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Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors: Overcoming Internal Self-Alienation

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  306 ratings  ·  38 reviews
Healing the Fragmented Selves of Trauma Survivors integrates a neurobiologically informed understanding of trauma, dissociation, and attachment with a practical approach to treatment, all communicated in straightforward language accessible to both client and therapist. Readers will be exposed to a model that emphasizes "resolution"--a transformation in the relationship to ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published March 17th 2017 by Routledge (first published 2016)
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Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ifs, psychotherapy, trauma
This is a fabulous text that provides practical skills for working with clients with trauma and dissociation (though I suspect non-dissociative clients may also benefit from parts of this intervention too). I very much appreciate the respect Fisher cultivates for the client's own resources, self-compassion and autonomy. Fisher deeply understand this population, and I am honoured to be able to incorporate her wisdom and expertise into my own clinical practice.
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book resonated with me and provided many insights on what is going on inside a person struggling with fragmented parts of himself. It's like a barrier between you and the world, then a barrier within yourself that you try to overcome so you could function well, and so much more. I first tried a sample of its eBook and I found out that it had depth in a way that it spoke from what the person feels from the inside out which, unfortunately, is often being minimized or misunderstood. I bought t ...more
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is transformative. It's not an easy read and may be a slog for those who don't have a background in trauma, but boy, is it ever worth the read. The idea at the centre of her book, that instead of leaning into integration, we need to lean into dissociation, is revolutionary. And it is by doing just that that we can help people heal. We need to welcome all the parts back to their home, and make sure there is a grown up there to embrace them, hold them, and see them through. With that, yo ...more
This is an excellent book on the reality of working with trauma survivors. Highly recommend it. My professional experience working with many people who struggle with these issues is consistent with her approach on what is helpful and what is not helpful....
I think this book could be quite powerful for those new to a parts work / Internal Family Systems approach to healing from complex/developmental trauma. As someone very familiar with this way of working, I was disappointed and found the tone surprisingly pathologizing at times.
Rayel Long Soul System
Introducing "language of parts". Probably very "threatening" to the classical psychological and old way to see the human mind with trauma related parts.
I'll use this many times.

Some might think this inclines clinical practice to iatrogenic practice but NO, STOP. This is only meant to be used (as it says) with people with trauma related parts, not the general population (duh!)

I enjoyed this. Though I think it felt short at times.
Kate Wester
Jun 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has been immeasurably helpful in helping me integrate different approaches into my work with clients. Most notably somatic work, parts work, mindfulness and compassion focused therapy. My understanding of working with complex trauma and structural dissociation has taken a giant step thanks to this book!
Authern Xu
May 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The author discusses in detail about how to integrate different parts of fragmented selves that a trauma survivor carries within their minds in order to survive complex childhood trauma. Throughout the book, Dr. Fisher also provides detailed examples of how to navigate the different parts of a client and how to interact with these parts to form a cohesive narrative for a survivor. A must read for survivors and practitioners alike.
Paige P
I highly recommend this book for psychotherapists working in the field of trauma. Janina Fisher has expertly taken the next step in treating trauma survivors using Internal Family Systems and demonstrating through clinical case studies how to help clients recover from dissociative disorder and trauma. This book is technical and written from a neurobiological perspective and must be absorbed sentence by sentence. In other words, it is not a fast read, but a challenging endeavor. It has changed th ...more
Dec 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic text. I wouldn't say this lightly, but I think this book will change my life.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is truly enlightening. It brings an original view on trauma and what happens inside. The more I read and the more I identified with the author's ideas. I've been struggling with my demons for a long time and this book gave me hope that there is something I can do to improve the situation.
It would be best to work on it with a therapeut who is familiarized with this concept but unfortunately they aren't easy to find depending on where you live.
Regardless, I'll try by myself.
I really rec
Jasmine St. John
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
By far the best book I have read thus far on approach to combining IFS and a systems approach to working with clients. Fisher really knows her stuff. Not easy work for an individual or a therapist, but very rewarding for all involved. I highly recommend this book to any therapist out there because you are going to find more clients having "parts" than not. You might as well learn the best way to help yourself and others heal and move ahead.
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book has really informed my practice when listening to clients who have survived child abuse. There is a practicality about it combined with compassion and understanding as well as a scholarly approach.
A. Housewife
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. A tour de force. Fisher describes so many issues that therapists struggle with and reframes them into a method that is positive, non-traumatizing, and effective at handling common roadblocks in therapy.

I was already very familiar with IFS before I read her book, but I appreciate the sensorimotor neurological explanations of what is happening and the concept of psychoeducation and helping the client learn to somatically calm themselves.

Even in the areas I was familiar with, I was greatly mov
Jihan Hasan
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It dives deep into an easy concept. Trauma survivors may experience dissociation similar to patients of dissociative identity disorder, but instead of it being multiple consciousnesses, it’s multiple “parts”. It is important to bring these little parts home. The book was amazing. Every therapist needs to read this. However, it had unnecessary repetition. This repetition didn’t make me like the book less though. It just made me take so much time to finish the book. Highly recommended. I will appl ...more
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I’ve started integrating parts language into different therapy protocols. This can be used as a therapeutic intervention on its own or woven into other treatments. I think it’s an instrumental and effective treatment to introduce to DID clients, but I also think survivors alone could benefit. This is not an easy read, meaning it takes some time to absorb all this wonderful information. I listened to it first as an audio book but will purchase the paper copy as well. So much in it I didn’t want t ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For anyone wanting / needing to understand dissociation caused by prolonged childhood trauma, this would be the ONE book I'd recommend to read. Janina Fisher has excellent understanding of the theories of Structural Dissociation of Personality, Internal Family Systems and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (among others). Filled with insight and empathy brought by years of working with the brightest minds in the field and through really listening and understanding the experiences of the clients.
Stephanie Goldsmith
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Janina Fisher provides a clear and comprehensive guide for working with people who have disassociative symptoms. I especially appreciate how she basis her method out of the neurobiology of trauma. Parts work has been exceedingly helpful in treating people who have suffered through pervasive developmental trauma. I highly recommend this book to clinicians who wish to provide care through a trauma focused lense.
Sep 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was helpful even though I'm not a therapist. It gave me a new angle from which to view persistent problems in my life, and it also illuminated things I'd felt or experienced but never really understood or hadn't been able to explain to others. It was slow going for me because it hit a lot of nerves (in a good way). I hope it will be useful in the long run as I try to apply what I learned. (That's always the hard part.)
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative

Explains how the mind develops parts when experiencing trauma or neglect. They take on important roles whose aim is to protect us from something that stems from the past. How to listen to what the parts have to say, and tell them thank you for the help you have given me over the years, but I got this,
Mari Stewart
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am not a professional in the mental health field. I came to this book from the perspective of a patient. With that in mind, I found it a good introduction to IFS theory. It is direct and informative. Professionals in the field with a background in IFS might find the book lacking in depth for their needs.
Jenny Ching
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Should be required reading for not only health professionals but also the bureaucrats in charge of allocating funding and resources. The mainstream mental health system needs to open itself up to the groundbreaking and evidence based tsunami of information coming out showing that interpersonal trauma is a major contributor to physical illnesses and mental distress of all types.
Tim Rymel
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
I struggle with the concept of "child part" selves, but the author has some interesting examples and relatable stories. I felt some of them were overly simplified to make a point. The book is really geared towards therapists and provides them ways to make their therapy more valuable to trauma survivors.
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The amount of time it took me to finish it has nothing to do with my lack of interest in it. Life interfered and slowed my reading over the holidays. Fisher is in the same caliber as Linehan in creating a truly nuanced, understandable and non-pathologizing treatment for attachment trauma and wounding. Highly recommend.
Jodie Skillicorn
Aug 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Dense book, but filled with valuable information and pearls for all trauma informed therapists and healers. I don’t think there is a single page in the book in which I did not highlight multiple lines of wisdom, advice, or insight.
Sep 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A delightful book from Janina Fisher which has helped me in many ways in my work. Her compassion, wisdom, and experience shine throughout. Any clinicians who want to up their ability to help those with trauma, of every variety, would do well to read this book.
Amirah Iqbal
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant resource for clinicians / and also for survivors to read and understand.
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mental-health
A valuable guide to addressing, and not getting swept up by, traumatized parts.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall this is a fairly accessible book though it does get dry at time. She does a great job of bringing in case examples. this helped deepen my understanding of parts work.
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book about trauma and using and identifying parts of self. I love the exercises at the back of the book and have used them with many of my clients.
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