Book Review 4


Down Range: To Iraq and Back,” by Bridget C., Ph.D. Cantrell (Author), Chuck Dean (Author). $16.99.

I met Dr. Bridget Cantrell one of the authors of this book at a conference on trauma.
This informative and supportive book is outstanding in how it explains the spiritual and emotional challenges that our soldiers face upon returning to their homes, families and communities. The book gives the soldier and spouse concrete exercises, suggestions and tips on how to make the homecoming easier. For instance, a soldier comes home from combat and may not want to be in crowds or places that don’t feel safe as it may bring up reminders that most people may not give a second thought. A wife or loved one may be able to prepare activities that are more suitable. Children may wonder why the parent is not as carefree or emotionally available. This book helps prepare the family for all sorts of events that may occur and can help prevent rifts and arguments and hurt feelings.

Dr. Cantrell and Chuck Dean clearly explain, and provide answers about stress, depression, flashbacks and other symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This book covers major symptoms of PTSD, warning signs of PTSD, recovery, trust issues, going back to work, guilt, sleep disorders, vet to vet support groups and much more. There is also a short course at the back of the book that helps family members and loved ones prepare for the eventual return of those serving in a war zone.

Dr. Cantrell’s primary work encompasses therapeutic counseling, and workshops for war veterans and their families. With a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Dr. Cantrell is a licensed Mental Health Counselor in the State of Washington, and a Nationally Board Certified Mental Health Counselor. She currently works as one of a small number of specially selected and trained Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs PTSD Contractors. She conducts workshops and speaks to soldiers and their families on the effects of war zone stress around the United States and overseas.

Chuck Dean served with the 82nd Airborne Division at Ft. Bragg, N.C. in 1963, and then on Okinawa with the 173d Airborne Brigade in 1964. He was one of the first Army paratroopers deployed to fight in South Vietnam in May of 1965. Upon his return back to the United States, Chuck became a drill instructor and trained troops through the years of 1967-1969. Through his military experiences he has written several books to help other veterans go through a healing process from their wartime experiences

For more information about Dr. Cantrell’s work go to

Women’s Studies:

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter,” by Sue Monk Kidd (Author), HarperOne Publishers. $11.16.

The Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd carries the subtitle A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine. Kidd’s awakening to this Sacred Feminine which forms the first chapters in the book came when she was in her late 30’s and seemed to have every advantage of a successful female in America. At that point several events coalesced to make her painfully aware that she had bought into the patriarchal model of God as male and thus “contained solely in a book, church, dogma, liturgy, theological system, or transcendent spirituality.”

In the second part of the book Kidd struggles to let go of this model and enter a period of initiation or darkness to consciously intend to find an immanent model of spirituality within her own experience as a woman. This new model will allow God to be fully seen as Goddess, offering Kidd permission to embrace “the holiness of every natural, ordinary, sensual and dying moment” of her life.

Grounding herself in this new consciousness forms the third part of the book. She goes to conferences to learn and share with others, reads all she can about the feminine from native, classical, and religious(mostly Christian) traditions, travels to places where the feminine was once worshiped as divine, sets up a home altar to display Goddess images she collects, and performs rites and ceremonies alone and with others to outwardly ground herself in this new information. .

Finally, she relates how such grounding changed her deep Soul and her roles as church member, wife, mother, and writer in the section entitled Empowerment. In this section she writes “When what we have learned and lived during our journey begins to flow in these places – into our garden hoeing and our child rearing and our relationships to our neighbors – then we begin to affect the would around us in the most intimate, natural, and profound ways.”

Kidd does not deal with the subject of the more profound patriarchal wound of sexual abuse which I believe may find tacit sanction in a male dominated religion. Yet I believe women with this experience can use her book as companion on their journeys to full embodied feminine spiritual life.


Locked,” a film written and directed by Juli C. Lasselle and released through Mandorla Pictures. $19.99.

“Locked” is a film about two sisters who were victims of incest by their father and how this affected them as adults. The setting is their childhood home some time after the death of their father. The main characters are Anna and Mia, the sisters who are dealing with their pasts in different ways. While Mia chooses to bury her past and minimize its effect on her, Anna faces it head on, enduring years of therapy and seeking to talk about what happened. Anna has moved into the family home after her father’s death and being thrown out of her boyfriend’s home.

The cast includes Anna’s sister and her fiance’, her sister’s best friend and husband, and Anna’s old boyfriend who all converge at the home place to celebrate her sister’s engagement. Thus the scene is set for much drama as unsolved conflicts surface. Anna’s trauma is elevated when her sister’s fiance’ forces sexual moves on her.

The writer skillfully captures the devastation caused by incest on its victims and all who become involved in their lives. The most powerful scene is near the end when Anna seems to cast off reminders of her father and emotionally leaves those behind who will not accept her pain and her need for healing, bravely setting out in an attempt at happiness. The audience is moved to applaud her determination to rise above the overwhelming pain of the incest itself and the added lack of validation from her friends and family.

I was greatly touched and also encouraged and validated by Anna’s story. I feel that those who watch will be reminded of how incest mutilates emotions and lives. Those who watch who are victims of childhood trauma will be greatly encouraged to tell their stories and seek the help they need despite those who would discourage and hold them back.

I highly recommend this movie to our support pals and those who visit Gift From Within. You will be inspired.

Note: For more information, visit