Healing Through the Dark Emotions

Digging through the self-help and psychology sections of Half-Price Books can be a tedious affair. I have found that Shambhala Publications rarely goes wrong with a book, and Miriam Greenspan's Healing Through the Dark Emotions is a gem. There are few psychological professionals that truly embrace a holistic healing approach, and Greenspan is a leader in that regard. This book helps facilitate one's healing by facing and learning from one's dark emotions rather than running away from or masking feelings of despair, anger, or sadness.

Greenspan writes with honesty and offers a career's worth of experience to back up her conclusions. Greenspan weaves clinical examples and an entire section of practical steps for one to use in helping face their dark emotions. Greenspan neither clings to a scientific framework nor a sentimental New Age blindness. However, this came at a price for the reader. Rather than simply offer contrasting worldviews, Greenspan allows jaded cynicism to filter into her commentary.

The glib New Age message that everybody can heal themselves only furthered this sense that Jody was somehow spiritually inferior to others: “I felt my physical illness was a sign of moral or spiritual weakness.” (p. 148)

Greenspan's commentary is not helpful, as it serves to alienate and chide a population. Furthermore, Greenspan is showing a weakness here often shared with the New Age group she is demeaning by equating healing with curing. I understand her concern because I can see her intention of warning about telling people they can cure themselves; this can be a safety issue. However, healing is a different story, and people can, with help from others, do a lot to facilitate their own healing. This is a minor point in what is otherwise a quality healing book. However, it serves as a reminder to always be on guard to filter out unnecessary commentary.

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