I would like to start out with explaining that I am not a psychologist or even a student in the field... yet. However, I have suffered from PTSD since I was 14 years old and am currently doing independent research on various treatment methods of PTSD and many types of trauma in the hopes of one day earning my degree in psychology. That being said, I must also admit that I am not a fan of Dr. Phil McGraw, nor do I have any sort of appreciation or respect for his methods. The very fact that the author of this book, Dr. Frank Lawlis, works as an adviser on Dr. Phil's show, is cause enough for skepticism.
My biggest complaint about this book is how Lawlis does not interject with any sources or use names of case studies or even state any data. How does he back-up his methods? By merely stating that it "has been proven by science". Okay then... Quite bluntly, if someone who is a doctor is not able to provide source material and statistical information in his text at all I have extreme suspicions about his reasons for writing the book and his experience on the subject. (There is a resource section in the back of the book, but, again, there's no mention of these resources or data in the text itself.)
My second complaint is that this book does not read at all as if it were written to treat PTSD. The biggest points he makes is that someone who suffers from PTSD needs plenty of sleep, fresh air, and a healthy, vitamin-enriched diet. A wee bit obvious, don't you think? The introductory chapters are nothing more than overly informed methods of treating anxiety, nightmares, and stress. As I neared the end of his description of numerous vitamins and dietary supplements, I seriously considered giving up on this book (something I never do) but persisted on hoping for a dramatic upswing in regards to his supposed "revolutionary, science-based approach to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder recovery".
I can't say I was disappointed by the continuation of his constant "proven by science" remarks or lack of description when he uses a mindfulness-based stress reduction technique (using a specific type of sound frequency and rhythm over headphones... also known as biofeedback) on a traumatized soldier... After which he never explains what happened in that little story beyond whipping out the headphones and giving them to the soldier. For example, where he learned the technique or even what it's called or how professionals generally use it on patient, these things are never mentioned. To be quite blunt once again, this is a serious oversight in a book about treating PTSD... To bring up a treatment method and not explain anything about it, is extremely unprofessional. Thankfully, the book was just about finished at this point so I didn't have to suffer through his "revolution" for too long.
Furthermore, something that irritates me about Lawlis and his colleague, Dr. Phil is that they both claim to be experts in various fields that have little to nothing in common with each other. At the beginning of most chapters, Lawlis starts out with explaining how he's working in a new field in a new location. I don't believe that anyone, especially a psychologist, should publish a book, let alone go on national television, when they cannot decide what their focus is on. To write a book or have a television show, you are saying to your audience that you are an expert, that you know what you're talking about.
On Lawlis' website, in his biography, it says that he earned his Ph.D in psychology with an emphasis in medical psychology and rehabilitation. He's working on a project regarding alcohol and drug dependency treatment and has worked with patients who have chronic and acute pain, cancer and psychosomatic problems. His list of achievements continue on but none of them have to do with experience treating trauma aside from his recent work on a project entitled "<u>Camp Better America</u> as an adviser and instructor", which works with soldiers and their families on how to reintroduce those coming back from war to society.
I'm not saying he's not distinguished in the field, however, I am saying that he doesn't know enough about trauma or PTSD to write a book about treating it. Trauma, if you've ever experienced it or spent numerous hours talking to victims of trauma or sufferers of PTSD is a nightmare and a tragedy. It's horror. Lawlis mentions in this book that he's angry about the obstacles soldiers returning from war have to face when they come home, where they feel like strangers amidst their family and tortured in their own bodies, but the methods he mentions barely even scratch the surface of how a psychologist would treat someone in that position, let alone victims of rape, molestation, physical torture and abuse, mental abuse, early attachment disruption, natural disasters, grief, etcetera.
Honestly, I found this book to be insulting to those who have been traumatized and live with PTSD. Healing from trauma is not an easy task. It's not as simple as sleeping properly, exercising, and eating healthily and for a psychologist to think that it's that simple is a travesty. This book is embarrassing to those brave, strong psychologists who take on trauma victims and PTSD sufferers as clients and spend months to years earning their trust, helping heal them of their symptoms and teaching them methods of dealing with life on an hourly and daily basis.
If you're looking for a well-written, informed and organized book on methods of treating trauma and PTSD, I highly recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Trauma-Treatment-Handbook-Protocols-Professional/dp/0393706184/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1298336326&sr=8-1">The Trauma Treatment Handbook: Protocols Across the Spectrum</a> by Robin Shapiro. It's an excellent overview and written in such a way that's easy enough for anyone to understand.