The DBT Solution for Emotional Eating by Debra L. Safer, M.D.

Some years ago, I was the foster parent to a teenager whose adolescence had been filled with abuse by various people, including her father, brother, and even the man who played Santa Claus. Finally, some 25+ years after she left our home, she began working with therapists to deal with the consequences of her upbringing. To this day, she still is wandering in the wilderness of therapy, doing a lot of therapist-shopping and -hopping, and I am still fascinated by the possibilities for treatment and the various options available. In the past year she has begun working with a therapist who specializes in DBT. Because of this and because her issues have manifested in behaviors that include out of control eating I was particularly pleased to receive an advance copy of the new book, The DBT Solution for Emotional Eating, from Guilford Publications and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Dr. Debra Safer is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University Medical Center. After she attended medical school at the University of California, San Francisco she had a residency in psychiatry at Stanford where she worked closely with W. Stewart Agras, MD, and his eating disorders research team. In February 2017, her textbook, Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Binge Eating and Bulimia was released. She wrote this along with three other professionals. This new book, which is scheduled for release in January 2018, was written in conjunction with two other doctors and clearly designed for a general audience.

I admit to having had some confusion between dialectical behavior therapy and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). One outstanding thing about this book is the clear way it explains DBT: “This DBT program for binge eating focuses on the relationship between your feelings and your urges to use food…” And that there are “…three modules or categories of DBT skills: mindfulness emotion regulation and distress tolerance…Central to DBT is that individuals turn to food to self-soothe, numb and avoid emotional discomfort because food “works” temporarily…” And the BFD for me:” Dialectical thinking involves holding two seemingly contradictory viewpoints at the same time by recognizing that there is always more than one way to view a situation more than one way to solve a problem…”and most of all “Don’t confuse dialectical thinking with rationalizing a binge.”…accepting yourself does not require that you approve of where you are or like it.”

There were many other things that resonated with me: “…for their whole lives they’ve been told that they’re “too sensitive”…” and “Hedonic eating …involves an increased appetite drive or preoccupation with highly desirable food even without physical hunger…”

Finally, “Another valuable way to use dialectical thinking involves accepting who you are at this moment while at the same time accepting that you want to change….you are accepting yourself exactly as you are in this moment so you can change…what can be changed is the way you react to your distress and difficult emotions.” POWERFUL STUFF !!

I think this book is terrific. It is extremely straightforward well organized, and readable. It includes very specific skills and strategies for managing emotions without turning to food…and it has such a supportive tone reminding the reader constantly that they are where they are and it isn’t the end of the world if they do binge…but there are ways to work on modifying this behavior. Very highly recommended for anyone who knows the struggles with food and weight management and who wants to be healthy, with a healthy approach to food and nutrition. Five enthusiastic stars. And I hope my former “daughter” will benefit from DBT!

Recovery from Trauma, Addiction, or Both by Lisa M. Najavits, PhD.

Some years ago, I was the foster parent to a teenager whose adolescence had been filled with abuse by various people, including her father, brother, and even the man who played Santa Claus. Finally, some 25+ years after she left our home, she began working with therapists to deal with the consequences of her upbringing. To this day, she still is wandering in the wilderness of therapy, doing a lot of therapist-shopping and -hopping, and I am still fascinated by the possibilities for treatment and the various options available.

Lisa Najavits, a professor of psychiatry at Boston University and adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, is a well-regarded academic who has published widely on the topic of trauma and abuse, and developed the Seeking Safety program of treatment. Thanks to Guildford Publications and Net Galley, I received a copy of her new book, Healing from Trauma, Addiction, or Both in exchange for my honest review.

There is no doubt that Dr. Najavits knows her stuff. She noted “women with current posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) comprise 30-59% of substance abuse treatment samples and experience a more severe course than women with either disorder alone. “ Following clinical studies, she has developed a manual-based 24-session cognitive behavioral group therapy protocol treatment. The results of her studies showed “significant improvements in substance use, trauma-related symptoms, suicide risk, suicidal thoughts, social adjustment, family functioning, problem solving, depression, cognitions about substance use, and didactic knowledge related to the treatment.”

While she has published Seeking Safety: A Treatment Manual for PTSD and Substance Abuse, which is a treatment manual geared toward academic studies and/or professionals, this new book is designed for a general audience, and effectively presents stories of particular sufferers as well as exercises and other practical tools to help sufferers of trauma, addiction, or both to begin to deal with their issues and heal.

I appreciate the presentation, and only wish there had been some information about the “difficult cases” that were mentioned at the end of some chapters. Four stars. I hope my former foster daughter will read this!

 

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica

Cover Kubica Every Last Lie

Mary, Mary, Mary. Were you cruising toward summer? Basking in the glory of the good reviews of The Good Girl or Pretty Baby?? Whatever the reason, I could hardly WAIT to settle in with the advance copy of your latest, Every Last Lie (which I was happy to receive from Harlequin/Park Row Books & NetGalley in exchange for my honest review), and I emerged disappointed..

This is a standalone suspense/mystery thriller, and like many recent domestic psychological thrillers, it is told from alternating perspectives of main characters: in this case a young married couple, Nick and Clara Solberg. Their tragedy is flat out smack in our faces (actually jarring) right at the beginning to the novel.

A few days after Clara has given birth to their son, Nick takes their precocious 4-year-old daughter Maisie to her ballet lessons, phoning Clara on the way to ask what kind of takeout food she’d like him to pick up. Nick never makes it home as he and Maisie are in a terrible car crash that leaves him dead while Maisie escapes with just a scratch.

As if the overwhelming grief of losing her husband isn’t enough, Clara begins to believe that it wasn’t an accident as the police have determined, but that he was murdered. Clara goes through various suspects trying to determine who it was that ran them off the road causing Nick’s death. She basically covers all the bases including friends, family, co-workers – you name it, Clara is at one time or another sure that several people must be the criminal.

So, the story is a fast read and as usual Kubica does a great job developing the characters into people we KNOW and care about, and moving the action along with events as well as dialogue. The problem for me was there were several red herrings, and the story was building and building toward the big reveal, than it just didn’t work for me.

The way the story is told, with Clara’s post-crash chapters alternating with Nick’s pre-crash chapters works well, and the reader cycles through pity, sympathy, etc. along with the characters.

I think Kubica’s fans will love this, and I would recommend it selectively to a certain type of reader. I can only give it three stars, and I have thought for hours about whether it was just that my expectations were too high. I concluded that wasn’t the case, and while I am still a Kubica fan, I hope that in her next book she returns to the terrific level of thriller writing her fans expect.

Three stars.