By Linda Graham, MFT
New World Library, 431 pages, $17.95
In Bouncing Back: Rewiring Your Brain for Maximum Resilience and Well-Being, author Linda Graham advances her hypothesis that our resilience, or ability to cope with life’s challenges, is grounded in early childhood experiences and that this ability to cope can be improved by “rewiring” the brain through exercises that change ineffective responses to crisis to constructive ones. The book is divided into titled chapters related to the topic and further into subchapters with helpful end-of chapter-summaries and charts that explain the exercises that can rewire the brain for better coping.
“Resilience is the capacity to respond to pressures and tragedies quickly, adaptively, and effectively… Only in recent years have neuroscientists begun to understand how to harness the brain’s capacity to radically rewire these neural circuits and rebuild the functioning of the brain to increase resilience.”
I had some concerns with the book initially; mainly in that the author is a Marriage and Family Therapist without medical training yet she addresses medical/neurological issues, advancing theories that she apparently originated, such as “implicit memory” (memory from our earliest years that is not consciously remembered but nonetheless affects our current behavior). In addition, so many of the recommended exercises require the participation of trusted partners and friends that one is left wondering why someone with such a supportive network would even need the book. However, the author has tentatively won me over with such advice as replacing negative memories with positive ones in relation to less than ideal parents. Such valuable advice is hard to ignore, whatever the source’s credentials.
Reviewed by Stacia Levy