and recovery principles to eliminate the desire to drink and live a healthy life. The 12-Steps of AA are summarized as: Step 1: Admit powerlessness over alcohol. Step 2: Power greater than self can restore sanity. Step 3: Turn will and life over to God. Step 4: Make moral inventory of self. Step 5: Admit to God and others our wrongs. Step 6: God remove character defects. Step 7: God remove shortcomings. Step 8: Make a list of those harmed. Step 9: Make direct amends wherever possible. Step 10: Continue personal inventory of wrongs. Step 11: Continue contact with God. Step 12: Carry the message to others. The twelve-step recovery model of AA is an educational asset for counselors, interns, and clients in addiction recovery. Counselors can enhance the counselor-client relationship by understanding peer recovery support services embedded within the 12-step philosophy. Counselor educators can prepare counseling students by exploring the 12-step focus and Serenity Prayer related to faith development, courage, acceptance, and self-compassion. Clients through the 12-step recovery program learn the value of implementing a moral inventory consisting of unhealthy intrapersonal beliefs and limited interpersonal behaviors. Therefore counselors can address moral character defects associated with regret, shame, guilt, and anger related to addiction experiences. Counselors can create a safe and nurturing counseling environment for clients to identify healthy coping skills and interpersonal relationships.
by V. McGaha
22 hours ago
Wired: The Short Life & Fast Times of John Belushi 0 V. McGaha Wired: The Short Life & Fast Times of John Belushi Book Being Reviewed: Woodward, B. (2012). Wired: The short life & fast times of John Belushi. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster. Reviewers: Valerie McGaha & Jeri McCaslin Genre: Non-Fiction - Adult Subject Headings: Assessment, Career Development, Consultation, Counselor Education, Helping Relationships/Counseling Theory, Marital/Couple/Family Counseling, Professional Identity, Rehabilitation Counseling, Supervision Review: Wired: The Short Life & Fast Times of John Belushi highlights John Belushi as an actor, comedian, and musician. His family of origin consisted of his parents who were Albanian immigrants and three siblings. John, known for comical talent, was discovered during high school for entertaining peers through laughter. During high school, he played the drums in bank and was captain on his football team. After high school graduation, John attended college and earned an associate’s degree. The following year after graduation, John immersed into comedy and actor roles. To cope with life stressors, John developed a drug addiction. After a night of social partying, Belushi died by drug overdose at the age of thirty-three from cocaine and heroin overdose. Wired: The Short Life & Fast Times of John Belushi is an asset to counselors and clients. The study of John Belushi can highlight successes and limitations associated with high performance demand and superstardom stress. Counselor Educators can provide counseling and psychoeducation to individuals, family members, and clients on common stereotypes and misconceptions of drug addiction for comedians and actors. Counselors and clients can discuss Belushi’s unhealthy coping mechanisms leading to drug addiction with intended/unintended consequences. Counselors and clients can explore interpersonal, familial factors and intrapersonal conflict impacted by John’s drug addiction. Counselors and clients can also explore family-focused addiction intervention strategies for recovery maintenance. Lastly, counselors can provide effective grief counseling tools for family members impacted by drug addiction and overdose death.
by V. McGaha
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino's Masterpiece 0 V. McGaha Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino's Masterpiece Book Being Reviewed: Bailey, J. (2013). Pulp fiction: The complete story of Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece. McGregor, MN: Voyageur Press. Reviewer: Valerie McGaha Genre: Non-Fiction - Adult, Memoir/Biography Subject Headings: Anger, Anxiety Disorders, Communication, Crime, Depression, Family Dynamics, Grief & Loss, Relationships, Substance Abuse-Alcohol, Substance Abuse-Drugs, Violence-Assault Review: Vincent Vega, age 57, is one of the protagonists of the movie, Pulp Fiction, and this subsequent book about it. He is characterized as a “hit man” with a history of substance use. Vincent consumed marijuana, tobacco, alcohol, and heroin intravenously. Due to drug-related activities, he was shot multiple times and has endured arrests and jail ordeals. Educationally, Vincent graduated from high school; however, he identified academic struggle, poor attendance, and suspension during his junior and senior years. As an adult, he was immersed into the gangster lifestyle with powerful and well-known miscreants; thus, becoming a “hit man.” Vincent identified his upbringing with separated parents, alcohol use, and psychological disorders. He experienced anxiety, depression, and medical injuries associated with drug-use and violence. Vincent sought several recovery treatment programs to enhance his emotional, mental, and physical health. Vincent's story in Pulp Fiction: The Complete Story of Quentin Tarantino's Masterpiece is an educational asset for counselors, teens, and parents to address the reality of academic decline, school truancy, drug and alcohol usage, traumatic family relationships, and negative peer involvement. Counselors can examine Vincent’s former and current circumstances when completing a psychosocial, drug assessment. Vincent has many experiences that need the focus on resilience as grief, sadness, anger, and regret may increase. Counselors can examine Vincent’s protective factors with the plan of continued health and drug recovery. Vincent’s dangerous employment as “hit man” may have detrimental consequences towards recovery and health; therefore, a safety plan is needed. Lastly, counselors can explore Vincent’s emotional and cognitive triggers that sabotage healthy behaviors.
by V. McGaha
Thursday, July 25, 2019
The Crippled Lamb 0 V. McGaha The Crippled Lamb Book Being Reviewed: Lucado, M., & Bonham, L. (1994). The crippled lamb. Dallas, TX: Tommy Nelson. Reviewer: Valerie McGaha Genre: Fiction-Children (5 years old and up) Subject Headings: Friendships Review: The Crippled Lamb is an encouraging story on “differentness.” Joshua, a small lamb, was different from the other lambs. He was white with black spots and black feet, limited in the ability to run and jump due to a limp. As a result of his “differentness,” Joshua’s peers would comment (“you’re too slow”) and isolate from him. Abigail, a cow, befriended Joshua and they spent considerable time together. Abigail provided encouragement to Joshua, reminding him of the “special place” for isolated lambs. One day, Joshua’s “special place” was revealed when a woman had a baby in a darkened stable. Cold without clothing and crying, the baby received comfort and warmth from Joshua’s wool.  Ultimately, Joshua realized his “differentness” aided in the birth and protection of baby Jesus.  The Crippled Lamb can be utilized in counseling when working with youth to strengthen resilient, intrapersonal, and interpersonal skills. Counselors can utilize this book to educate on social isolation and peer conflict. The focus of The Crippled Lamb for youth can reduce loneliness and enable cooperative learning and inclusive activities. In addition, this book can enhance self-esteem and higher aspirations for children with disabilities. Youth can identify positive ways to view cognitive and physical disabilities. Josh eventually understood the strengths of his physical limitation and physical impairment. Joshua can empower youth to explore their unique challenges and strengths. Lastly, exploring Joshua and Abigail’s relationship can provide deeper insight and appreciation of friendship and kindness. Improved social relationships for youth with disabilities can reduce psycho-emotional stress. 
by V. McGaha
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Daphne the Diamond Fairy and the Catwalk Catastrophe 0 V. McGaha Daphne the Diamond Fairy and the Catwalk Catastrophe Book Being Reviewed: Creese, S., & Ede, L. (2016). Daphne the diamond fairy and the catwalk catastrophe. Nashville, TN: Make Believe Ideas.  Reviewer: Valerie McGaha Genre: Fiction-Children (5 years old and up) Subject Headings: Friendships, Bullying Review: Daphne the Diamond Fairy and the Catwalk Catastrophe is an interactive and engaging children’s book of detailed illustrations and drawings. This interactive book began with pictures of Daphne’s stylish boutique of demure and opulent dresses, hats, and shoes. Daphne’s dresses are individually made and stitched with sparkling diamonds. Due to her creativity, diligent work, and beautiful designs, Daphne received a special invitation to make six dresses for Queenie Quartz’s fashion show. Daphne included her friends to model her beautiful dresses. Seeing her friend’s beauty, Daphne became jealous and eliminated her friends. She decided to model each dress. Overwhelmed with a huge task, Daphne made amends to her friends. Despite being disappointed and hurt, her friends forgave her and helped her win.  Daphne the Diamond Fairy and the Catwalk Catastrophe can be utilized in counseling to help explore friendship and social relationship development and maintenance. Daphne’s supportive friendships were sabotaged by her emotional jealousy causing cognitive distortion and emotional dysregulation (“They’ll look better on me than you”). Counselors can explore the effects of isolation and emotional harm that occurred and examine Daphne’s complex task and greater likelihood of failure without her friends support. Clients can explore the healing power of apology needed to restore harmonious relationships as Daphne stated “I know now I was wrong, I’m sorry for being selfish.” Lastly, counselors can highlight the positive effects of forgiveness (“the things that sparkled most of all was the friendship that they shared”). 
by V. McGaha
Wednesday, November 7, 2018
Norma No Friends 0 C. McNaught Norma No Friends Book Being Reviewed: Metcalf, P. (1999). Norma no friends. Brooklyn, NY: Barefoot Books. Reviewer: Chris McNaught Genre: Fiction-Children (0-9 years old), Fiction-Children (10-12 years old) Subject Headings: Elementary School, Middle School Review: Norma No Friends is a children’s book about a girl named Norma. She’s shy about her middle name, “No.” Norma considers herself the loneliest person in the world. On her birthday, full of sadness, Norma goes the hill that helps her feel better, and meets another girl: Nelly No Friends. They played and talked and became friends. Norma changed her middle name to Rhododendron, and Nelly changed her middle name to Rose. Now, they live next to each other and the sign reads, “Norma + Nelly R. Friends.” Every child goes through times in life when they believe they are alone, have no friends, and that no one would ever want to be their friend. Norma normalizes the thoughts for children, which is further normalized by Nelly. Lots of people feel unlikeable. And then the two girls with no friends discover each other. They start doing things friends do, like saying, “Hello.” The message is that actions can improve circumstances. Norma takes control of her world by leaving the house, going to the hill, and greeting Nelly. Had either of them stayed home, they would not have met. They were both searching and through action, they found each other. This book would be good for any counselor working with children, from pre-k/kindergarten through early adolescence.
by C. McNaught
Thursday, July 5, 2018
The Big Box 0 C. McNaught The Big Box Book Being Reviewed: Morrison, T., & Morrison, S. (1999). The big box. New York, NY: Hyperion Books for Children/Jump at the Sun. Reviewer: Chris McNaught Genre: Fiction-Adult, Fiction-Children (0-9 years old), Fiction-Children (10-12 years old), Fiction-Young Adult (13-18 years old) Subject Headings: Communication, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Family Dynamics Review: The Big Box is a book about three children who can’t handle their freedom - according to the adults in their lives. Patty had too much fun in school, so the teachers sent her to the big box. Mickey had too much fun in the streets, so the tenants sent him to the big box. Liza had too much fun in the fields all day, so the neighbors sent her to the big box. The adults gave the kids everything they thought kids would need to be happy. But they were too nervous to give the kids their freedom. This book is about all the rules in the world, established by grownups and forced on children. The story could be used for two groups: children and adults. Despite all the rules and restrictions, the children in the story understand the meaning of freedom. They are kids and know best how to be kids. And yet, kids still need some rules. The children in the story point out examples of how they are following the rules. This story could be used in family counseling to spark a discussion about rules and freedom. Where is the line between sufficient rules to keep children safe, and excessive rules that stifle a child’s growth? If the family’s job is to train children to be independent, how do rules and freedom promote that goal?
by C. McNaught
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
Zen Ties 0 C. McNaught Zen Ties Book Being Reviewed: Muth, J. (2008). Zen ties. New York: Scholastic Press. Reviewer: Chris McNaught Genre: Fiction-Adult, Fiction-Children (0-9 years old), Fiction-Children (10-12 years old), Fiction-Young Adult (13-18 years old) Subject Headings: Aging, Anxiety Disorders, Elementary School, Middle School, High School Review: Zen Ties is a story about Stillwater, the giant panda, and his nephew Koo. When Koo comes to visit, Stillwater greets him, “Hi, Koo.” Koo speaks in haiku throughout the book. Michael, the oldest of three sibling neighbors, is nervous about participating in a spelling bee. Stillwater takes Michael, Addy, Karl and Koo to Miss Whitaker’s house to help her. She’s old and the children think she’s mean and grumpy. By helping Miss Whitaker, the children learn how kind she is. And Miss Whitaker, a former school teacher, helps Michael study for the spelling bee. She helps the children and the children help her. Zen Ties is a story that demonstrates both our interconnectedness, and the joy that comes from helping other people. For clients who are struggling to find meaning in life, or joy in daily activities, this book is an example of how giving and helping raises one’s own mood and outlook. By giving of themselves, the children receive a new friend. By allowing the children to come in her house to help her, Miss Whitaker receives several new friends and a renewed smile on her face.
by C. McNaught
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
​Old Turtle and the Broken Truth 0 C. McNaught Old Turtle and the Broken Truth Book Being Reviewed: Wood, D., & Muth, J. (2003). Old Turtle and the broken truth. New York: Scholastic Press. Reviewer: Chris McNaught Genre: Fiction-Adult, Fiction-Children (10-12 years old), Fiction-Young Adult (13-18 years old) Subject Headings: Multicultural/Cross-Cultural Issues, Relationships, Spiritual Journey Review: Old Turtle and the Broken Truth is a parable about reverence for the world. A truth, in the form of a shiny rock, falls to earth and breaks apart. The animals who find the truth recognize that it is not a whole truth so they leave it behind and search for a whole one. Then a human found the truth, which said, “You are loved.” He shared it with his people. They all cherished the truth. The people believed the truth and began to fear and hate those who did not share their truth. The people who did not possess the truth were jealous and began wars to gain the truth. One little girl comes to the Old Turtle to discover if the world can be saved. He tells her that although the truth is beautiful, it is also broken and incomplete. Old Turtle gave the girl a beautiful stone to take back to her people. He had saved it a very long time. When she returned home, the people did not recognize her and did not understand her message. She took the stone Old Turtle had given her and added it to the broken truth. The two were a perfect fit because together the message was, “You are loved and so are they.” Old Turtle and the Broken Truth can be utilized to impart that partial truth or broken truth is not truth at all. Sometimes clients come to counseling because the truth they see is broken. They have looked at their own beautiful truth as if it were complete without recognizing the missing piece. They can only see a small part of the truth; missing the truth that is around them every day. Through exploration of the truth and recognition that something is missing, clients can change their perspective on their world, incorporate the missing pieces of truth and develop a better understanding of their world. This book could be used with clients to prompt discussion about the truths they believe. It could also be used in counselor training to help developing counselors understand their role in the therapeutic relationship. Old Turtle waits until the people (the girl) are ready to hear the rest of the truth. Counselors must also wait until the client is ready.
by C. McNaught
Friday, March 9, 2018
The Dot 0 C. McNaught The Dot Book Being Reviewed: Reynolds, P. (2003). The dot. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press. Reviewer: Chris McNaught Genre: Fiction -Adult, Fiction-Children (0-9 years old), Fiction-Children (10-12 years old), Fiction-Young Adult (13-18 years old) Subject Headings: Elementary School, Middle School, High School Review: The Dot (also available in Spanish, titled, “El Punto”) is a children’s book about Vashti and the art teacher who recognizes and encourages the potential in Vashti. Unable to draw anything, Vashti’s paper sat blank on her desk. With the art teacher’s encouraging, “Just make a mark and see where it takes you,” Vashti puts a single dot on the page. After careful examination, the teacher asks Vashti to sign her work. The next day her artwork is framed and hanging on the wall. Vashti begins to make more dots of different colors and sizes. Her many dots are displayed in the art show. A younger boy expresses a wish that he could draw. “I can’t even make a straight line.” Vashti encourages him, he draws a line, she examines the work, then asks him to sign it. The Dot could certainly be used with any child who thinks they have no talent (which is all children at some point). Vashti’s talent was merely undiscovered. Once she started, with the simple act of a single mark, her creativity began to flow, released from the prison of her self-doubt. This story could also be used for adults who interact with children. Although Vashti’s talent is there all along, it took the vision of the teacher to bring it out. The teacher recognized her potential, encouraged her to explore and try something new. Adults often just need to be reminded of the positive influence they can be in a child’s life. But the story can also be used for someone who thinks they have no impact on their world. The teacher’s strength is transferred to another (Vashti) who then passes that encouragement on to another. The teacher’s influence moved beyond her immediate impact. People who feel helpless and hopeless can be reminded that they too have influence beyond what they can immediately perceive.
by C. McNaught
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Sheila Rae, the Brave 0 C. McNaught Sheila Rae, the Brave Book Being Reviewed: Henkes, K. (1987). Sheila Rae, the brave. New York: Greenwillow Books. Reviewer: Chris McNaught Genre: Fiction-Children (0-9 years old), Fiction-Children (10-12 years old), Fiction-Young Adult (13-18 years old) Subject Headings: Elementary School, Family Dynamics Review: Sheila Rae, the Brave is a children’s book about a mouse named Sheila Rae and her little sister Louise. Sheila Rae wasn’t afraid of anything: not the dark, not thunder and lightning, not big dogs, not even the principal. One day, Sheila Rae wanted to walk home from school a new way. Louise was scared but not Sheila Rae. Sheila Rae was brave as they walked and walked, until she noticed that nothing looked familiar. They were lost - at least that’s what Sheila Rae thought. But Louise knew better. “I know the way home.” When they got home, Sheila Rae said, “Louise, you are brave.” Sheila Rae and Louise demonstrate that bravery and courage are not the same for everyone. Each of them showed their courage and confidence in different ways. Together they were able to accomplish things that they might not have been able to individually. This story also demonstrates the power of small successes. Louise didn’t think she was brave, until Sheila Rae needed her. Louise’s knowledge of how to get home didn’t seem like a big deal to her, but it was a big deal to Sheila Rae. Experiencing that success gave her the courage to do many of the things she used to think were too scary, things that only Sheila Rae would do. There are also opportunities for safety discussions in this story. Sheila Rae does some reckless things (no helmet, riding with her eyes closed, etc.). These could easily be incorporated into classroom lessons, small group lessons, or even individual sessions with children.
by C. McNaught
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
Yoko Writes Her Name 0 K. Johnston-Moschak Yoko Writes Her Name Book Being Reviewed: Wells, R. (2008). Yoko writes her name. New York: Hyperion Books for Children. Reviewer: Kathryn Johnston-Moschak Genre: Fiction-Children (0-9 years old) Subject Headings: Diversity/Multiculturalism/Social Justice, Human Development Review: Yoko is so excited to start Kindergarten, especially because she has just learned to write her name! However, when Yoko proudly shows her classmates her name, written in Japanese, she is ridiculed and taunted for only being able to scribble. The teasing continues at Yoko also introduces her class to her favorite book and reads it from back to front. Although Yoko’s classmates Olive and Sylvia insist she will not pass Kindergarten since she doesn’t know how to write or read a book properly, with the help of Yoko’s teacher she teaches her classmates to appreciate her culture and soon they are all writing in their “secret language”-Japanese! This text deals with the themes of diversity and acceptance and would be useful in a counseling or classroom session with early elementary aged students. This text would be a great way to help ease foreign students or English language learners into the classroom by helping students understand that friendship can be the key to bridging cultural differences and that learning about each other can be a rewarding experience. This text also promotes the attitude of helping others, which is necessary for a positive classroom atmosphere, by focusing on the students’ willingness to teach Yoko the English alphabet, and Yoko’s willingness to teach her classmates about the Japanese language. The book is a good reminder that differences are meant to be celebrated and we can learn a lot from each other if we are open to that diversity.
by K. Johnston-Moschak
Wednesday, January 10, 2018
The Big Blue Spot 0 C. McNaught The Big Blue Spot Book Being Reviewed: Holwitz, P. (2003). The big blue spot. New York: Philomel Books. Reviewer: Chris McNaught Genre: Fiction-Adult, Fiction-Children (0-9 years old), Fiction-Children (10-12 years old), Fiction-Young Adult (13-18 years old) Subject Headings: Elementary School, Family Dynamics, High School, Middle School, Multicultural/Cross-Cultural Issues Review: The Big Blue Spot is a book/poem about a blue spot in search of a friend. The spot interacts with the reader, looking and talking and responding. In the end, the blue spot finds a yellow spot and where they overlap, they make green. Although a simple story, The Big Blue Spot has some deeper themes. Everyone wants a friend, and to belong. Belonging is one of the five pillars of reality therapy. This story demonstrates in a simple progression, the search for another. As long as the blue spot stays put, it will never find a friend. Only by moving forward, through the book, does the spot find a friend. The story also demonstrates how two people, in this case blue and yellow, can combine to create something new (green). Neither of them loses their own identity. Instead, in a Venn-diagram like drawing, their commonalities overlap adding a new color to each of them. By celebrating the diversity of each other, and the commonality of each other, the two can become united.
by C. McNaught
Thursday, January 4, 2018
The Gifts of Imperfection 0 T. Sapp The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of What People Think You're Supposed To Be and Embrace Who You Are Book Being Reviewed: Brown, B. (2010). The gifts of imperfection: Let go of what people think you're supposed to be and embrace who you are. Center City, MN: Hazelden Publishing. Reviewer: Tanisha Sapp Genre: Self-Help Subject Headings: Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Family Dynamics Review: The Gifts of Imperfection is geared toward individuals who have difficulty with self-esteem, self-worth, and personal fatigue. In this book, Brené Brown walks us through her world of shame and resilience and teaches the reader that you are enough. Throughout the book, Brown shares her own stories and anecdotes surrounding imperfection, courage, shame, and simply being enough. She teaches the rules of engagement and how shame keeps us from accessing our full potential. The object of the book is to get the reader to let go of what others think you are supposed to be and embrace who you are. By the end of the book, Brown leaves you feeling, vibrant, energized, and full of purpose. This book is a sure way to unlock your full potential. This book is a useful resource to encourage others who have difficulties with perfectionism, obsessive disorders, and low self-worth. This book is good for individuals who are ready for change and just need a little push to believe in him or herself. This book is available in print, audio, and MP3 to suit any reading level. Counselors can use this book as a resource for individuals and psychoeducational groups.
by T. Sapp
Thursday, January 4, 2018
A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive 0 N. Barton A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to SurviveBook Being Reviewed:Pelzer, D. (1995). A child called "it": One child's courage to survive. Deerfield Beach, FL: Health Communications, Inc. Reviewer:Najah BartonGenre:Memoir/BiographySubject Headings:Family Dynamics, Heath/Wellness, Relationships, Trauma, Violence-Assault, Violence-DomesticReview:A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive is a memoir by David Pelzer in which he describes his horrendous childhood filled with abuse and neglect. One of five children, David became the subject of his mother’s abuse from a young age. Raised in a dual parented home, the author described in grueling details the events that took place as he was enslaved by his mother, while his brothers and father condoned and/or contributed to the psychological, emotional, and physical abuse. Appearing to be a seemingly happy and content family on the outside, within the home alcoholism, sadistic behavior, arguments and segregation created a depressing environment for the author. Only after the school nurse, principal and an after school teacher reported the documented incidents to the local authorities was the author freed from the encapsulated hell. The experiences of David are ones that all too many children know very well. Childhood abuse is a healthcare epidemic that is faced by many children. Counselors can used this book for self-knowledge, as it serves to educate clinical professionals on the escalating patterns of abusive behaviors. Used in clinical application, the text could serve to aid childhood abuse survivors with processing their experiences. Additionally, the text can be used as an educational tool for use amongst the batterer population to teach about the effects of childhood abuse on children into adulthood. As the text is very descriptive, it is cautioned that counselors use the book in the course of therapy when clinically appropriate and after a strong therapeutic alliance is built.
by N. Barton
Friday, August 7, 2015
A Terrible Thing Happened 0 K. Dunbar Davison A Terrible Thing HappenedBook Being Reviewed:Holmes, M. M. (2000). A terrible thing happened. Washington, DC: Magination Press.Reviewer:Kelly Dunbar DavisonGenre:Fiction - Children (0-9 years old)Subject Headings:Anger Elementary school traumaReview:A Terrible Thing Happened is about a raccoon named Sherman who has witnessed a traumatic event. As a result, he experiences feelings of anger, fear, nervousness, upset stomach, and sleeplessness. Additionally, he begins to exhibit behavioral issues at school and is sent to see the school counselor, Ms. Maple. Sherman and Ms. Maple work together using traditional talk therapy and expressive arts techniques. Through their work, Sherman begins to express and understand his thoughts and feelings. His behavior improves and his sense of security and stability increases.This children’s book can be used by counselors who are working with children who have witnessed violence or a traumatic event, including, but not limited to, domestic abuse, school violence, homicide, and natural disasters. This book is written in a way that allows children to project their experiences onto Sherman. Counselors may find this helpful as it can provide a starting point for talking about their client’s experiences. This book mentions that encouraging children to talk about what they have witnessed can reduce the likelihood that they themselves will perpetuate violent acts in the future. Additional resources are provided for counselors and parents that offer suggestions for helping children heal from experiencing trauma. These resources include a bibliography of additional publications on specific childhood traumatic events and tips for talking to children about trauma. This book may also provide children with a basic idea of what they can expect if they meet with a counselor. Counselors can recommend this book to parents and caregivers to help them learn positive ways to respond to children who have witnessed trauma. Overall, A Terrible Thing Happened can be a great resource for counselors who use bibliotherapy in their work with children. Learning about Sherman’s experiences can help normalize feelings and give children the language they need to communicate their own experience.
by K. Dunbar Davison
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Wemberly Worried 0 H. Stulmaker Wemberly WorriedBook Being Reviewed:Henkes, K. (2000). Wemberly Worried. Hong Kong, China: Greenwillow Books.Reviewer:Hayley StulmakerGenre:Fiction - Children (0-9 years old)Subject Headings:Anxiety disordersReview:Wemberly Worried is a children’s book about a mouse, Wemberly, who is worried about everything. Wemberly worries about going to bed at night, spilling her drink, and being sucked into the drain in the bathtub. She worries all day, every day, and is told by everyone she knows that she worries too much. She is especially worried about going to school, and seems to feel alone in her worry until she meets a friend at school who worries as well.This children’s book can be recommended to parents to read to their children who seem to be anxious or overly worried. The book normalizes worrying for children, allowing them to not feel as alone in their worry. It also shows how knowing other people who worry and really understand their worry can be healing. Parents who read this book to their children can use it as a way to open up conversations regarding their worries, and find ways to help children feel understood and potentially help problem solve with some of the worries. Counselors can use this book during parenting sessions or parent consultations when working with parents of anxious children. Counselors can role-play with parents to help them figure out how to read this book to their children and help their children process their anxiety. Counselors can respond as the child, allowing parents to practice developmentally appropriate ways of addressing their child’s anxiety.
by H. Stulmaker
Thursday, September 25, 2014
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings 0 H. Dehner I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Book Being Reviewed:Angelou, M. (1970). I know why the caged bird sings. New York, NY: Random House.Reviewer:Holly DehnerGenre:Memoir/BiographySubject Headings:Family dynamics, Racial/ethnic identity, Relationships, Sexual abuse, SexualityReview:Chapter by chapter, Angelou guides the reader through her childhood from her preschool years to the unexpected pregnancy at age sixteen that pushed her into the adult world of the 1940's. The narrative ranges from the cotton fields of the South to the gangster-style subculture of St. Louis, from the emotional juggling to balance the conflicting relationships between her mother, father, grandmothers, and various step-parents, and all the varieties of cultural expectations hidden within those relationships. Angelou concludes this candid journey with the emergence of her sexual identity and the consequences of her impulsive explorations. Angelou's personal history offers many opportunities to reflect on a reader's own socio-cultural development. Finding her own identity among the multiple familial expectations, her reflections of coping with her black heritage, and surviving the trauma of sexual assault at age nine may evoke a transferred identification for those whose own lives have been marked by similar events, and enable a counselor to initiate therapeutic conversations into those areas. The overall sequence of life events highlights circumstances where decisions are made out of necessity, even when outcomes may be unpredictable. One cautionary note: Angelou's perceptions of lesbianism in the last two chapters may be problematic, but her words are a reflection of the misunderstandings of that era.Originally posted on 01/02/2013 at csi-net.org
by H. Dehner
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Dex the Heart of a Hero 0 R. Ralston Dex the Heart of a HeroBook Being Reviewed:Buehner, C. (2009). Dex the heart of a hero. New York, NY: HarperCollins.Reviewer:Ruth RalstonGenre:Fiction-Children (0-9 years old) Subject Headings:Elementary schoolReview:Dex The Heart of a Hero, by Caralyn Buehner, is the story of a little dog that is picked on by a tomcat named Cleevis, about his size. His big dream is to be a superhero and he decides that is just what he is going to do. He reads all that he can about being a superhero and starts training to be big and strong like one too. Soon, Dexter gets big and strong and starts helping out all around town, complete with superhero outfit and cape! Not long after, all the dogs run to Dexter to ask for his help in getting Cleevis down from a tree. Dexter is able to get him down safely, and in turn, Cleevis not only stops bullying Dexter, he also asks to be his side kick.  This children's book is best suited for elementary school children. In using this book, school counselors can instill two main lessons; the first that you should not let others stand in the way of you accomplishing your dreams and the second being no matter how little you are, you can do big things. Dexter could have let Cleevis's bullying and his size get him down and make him believe that he could not accomplish his dreams, but instead he persevered and made his dreams come true.Originally posted on 01/02/2013 at csi-net.org
by R. Ralston
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Hatchet 0 S. Gotay HatchetBook Being Reviewed:Paulsen, G. (1987). Hatchet. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.Reviewer:Stephanie Gotay Genre:Fiction-Young Adult (12-18 years old) Subject Headings:Family dynamics Review:Hatchet is the adventurous survival tale of 13 year-old Brian who is struggling with anger and hatred in the aftermath of his parents’ recent divorce. An unfortunate twist of fate lands Brian in the wilderness with limited resources. In his struggle to survive alone, he must consider unfamiliar options and potential outcomes in order to find workable solutions. Through many challenging events, Brian discovers his own courage, strength, and determination which were previously unknown to him. This book is recommended for readers age 10 and up who enjoy the thrill of action tales. Although the character’s struggle is based on both personal survival and a family fractured by divorce, the story offers a metaphor for a variety of adolescent life struggles which require decision making, change, and personal empowerment to overcome difficult situations. The character’s struggles parallel those of adolescents attempting to reunify with families following separation and for youth attempting to alter patterns of maladaptive behavior such as gang affiliation, drug use, and aggression. The book is best used as homework which can be processed during therapy sessions. Some printings of this book include a helpful reader’s guide which identifies key points for discussion. The story offers a thought provoking catalyst to utilize with clients when developing survival kits to face their own personal challenges. It should be noted, the book contains two moral dilemmas which may be difficult for some clients; one involves decisions regarding the use of a gun, and the other pertains to adultery.Originally posted on 10/15/2012 at csi-net.org
by S. Gotay
Wednesday, September 24, 2014
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