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by Leonard Devidando
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This is not a superficial pop-psychology or self-help book. Instead it offers serious insight into the inner world of a highly effective holistic mind/body psychotherapist. Roman, who has spent the last twenty-six years at Hippocrates Health Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida, draws on his eclectic background as a nursery school teacher, an intensive care nurse, a Hospice counselor, a licensed mental health counselor, and a professional bodyworker to produce a book that is at once scientific, humanistic, and personal. And he's a good story-teller to boot.

Deep Feeling, Deep Healing presents a unified mind/body approach to healing that showcases Roman's uncanny ability to suss out his clients' core issues and feelings in a way that shifts their focus from being lost in their problems as a victim to being deeply empowered to move forward. The therapy tales are amazing, quirky, moving, and funny.
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The middle section of the book highlights the latest science of psychoneuroimmunology, where Roman writes about the evolution of the brain and the newly discovered network of mood-altering molecules called neuropeptides. Heady stuff. He says that because we are hard-wired to avoid pain by inwardly dissociating from it, we end up unknowingly carrying it around deep within the tissue of our body. He talks about the vital role of an enzyme-rich diet in accomplishing "emotional detox", the process of bringing pain out of storage so that it may become conscious. "Otherwise, feelings end up having us, rather than our having them", he says.

Imprinted pain is not so hard to ellicit either, it seems. Roman claims we mingle fragmented feelings from the past into our present world all the time, recreating circumstances to help those feelings make sense. The therapist's job is to "harvest" these feeling fragments in a therapeutic setting, and then with a little oomph of support, let nature take its integrative course. He makes the case for the goal of therapy being "an integration of feelings, and an updating of the body-response from past trauma. This involves a shift from the sympathetic, emergency mode, to the parasympathetic, healing mode".

With a focus on the senses and the body, often incorporating hands-on bodywork, Roman consistantly stays one step beyond the conscious mind and defenses of his client to bring about this shift. His work is like hypnotherapy with eyes wide open, a heart-to-heart encounter, neurolinguistic programming on steroids, and deep massage of the nervous system all at the same time.

Although Chapter 5, How Body-focused Psychotherapy Works, seems to mainly address healthcare professionals with treatment tips, Roman says, "My intent in Deep Feeling, Deep Healing is to demystify therapy, offering helpful tools that any health- or wellness-seeker can benefit from". His techniques have intriguing names like "over-drive pacing", "fertile vacuum", and "confuse-and-conquer".

Andy Roman's book shines the most when he gets personal with us. His tone is heartfelt, caring, honest, and funny. So even with all its science, Deep Feeling, Deep Healing is not a text book; with all its good advice for individuals and couples, it is not a self-help manual; and with all its catchy phrases like "Pulverizer, Minimizer, Maximizer, or Harmonizer" or "emotional aikido", it is not just trendy. It's, well, scientific, humanistic, and personal--shedding new light on the mind/body mechanics of psychotherapy, the factors of heart and mind that play into recovery from illness, and yes, even on the mystery of the self itself.

(Leonard Devidando is a staff writer at the Spectrum Healing Press, the publishers of Deep Feeling, Deep Healing.)
 
 
copyright 2003 Spectrum Healing Associates, P.A.