Trauma’s Labyrinth: Reflections of a Wounded Healer
Laura K. Kerr
LK Kerr Books (2022)
Reviewed by Ashley Hooker for Reader Views (06/2022)
Laura Kerr is a former psychotherapist who specializes in sensorimotor psychotherapy. She is a woman who has experienced trauma in her life. Her degrees, professional work, and life experiences led to a conviction to write “Trauma’s Labyrinth.”
“Trauma’s Labyrinth” is a collection of essays that bring to light the personal effects of trauma and how the larger world can aggravate the healing process. Kerr organizes this book into four parts entitled Recovery from Trauma, Society and Trauma, Reforming Mental Health Services, and Leaving the Labyrinth. While she created divides, the entire book is focused on how individuals and America have trauma and pointing out the hope that is still available for healing to begin.
I am not an expert in psychology, and my level of experience with trauma is low. Even so, I found certain essays to be very informative. One example is her essay on Intergenerational Transmission of Recovery, which focused on how we tell the story of trauma can lead to healing for generations who have carried a traumatic experience with them.
I was also intrigued by her essays on mental health services in section three. My son is autistic, so her discussion of the DSM 5 was of particular interest to me. My favorite quote is “Nevertheless, the DSM is largely unreliable because it attends to a new era’s problems with an old era’s ideology.” In Kerr’s last essay, she discusses dismantling alters. The idea that we can accept the trauma that we have experienced, but we don’t have to let it define our healing process and hinder us from becoming the person we want to be, is exciting.
My takeaway from “Trauma’s Labyrinth” is that trauma is an ever-present part of America’s history and its people. Our experiences may all be different, but they do not have to alter the hopes and dreams we have. It just may alter the path of getting there.
Overall, “Trauma’s Labyrinth” is an essential collection of essays on trauma for anyone interested in the psychological aspect of it, though may not be a book easily consumed by the everyday reader. The language is advanced, and I accompanied my reading with a dictionary and a few Google searches.