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Healing Invisible Wounds: Paths to Hope and Recovery in a Violent World

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  72 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Everywhere and constantly human beings are subject to terrible violence—be it natural or manmade. It has happened in New Orleans, New York, India, Iraq, Rwanda, Bosnia, Cambodia, Ivory Coast. But long after the levees have been reconstructed, after the war criminals have been brought to justice, the question remains—can people heal, and if so, how?Richard Mollica has spent ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published December 4th 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Aug 05, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cambodia
I have been an admirer of Richard Mollica ever since I heard him speak in Boston in 1987. His work with refugees and survivors of trauma is monumental and profoundly humanistic and his research contributions have improved our understanding of recovery immeasurably. So I had high expectations when I sat down to read Healing Invisible Wounds as a preparation for a course on trauma and recovery. Mollica is a skilled writer and the depth of his compassion for survivors resounds throughout this book. ...more
Jun 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book will change you. You will have new hope. It is the number one book on my list that I would want someone interested in human rights to read. You will see that people in wars and genocides are resilient - they can and do heal themselves from the incredibly tragic circumstances they endure.

And these survivors have so much to teach the rest of us.

Mollica, who heads a center for refugee trauma, describes four elements of the trauma story:
1. Facts
2. Culture
3. Spirituality
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is a must-read to learn more about storytelling involving traumatic experiences, whether you are interested in storytelling for artistic or therapeutic purposes.
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
It's not often I read books that are so far away from my daily life than this book about trauma and the recovery thereof. It is more accurate to say that the book is about self-healing from trauma. Richard F. Mollica does a great job in building up the theme, first by describing trauma and then by showing how the self-healing process works and can develop. There is hope and a way of healing that is induced by ones own working. In this journey, you are yourself forced to take a look at a few of ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-research
A very story-heavy book, which makes me wonder who it is really written for. Health care professionals might have a hard time making practical use of it, but certainly for the rest of us it is very enlightening.
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
"...the boy chose not to let these events rob him of the joy of life." ~ The boy was Richard Mollica's father, who witnessed his own father's murder when he was nine years old. Richard honours the memory and the example of his father, Carmelo -- a man who "fashioned a hopeful reality out of tragedy" and was known to say with a wink, "Don't worry, it's going to get worse" -- in this masterful book about trauma -- what Mollica calls the "existential injury."

His essential thesis is that we all have
May 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
An optimistic and accessible account of psychological trauma and the human capacity to heal. Well grounded in science, but overlaid with a huge dose of humanism and religiosity. I think Mollica correctly blasts the over-emphasis (by media, humanitarians, therapists, etc.) on the trauma event itself, and makes a passionate plea to focus attention on the everyday leftover burdens that victims bear after the horror. But, I think he places too much responsibility and hope upon the patient's capacity ...more
Carlos Vasconcellos
Mar 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Great book on tough violent stories ranging from the PolPot killer squads in APAC to the ethnic cleansing in Eastern Europe. The power of the book comes from the decades of research by Dr. and the personal stories gathered from many victims of all these horrible killing fields and how they overcame their experience. A story about how human spirit prevails from PTSD. Great for any one recovering from the 80-90 Crack epidemic in Queens and all other boroughs.
Nov 19, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: psychology
This book is more of a memoir of an interesting and diverse career in sometimes ground-breaking areas. I was looking for a book that explains PTSD and its healing/treatment (as this book was marketed to be), thus the 3-star rating. However, as a memoir, it's very interesting. There are many moments of hope even after extreme violence; however, I was also struck with a lot of sadness about the obstacles and discrimination that minorities continue to face.
Aug 06, 2011 added it
An interesting read about how people deal with the traumas of genocide, torture and natural disasters. He makes a strong case for self healing through the telling of the trauma story and the support of the community with work as an important element in self validation helping to overcome the loss of self esteem that comes with torture, displacement and loss.
Marita Anderson
Oct 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book on the subject of trauma and healing. Mollica's position is that no one can heal another from trauma. The best we can do is provide the tools for self-healing. Mollica is wonderfully accessible and oh so inspiring. He is honest about the difficulty of his work and the amount of compassion and passion it takes to care for those in pain.
Gail Rogers
Mar 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the book quite a bit. It reminds me about the importance of deep listening and the opportunity to tell life stories in a meaningful way to heal trauma. I am curious about how his learnings can be taken beyond the psychiatrist's office - I would have liked to hear more about this.
Candace Wegner
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A must read for anyone who works with hurting people
Michele Karahan
Dec 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Explains how the story of trauma includes strength and lessons for us all.
Jul 20, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book is very inspiring and optimistic, but still candid about what trauma survivors go through. There are some interesting concepts here that will definitely help me with my job!
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