(This book cannot be returned.)
The truth about how to overcome adversity, with a foreword by Professor Steven Hayes, author of The Liberated Mind and originator of acceptance and commitment therapy, The Trauma Banquet gives raw insights into how to build personal resilience in the face of lingering trauma.
At the heart of this memoir is the liberating and inspirational message: eating pain is empowering. As a professor and educator of clinical psychology with 38 years of treating people, Dr Pakenham has found there is no effective way to remove the pain from past traumas. Their silent echoes last a lifetime and demand their rightful place in life. The only viable remedy is to embrace pain, a process that is both transformative and energising. Each one of us is affected by trauma at some point in our life. Everyone suffers. In this book Dr Pakenham gives real-life examples of how to use your inner pain to invigorate your life.
Dr Pakenham has worked with thousands of clients, and extensively researched human behaviour and cutting-edge practices in clinical psychology. In this memoir he examines his own painful silent trauma echoes that defy eradication and shows how he uses inner pain to cultivate fulfilment.
Brutal and relentless domestic violence carved his early childhood. His emerging gender fluidity and sexual diversity mystified and enraged his father and peers. When he was 13, his mother, the centre of his life, committed suicide. From this early intimacy with death, he discovered he could suck life from pain, and this insight became his guiding light.
Cared for by an older sibling in the midst of a shattered family, he suffered violent beatings at high school that punished his gender and sexual diversity. A deep desire to find meaning in his suffering led him on a roller-coaster of drug addiction, hippie communal living, homelessness and the use of sex for material survival. Close to tasting his own death, he found salvation and re-entered society.
He took the straight and narrow path through religion, university, marriage, fatherhood and career advancements. The AIDS crisis touched him professionally, a 'crucifixion' experience, the death of loved ones from suicide and accidents, and the threat of a degenerative illness skewered him along the way. After he was shattered by divorce, a new path opened that drew him back to his authentic self and gay love.
The memoir ends with an examination of the two processes Dr Pakenham committed to as a child and which were later validated by science: eating pain and feasting on life. He learned that the very thing he wanted to run from, his pain, was the very thing that invigorated his life. He describes his moment-by-moment use of strategies to enable him to eat his pain, savour life and pursue his passions. These are the same evidenced-based techniques he encourages his clients to practice.