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Mental Illness and the Family:
Unlocking the Doors to Triumph


Herbert L. Gravitz, Ph.D.
   Book Review
   Research Frontline
   Public Health Forum
(Reviewed by Ann Todhunter Brode CST)

   The dedications at the front of Herb Gravitz's book, Mental Illness and the Family, states the author's personal commitment to offer hope and guidance for families coping with mental illness:
To the families of those under the influence
of serious mental illness, addiction, and other traumas.
because injury begets injury,
this triple threat often strikes the same family.
May this book acknowledge your plight,
may it lighten your burden,
and may it provide the meaning, knowledge, and skills
that will lead you to triumph over
life's most painful adversities.

Dr. Gravitz succeeds in all of the above and, in so doing, knocks on the doors of convention challenging a basic assumption regarding the care of persons with mental illness... an assumption that prohibits the use of "Triumph" and mental illness in the same conversation.

The book is soundly rooted in three decades of professional experience and gracefully supported by ancient texts and contemporary sages, classical mythology, neuroscience and the latest in quantum physics.

In addition to outlining clear stages and strategies for families, Gravitz compassionately describes the family "under the influence" of mental illness as holding both the overlooked suffering and an essential key to unlock the doors to a realistic way of responding to one of life's great adversities.

As Gravitz states, "severe mental illness does not end life, it redirects it." And being redirected by mental illness, families are repeatedly thrown into chaos. In the uncharted territory, Dr. Gravitz is uniquely qualified to offer himself as guide. His resume in the field of mental health/mental illness is pages long and vast enough for several lifetimes. But more importantly is his ability to be with people, to listen and translate the complex and confusing into the understandable and doable.

Rich with inspiring stores and insights, Triumph invites us to consider the human equation as a "variable" rather then a "constant". This is not just a theory but offered as a gentle invitation to view healing as a spiraling journey that predictably visits chaos as well as transcendence.

As I read through Triumph, I was repeatedly reminded of my own good fortune Herb Gravitz as a mentor. His deep understanding of language and it's impact on thought has encouraged me to contemplate the meaning of words and hone accuracy when speaking of such things as pain & suffering, care taking & care giving, compassion and pity, simple and easy, vision and pipe dream. I was impressed with his artful way of weaving heart and mind, deftly standing at the edge of the "known" & engaging a difficult subject.

Reading Triumph has deepened my understanding of mental illness and the powerful role of the family in living life fully in the midst of uncertainty

In Herb's own words "Triumphing is not accidental - it is a learned behavior ... in the presence of mental illness (to triumph) is to move forward in a positive manner in the midst of adversity" Gravitz's gives concrete ways to do just that. And with realistic hopes he reminds us that "Triumph does not imply a life free of pain. It means that joy, peace and happiness can co-exist with illness

More information about the book is here on Dr. Gravitz's website

Click here to order directly from Dr. Gravitz

You can also use Froogle to order the book from an independent online reseller.

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