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Snakes in My Dreams: A Mental Health Therapist’s Odyssey from Hardship to Healer

January 15, 2013 on 2:32 am | In Dream Types | 3 Comments

As startling in content as it is courageous in self-disclosure. No memoir so intricately portrays how blocked memories return to conscious thought like Snakes in My Dreams. A thought-provoking, six-decade journey from the author’s earliest recollections to his current career as a specialist in the treatment of PTSD. A ‘must read’ for LGBT memoir enthusiasts, individuals in recovery from abuse or substances, their families and friends – and a breakthrough study for mental health researchers and practitioners.

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3 comments on “Snakes in My Dreams: A Mental Health Therapist’s Odyssey from Hardship to Healer

  1. Phil Mackall on said:

    A hard road concealed and revealed As a person who knew Mike in the work environment and as a personal friend, I was surprised by the troubled personal history revealed in “Snakes in My Dreams”. None of the horrors or triumphs of the story was evident to me as I interacted with Mike through many years at Gallaudet. As I reflect back, I am dumbfounded at how much can be hidden by those going through such trauma and have to wonder, now, as I look at people, what secrets are hiding behind the cover.Mike had asked me to read an earlier draft of the book and provide feedback. Although he had mentioned some of his struggles, I was not prepared for the depth and intensity of those struggles. After reading the earlier draft, I encouraged Mike to bring his book to print. Although Mike needed to write the book as a part of his healing process/catharsis, I suggested that there are many others out in the world who have also experienced an abusive alcoholic father (or mother) and an enabling mother (or father), who have struggled with homosexuality and the negative influence of religion, who have experimented with and been taken over by drugs and alcohol, and who have struggled with feelings of no self-worth. Many have survived these trials; many have not; many are still struggling with these issues. “Snakes in My Dreams” can provide validation for those who have gone through these struggles, but more importantly, can provide hope for those currently battling their own demons. They can see that they are not alone and, most importantly that, though the struggle may be long, there can be a positive outcome for their lives.The book itself is well written and shares moments of joy as well as moments of strife and sadness. It reveals to those of us not in the mental health field the ability of our minds to repress or color memories to help us cope with negative experiences in our lives. We learn that different members of the same family may have very different memories about the same events, each coloring those memories as they need to in order to move on with their lives. One important lesson is that there is not one easy path to mental health. Finding the right person, program or combination thereof is very important; not being afraid to admit that something is not working and seeking another resource is crucial.It amazes me that we can associate with people, in work, social and private encounters and have no idea what is really going on in these people’s lives. “Snakes in My Dreams” helped me to see this and will, hopefully, make me more sensitive and supportive as I interact with people in the future.

  2. Tom Prisciantelli on said:

    Snakes In My Dreams I just finished Dr. Mike’s book and find it a powerful resource for anyone who has had problems in their past that still haunt them. I’m not gay but am a Viet Nam vet and much of what Dr. Mike discusses relates to PTSD. I have demons that haunt me from my time in Viet Nam and Dr. Mike’s discussions gave me more insight into ridding myself of those demons. Add to that the fact that it is a great read because it is so well written. Thank you, Dr. Mike.

  3. Anonymous on said:

    This is one more piece in the growing literature on the damage people suffer with a repressive and homophobic education that in fact hides abuse. It’s quite a harrowing tale, and what’s amazing is how the writer could overcome his background and arrive to be a good professional. It makes good and interesting reading.

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