Book Review: Beyond the Good-Girl Jail by Sandra Felt

Getting Out Of The Good-Girl Jail Means Reconnecting
With Our True Self To Live Life On Our Terms

By Sandra Felt, Foreword by John E. Bradshaw

“As Sandra Felt shows, the Good-Girl syndrome is a mask, a prison, a trap that limits people’s lives, deadens their relationships, and drains them of energy. As I have often witnessed, it is also a major source of physical and mental pathology. Sandra has written a simple yet elegant guide to escaping the prison and finding the true self that has so long languished underneath the mask. This book will enhance your health.” – Gabor Mate, MD, author, When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection

Sandra Felt, a social worker with more than 30 years of experience in private practice treating survivors of extreme childhood trauma begins the introduction of her book, Beyond the Good-Girl Jail (HCI Books — $15.95): “I was once a very good girl. I did what was expected of me. I cleaned my room and got good grades. I kept quiet and didn’t brag. I tried to be nice, like everyone and be cooperative. I thought I was living life right and didn’t yet realize I had already shut down my precious aliveness. I didn’t yet know that being good is not the same as being fully alive. I didn’t know I had already landed in the Good-Girl Jail.”

Contrary to common theories, it is not only good to focus internally, but it’s actually healthy and crucial to developing a loving, spiritual self. Felt’s unique book, drawing partly from her own experience being a “good girl” is written from an impartial, but encouraging, developmental point of view rather than a mental health point of view, which is sometimes interpreted as judgmental and shaming. Her book is psychological, yet not steeped in pathological jargon. Through her experiences, client stories and original poetry, she teaches us how to:

•    Recognize our own sense of self
•    Reconnect with our true self utilizing 3 essential life skills
•    Rebuild our inner self with 3 sure-fire strategies
•    And return home to live from our true self.

With testimonials from leaders in the psychotherapy field, including Joan Borysenko, Claudia Black, Robert Ackerman, Lorie Dwinell, Pat Love and Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, Beyond the Good-Girl Jail is a valuable resource for therapists and clients alike. It will have readers thinking long after reading it, remembering words and stories while experiencing a shift in their language and a surprising growth in their choices.

 Available wherever books are sold or to order directly from the publisher, contact: www.hcibooks.com or (800) 441-5569
Beyond the Good-Girl Jail: When You Dare to Live from Your True Self  

ISBN: 9780757318450

###

Praise for Beyond the Good-Girl Jail:

Joan Borysenko, PhD, New York Times bestselling author, Minding the Body, Mending the Mind: “Beyond the Good-Girl Jail is a seminal book for both therapists and clients. Wise, accessible, and filled with illustrative case histories, it’s more than just clear and instructive; it’s a page-turner that’s hard to put down. Each chapter feels like a revelation, adding depth and dimension to the perennial question of what it is to become whole, real, and rooted in one’s essential self. The clear prose brings the reader to insight over and over again—’aha, I really get that!’ The poetry deepens the insight and goes directly to the heart. This book is a treasure that is bound to become a classic for both therapists and their clients. Brava, Sandra!”

Claudia Black, PhD, author, It Will Never Happen to Me, Repeat After Me, and co-author The Missing Piece: Solving the Puzzle of Self: “This is a book every woman must read. Sandra Felt is correct, it has not been written before and it speaks to all of us women. I started reading it and didn’t want to put it down. It is a book that you will keep and re- read. It is our ‘get out of jail’ card! It’s not a free get out of jail card—we have to do the work—but Sandra offers the path.”

Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse, MS, CDC, author, family therapist, public speaker, and founder of Onsite Workshops: “Sandra’s book, Beyond the Good Girl Jail hits the target in understanding what happens to children from painful families. Her story is provocative, inspiring, and clear. Not only does it explain the depth of confusion and emotional pain suffered by children (and adult children) who are traumatized, it offers direct and easy to understand tools for moving from pain to comfort and from confusion to clarity. It is an empowering read. I highly recommend this book.”

Pat Love, EdD, co-author, Never Be Lonely Again: “The foundation of all healthy relationships is honest self-awareness. Beyond the Good-Girl Jail lays that foundation in concrete. It zeroes in on the heart of the matter.”

Lorie Dwinell, LICSW WA, LCSW NM: “There are not enough superlatives to describe Beyond the Good-Girl Jail. It is brilliant, well-written, practical, and user-friendly, whether the reader is a psychotherapy client, a therapist, or simply interested in bettering her life. The book reflects both Sandra Felt’s therapeutic acumen as well as the transparent authenticity of her own healing process. This book is not formulaic self-help Pablum but a work of tremendous depth and complexity presented with remarkable clarity, wisdom, and compassion—a must read.”

Gregory Boothroyd, PhD, LPC, professor emeritus, Western Michigan University, co-author, Going Home: A Positive Emotional Guide for Promoting Life-Generating Behaviors:  “This insightful and warmly written book provides the keys to unlock and free our muffled selves from our respective cages and thereby finally and fully respond to all of life’s opportunities, challenges and joys…both inside and out.”

Janae B. Weinhold, PhD LPC, co-author, Breaking Free of the Co-dependency Trap, The Flight from Intimacy and Healing Developmental Trauma: “I found this book to be comforting, personal, and supportive in many ways. It helped me reflect on my own life, and my efforts to be a whole person with a sense of self. I really appreciate how Sandra interweaves her personal story with client examples, useful information to expand core concepts, and her own poetry. What affected me most in Sandra’s book was her honesty. Time and again, she shared about her choice points, revealing the depth of her personal integrity and how she was able to bring her values and her life choices into alignment.

While the book includes some of Sandra’s journey, I think her story is also every woman’s story, that we each must confront the same issues that Sandra confronts. This book is a valuable tool for women finding their voice and seeking their lost Self. I found it very inspiring… I think you will, too.”

Gabor Maté, MD, author, When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection: “As Sandra Felt shows, the Good-Girl syndrome is a mask, a prison, a trap that limits people’s lives, deadens their relationships, and drains them of energy. As I have often witnessed, it is also a major source of physical and mental pathology. Sandra has written a simple yet elegant guide to escaping the prison and finding the true self that has so long languished underneath the mask. This book will enhance your health.”

Christine A. Courtois, PhD, ABPP, psychologist in independent practice, national clinical trauma consultant for Brightwater Landing, and author, It’s Not You, It’s What Happened to You: “Beyond the Good-Girl Jail is a title at once provocative and hopeful. Therapist Sandra Felt has written a very wise and compassionate book for trauma survivors, many of whom struggle to identify with—or even like—who they are. Using vignettes from her own recovery, original poetry, and a depth of thoughtfulness, she provides readers with concrete suggestions and benchmarks for recovery that are founded on them as individuals rather than on the rules and the desires of others.”

Robert J. Ackerman, PhD, author, Perfect Daughters, and editor, Counselor magazine: “Beyond the Good-Girl Jail is an amazing book about the transformation of beliefs that were supposed to make one happy only to discover that they were meaningless. This is a book of self-exploration and the courage it takes to live the life that works for you. I highly recommend this well-written and thought-provoking book for everyone who wants to live a life of meaning and for those whose who truly want to find their true selves. You won’t be disappointed.”

Don Meichenbaum, PhD, distinguished professor emeritus, University of Waterloo, research director of the Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention: “Sandra Felt extends an invitation that should not be missed to join her on a journey to examine and develop your ‘true self.’ She includes detailed guidelines on ways to recognize, reconnect with, rebuild, and return home to yourself. She demonstrates how to be open to awakening moments and how to take risks in order to invite aliveness and happiness into one’s life. She creatively uses a combination of personal anecdotes, case studies, and poetry to demonstrate how to ‘re-story’ one’s life. Psychotherapists will find the practical suggestions offered a useful resource to use with their clients.”

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