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Front Cover


Dorothea Nudelman
David Willingham, MSW

ISBN: 0-940168-31-6 (Hardback - front jacket above)

Paperback edition also available

Written in two personal voices, patient and therapist, this is the gripping story about the depression of a brave woman who faced her own despair and transformed it into a creative renewal of her life.

HEALING THE BLUES is also a guidebook to a drug-free approach to healing depression. Depression robs us of the enjoyment of life. Increasingly, drugs are seen as a quick solution. This book suggests an alternative approach: "Listening to the depression" for what it is telling us about our life. What's not working? What needs to be understood and changed?

Dorothea Nudelman, a successful English Professor, wife and mother, was stricken with polio in 1949 when she was 9 years old. After weathering that life-threatening crisis and successfully coping despite her handicap, 38 years later, she began to suffer the crippling effects of Post-Polio Syndrome and plunged into a deep depression.

She sought therapy from David Willingham, a Clinical Social Worker. HEALING THE BLUES is a fascinating look at how psychotherapy works to heal depression. Dorothea's story is a riveting odyssey through a dramatic childhood. In telling it to the therapist in private conversations, she learned to acknowledge and accept her losses and to appreciate the real bounty of her life.

David's parallel account takes us behind the scenes into the work of psychotherapy where he shares his personal experience as the therapist and (in italics) explains the rationale that guides his drug-free treatment. The two stories merge in Dorothea's joyful healing.

This book is a compelling guide to Healing the Blues.

In this account from his private notes on Dorothea Nudelman's therapy of depression, David Willingham offers an excellent primer on drug-free treatment valuable to anyone suffering from depression. This history, told in twenty alternating chapters by patient and therapist, is larger than the story of one case of depression. This book reads like a novel and conveys a hopeful and optimistic perspective. HEALING THE BLUES is for each of us who has experienced depression and loss. It contains an important message for all Health Professionals and their patients. New therapists and seasoned professionals alike will find this an enriching book not only because of its emphasis upon a drug-free approach, rather than a drug-only treatment of depression, but also because of its dual perspective by patient and therapist. Thousands of individuals whose lives have been touched by polio and other diseases or injuries will find that Dorothea speaks poignantly of the inner and outer struggle for wholeness without limitation, even while accepting limitations.

"This book packs a wallop! I have read hundreds of books about psychotherapy, but I cannot remember one that so thoroughly describes what actually happens in the therapy hour. . . . For anyone who has ever wondered how, and even if, psychotherapy works, read this book! You will become a believer!"

Carol Zimbelman, MSW, Stanford University Employee Assistance Program, Private Practice.

"What a brilliant idea to alternate chapters. The dove-tailing appears so seamless. Healing the Blues shows that it is not enough to come to terms with the past. The limitations are in the present and the losses to come must also be accepted."

Mary Jane Moffat, author of City of Roses The Times of Our Lives etc.

"This book is a psychological peach. It is a story filled with edifying suffering, flinty fortitude, and wise and soulful humor. The immediacy of the dialogue draws us right into the heart of the consulting room. It is a bold and daring duet in which the audience is treated to the alternating voices of the healed one and her healer."

John S. McGovern, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist and Faculty Member, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

"This work provides not only a 'close encounter' with a shocking mind/body experience, but a depth of rich response, a personal voice that is unique, memorable, and ennobling."

Dr. Marjorie J. Lightfoot, Professor of Literature, Arizona State University.

To have psychotherapy and bring out lots of polio past ghosts is quite an experience. To write them down another, but to put into print like this takes great courage. I found this book extremely interesting, and also there were many occasions where little parts of my own polio past come flooding back, including some very emotional, tearful episodes. However, I found that this has cleared the air, and I now feel more able to cope... Please share its [HEALING THE BLUES] content with your family, friends and the medical professionals that you are seeing. It gives a great insight into how we might be dealing with our own PPS.

Hilary Hallam, Honorary Secretary, Lincolnshire Post-Polio Network.

Photograph of Dorothea

DOROTHEA NUDELMAN. Dorothea is a polio survivor from the big polio epidemic of 1949. Her struggle to regain limited mobility was a major challenge of her childhood. Nevertheless, she earned her BA and MA in English. She is Professor of English at Foothill College, where she is now President of the Foothill College Academic Senate and she coordinates the Writing Across the Curriculum program. She lives in Portola Valley, California, with her husband and daughter. She is the author of numerous published poems and a novel.

Photograph of David Willingham

DAVID WILLINGHAM. A Clinical Social Worker for the past 28 years, David maintains a psychotherapy and marriage counseling practice in Pale Alto, California. He formerly worked in community mental health, was a professional training consultant, and now consults with human service agencies and businesses on relationship issues. A certified hypnotherapist, he received his MSW from the University of Southern California. David is married and has three children. He works collaboratively with his wife Joan, who is also a psychotherapist.

The Boxwood Press
183 Ocean View Blvd.
Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Phone 408-375-9110
Fax 408-375-0430

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Document preparation: Chris Salter, Original Think-tank, Cornwall, United Kingdom.
Created: 13th September 1997
Last modification: 21st January 2010.

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