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: 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.”

Book Review ~ Becoming a Sage: Discovering Life’s Lessons, One Story at a Time Paperback – February 16, 2016 by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse

Becoming A Sage: Discovering Life’s Lessons,
One Story at a Time by Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse

The art of becoming a sage mixes personal life experience with learning from ancient and historical people who have gathered their own wisdom. Sages know that they stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before.

In Becoming a Sage, international bestselling author and master storyteller Wegscheider-Cruse encourages readers to find their own personal path through a series of short stories, lessons learned and prudent quotes that validate each experience. Her stories span deep lows and soaring highs―a lifelong journey of lessons learned and a celebration of living with those lessons. Each tale will bring solace, comfort, and joy to readers, and inspire and teach them how to record their own stories. It will bring readers through guilt, fear, and forgiveness to reach personal transformation.

Wegscheider-Cruse knows that it’s not always easy to tell our stories; they can be scary or feel too private. But, as we grow older, we find courage and confidence by deciding to become “a teller of the truth.” Our sharing is the legacy that we leave to family and friends; Becoming a Sage is the remarkable legacy Wegscheider-Cruse leaves to us all.

If you hate knowledge, then close your eyes to this wisdom

“Courageous, transparent, and insightful. Here is a memoir of a different and delightful sort.  From an early onset storyteller through challenges, successes, and failures, Sharon emerges as an elder who is aging consciously and positively—an authentic sage. Reading Sharon’s memoir is like sitting with her, sipping tea, and being in the presence of incarnate wisdom  and inspiration.”
 –Jack Williamson, chaplain, Colonel, USAF (Ret), co-facilitator, Boulder, Colorado, chapter of Sage-ing International

The force is with Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse in her latest book Becoming A Sage: Discovering Life’s Lessons, One Story at a Time (HCI Books — $15.95). As a framework for gaining wisdom, Wegscheider-Cruse reveals the secret elements that give power to becoming a “human ‘being’ rather than a human ‘doing’.”

“Sages are powerful and wise…Sages take their earned wisdom and manifest it in their outer worlds…”

Confined into a two-part book, Wegscheider-Cruse generously offers lessons she has learned from her personal experiences from the early years to the golden years and ends with a finishing touch on the essentials of being a sage. This book is purposed to encourage everyone to reflect their own experiences, write them down and rather than ignoring them, share them over and over again. Becoming A Sage is a blueprint for the world to share their experiences. “When we have meetings of sages, imagine the wisdom shared!”

In part one, Wegscheider-Cruse shares short, clipped memories of her own life journey—”the deep lows, the soaring highs, the mundane and the magnificent.” In a cozy storytelling manner, she builds a relationship with her readers as if they were her very own child. Each short story is accompanied with the lesson she learned from that moment in her life.

“Transformation is the path to becoming a sage… We are never finished products; each time we add new learning to what we know, we become wiser…It is important that our stories do not wither and die with us.”

Part two briefly and concisely defines what a sage is and how to become one. With nurturing precision, each sentence in part two offers clarity on how an individual fulfills their life’s purpose. “Experience. Glean wisdom. Transform. Change… We transform as we fully experience life.”

Highlights from the book of Sage qualities include:

•    Think clearly. They are not overwhelmed or scattered.
•    Work out problems. They don’t stay stuck or confused.
•    Make decisions. They don’t procrastinate or waver.
•    Make things happen. They know someday is now.
•    Influence events. They are leaders rather that followers.
•    Win the respect of others. They don’t demand it.
•    Take charge of a situation. They don’t wait needlessly.
•    Have a vision and carry it out. They don’t accept current circumstances.
•    Be a force that unifies. They are creators, not destroyers.

The short stories, the lessons learned and the wisdom given in Becoming A Sage helps the reader to find tranquility as they examine their own life. This is a book to pay attention to for many generations to come, as wisdom is always timeless. This book will never leave the reader’s bookshelf, and just might have sitting next to it a collection of the reader’s own short stories and life lessons.

About the Author:

Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse is the founding Chairperson of the National Association of Children of Alcoholics, and founder of Onsite Workshops. She has brought hope and healing to millions as an author, counselor, trainer, consultant, and lecturer.  She has written 18 books translated into 13 languages, and broke ground and fostered a movement with her works, Another Chance: Hope and Health for the Alcoholic Family and Learning to Love Yourself. Sharon has traveled the world and developed programs in the United States, Europe, Australia, and Canada, and has appeared on The Phil Donahue Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and The Larry King Show, as well as in multiple media events.

To order directly from the publisher, contact: or (800) 441-5569
Becoming a Sage: Discovering Life’s Lessons, One Story at a Time
ISBN: 978-0-7573-1904-4

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