To prepare for an interview about the POWER OF PLAY, I asked a handful of members of Joy-Based Living: “I know this is last minute, but can you share a tidbit about why you feel play is important? And maybe something about JBL and play?” I ended up receiving these responses which feel like awesome testimonials! Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did!

Juli J:
Play is a surprisingly integral aspect of my coaching experience with Debbie. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t experienced it. Playfulness creates a space of relaxation and safety. It can be as simple as conversation about this and that with an element of lightheartedness & sincerity. Before you know it, BOOM, you just unearthed something long hidden. And you know it’s OK. You know you are safe.

With Debbie’s coaching & guidance, I’ve unearthed a treasure trove of dirty ninjas & hidden emotions. All the while spotlighting these “treasures” with a feeling of play, as though we were roaming the psyche with parrots on our shoulders.

Ellen E:
Play is not something that comes naturally to me. Juli played with me more than anyone and we were silly and I rode on her back and I just felt true acceptance and love…. As if she just delighted in my presence and wanted to make me laugh. That gave me life a lot when craziness was happening. So I remember that and in our coaching sessions when we play or relax or I sit in my swing chair or meditate deeply and connect with divine formless energy, it brings me back to childhood when I could just play and be free.

deJoly L:
sure… “I feel that playtime for adults who have suffered from trauma, PTSD and/or CPTSD/R, is an essential opening for releasing and resolving the traumas. We mostly don’t really know how to play, to let our child self experience the abundance of joy… either in movement, arts, crafts, or recreational activities. In JBL we encourage authenticity, which includes all aspects of the self, including the parts that like to play and be noisy. We can’t have true freedom until all parts of ourselves are free to be authentic.”

Jacqui B:
So, what is it about “play” in our coaching sessions… “I am experiencing some feelings and interest when we do something that is out of my comfort zone, which is how to play as an awakening adult womyn in this patriarchal culture!”

Heather N:
Tedious difficult work is made easier by lightening the atmosphere and making it more fun. Makes work seem more exciting,. Makes you feel good about your accomplishments and makes you happier. I still to this day love getting gold stars!

Michele S:
Play is important because it allows us to be authentic, it allows us to be in the moment.

– – – – – – – – – – –

A creative and insightful approach to our psyche!

Angelika Thusius, Kentro Body Balance, Ashland, Oregon

Heather Nicely, Mentone, Alabama

“It’s hard to believe that for the last 2 years, I have made it to the top 10% of Realtors in the Greater Chattanooga Association of Realtors that covers Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama. I couldn’t have accomplished this magic feat without my business coach, Debbie Happy Cohen.

Real estate can be extremely stressful and Debbie keeps me sane and on track so that I can deliver the very best service to my clients.Her understanding of customer relationships and business development is off the charts! I appreciate Debbie so much for all she’s done for me.”

Heather Nicely, Mentone, Alabama

Anonymous in Florida, February 2023

I was in a very urgent situation that would have affected my future and my child’s future. It was an emergency situation. I needed to make an important decision and take immediate action.
Before we spoke, I was conflicted about what was most important. But once we spoke, I was able to quiet all the external chaos and focus in on what was necessary. I could see a clear path of what I was supposed to do.
You were able to have a conversation with my soul rather than just my physical self. You were able to help me quiet down all the chaos and just listen to my soul’s wisdom.
You helped me because you were talking to me on a soul level, things made so much sense on that level.
The external influences cleared away like heavy fog, and I could focus on what was really important.
You were like a first responder for the soul. Regardless of the outcome, I understood what was important. I was clear.
The result was that I needed to fight for my daughter’s sake. I’m a very honest and just person. And I always want to make sure that I’m making the right decision for the innocent and in God’s eyes. Unfortunately, people take advantage of my kindness and try to make me feel wrong when I know otherwise. At that moment, I needed to understand what was most important for my daughter. It became clear which path I needed to take in order to fight for my daughter’s best interest. Regardless of the outcome, I needed to fight for the sake of my child and God would handle the rest.
Thank you for speaking to my soul and clearing away the fog so that I could see what was most important and what I needed to do.

Meagan P, USA, 2022

I contacted Debbie Happy Cohen for coaching during a time when my life was falling apart. We started our meetings in August, 2022. I was unable to think clearly and headed in a downward spiral. We spoke about things that were extremely sensitive and she held a space for me without judgment. I was provided with material that has helped me re-evaluate my relationship with myself, and tools that provide a focus on healing which in turn give me balance in my life. It’s now December, 2022. I still have a lot of work to do, however with Debbie help, I am finally believing that it’s possible. I have found courage I didn’t even know I had. Thank you so much, Happy!

Ted N, USA, 2022

A while back, I saw a post on Facebook referring to healing trauma by Debbie Happy Cohen. Well I’ve had a life of trauma from growing up in the foster care system, being molested by foster mothers Fathers hell even my social worker . But at 59 years old is there really another way of truly dealing with crap I’ve dealt with all these years? I’ve done the traditional therapy’s all my life , and sure they worked a little but never really had peace , and it still affected my relationships both personally and professionally. So I thought what the hell let’s reach out to her and see what she has to offer .. THANK GOD I did ! The tools she has taught me to deal with trauma were nothing I had ever been told or taught before . With in a few sessions I could see my life changing, now don’t get me wrong I had to to work at it but I wanted change , I was tired of doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Today I have the tools and support to make life better and finally feel free from the bondage that held me for so long. Who would have guessed things could change after 59 years . Now I’m 60 and feel that this is a new stage of life that I can live free from my past . My only regret is I didn’t meet her years ago . If you need a change or have had to deal with a life of childhood or even adult trauma I would highly recommend her to help and guide you to a new way of living.

Lisa C, UK, 2022

I came to Debbie at a low point in my life. I was depressed, suffering from CPTSD as a result of being brought up in an abusive and neglectful home due to my narcissistic mother and enabling father who were both very cruel, withdrawn and selfish. I was rejected, unloved, ignored and felt like a nuisance. A huge issue for me was food. Prior to having coaching with Debbie, I used to feel guilty at every meal time. Eating 3 meals a day was difficult for me, as I was brought up to starve. I was frequently hungry. I no longer have the guilt of eating at meal times. I also used to think much more about the emotional abuse I experienced as a child and young adult, especially the frequent silent treatments and rage and I now deal with them more effectively. All this is thanks to Debbie for providing me with the resources to deal with emotional flashbacks.

Debbie gave me invaluable one-to-one coaching which has been life changing for me. She is professional, caring and extremely empathetic. She is an amazing coach and am so glad I have had the opportunity to work with her for 8 months. I feel that Debbie has moved me from a state of ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’ and helped me heal a great deal.

Shout out to the GREATEST LIFE COACH in the World!!!! Debbie Happy Cohen and I just had a great short and very important phone call. I was having major back pain and was on the phone with Debbie for 20 minutes and voila!! It’s gone!!! Woot woot!! Much much better than having to wait to get into the Drs. Office next week and paying the co-pay, etc. Especially when I know it’s a mind body connection in the first place!! Much appreciation to you Debbie!!! 😘😘😘

Michele Stone, Tampa, Feb 27, 2020

I’ve posted the more detailed testimonials with permission, but with anonymity.

Health Coach, Business Woman, 2020

What prompted me to work with Debbie was knowing that there was something within me that was blocking me from moving forward in my business. And because the nature of the business was so important to my soul, of being a force for good in the world, changing people’s lives, it was more than a business – it was a moral obligation. And what had kept me from seeking Debbie’s help before, was based on money. Pinching pennies. Always feeling like I didn’t have enough. But there came a point, where I knew that the only way to reach my goal would be to invest in coaching. And that was the one thing that was missing in moving forward.

It was October 2017. My numbers were dropping and I knew something had to change. Fortunately, they hadn’t dropped much, but it was significant enough to grab my attention.

So I sent a text to Debbie from the tarmac, before the plane took off, because I knew that if I had a few hours, I could talk myself out of that commitment.

Income from my business has doubled. I have overcome fears that literally made me sick to my stomach, such as making a video to show on a private facebook page. Which turned into putting videos on a public youtube channel. Which turned into doing a facebook live without really a second thought. And certainly without being bedridden for 3 days because the process was so traumatizing.

Improvements in personal relationships with my husband, with my mom. Improved boundaries with people that I allowed to scare the shit out of me. And, to feel more comfortable in my skin and allow my freak flag to fly!

In the beginning, I felt like I was supposed to have homework done and that there was going to be rigid structure. I was wrong. It is an adventure. It’s intuitive. And once I understood that I never really knew how it was going to go, but the end result was always surprising, enlightening and sometimes mind-shifting, I began to really, really look forward to coaching sessions.

If you’re thinking about signing on to work with Debbie, I say: Absolutely. Without a doubt. Don’t think about it another minute.


Sales Woman, 2020

Being in commission sales, my schedule is “all the time.” In my career, there are a lot of plates spinning. When Debbie and I started working together, my business was in chaos central and I was completely overwhelmed. I didn’t know what to do, I just had so much coming at me and I didn’t know how to organize it. I knew I needed help. Intuitively, I knew that Debbie was the one to coach me. And I was right.

Since we started working together, I’m making better choices with my time and my energy. I don’t feel like I’m missing things along the way. I’m happier, my clients are happier and I’m making more money!

In working with a coach, I need somebody who will stand WITH me and AGAINST me, simultaneously. I would walk all over other people. Debbie stands firm and holds me accountable to the things that really count. She will not let me walk all over her. And as a result, I get to win. She identifies what it is that will work best for my personality in business systems, and in personal growth. Then she coaxes me into implementation.

Debbie has kept me on a consistent schedule for more than two years. Miracles do happen. Working with her is not just about business, but breaking through the emotional and personal roadblocks and barriers that used to hold me back, which kept me from growing and thriving. Taking personal time and NOT working – actually balancing life and work – is also part of what I’m learning to do.

I would definitely recommend Debbie to anyone who is truly willing to be coached. You have to be open to trying something new, to making changes and doing the work.

Professional Artist and Longtime Meditator, California, 2020

Debbie, you had a powerful presence in Feminine Power, a course that we took together.

When you invited me into Joy-Based Living, that’s when I took a faithful step in a direction that was still pretty unclear to me but intuitively felt was right for me. I noticed that I was actually resistant to the concept of joy in my life. At the time, I was pretty busy all the time and yet confused and unclear on what I wanted from my life or where to focus my energy.

I found the idea of Joy-Based Living fascinating and it dawned on me that this is something sadly lacking in my life but also that it wasn’t what i thought it meant at first. Knowing how you intuitively knew what would propel our Feminine power group forward, coming up with ideas and thoughts to engage us beyond our edge, I had full trust that you would be able to propel us all onto a new level in our development whether it be personal or business. You’re pretty much on the pulse of what’s needed at any given time. That impressed me. That, as well as your dedication and warmth and your tender care.

Since we’ve been working together, I have gained a more solid understanding of myself and what I really want. With your support I have been able to work through and get a grip on my emotional flashbacks resulting from CPST. I now have a tool box that I can use in challenging situations. You founded and fostered a community of supportive people that are moving in the same direction of self inquiry and curiosity of what is possible. Not in a competitive way, as it usually is in groups. Here, everyone cheers each other on for whatever successes small or big. It’s a very unique group. I find it helpful to have this support in understanding myself and able to show up authentically as well as seeing that I am not alone on my path.

You are very supportive, caring, warm yet also focused on results and getting to the point. Very professional. Very intuitive too, you know where to focus on to get me past my blocks to where I need to be going next.

I would definitely encourage someone to work with Debbie if they are serious about doing the work on themselves on a regular basis. As long as they understand that they have to keep working on concepts and not just do a 5-week class and be done with it. I think it’s a lifelong process, kind of like meditation, or going to the gym. It’s something you learn once and then you keep using for the rest of your life. What you have to offer is more than just telling someone what to do next. It’s a guiding process in learning how to understand ourselves better and ultimately see ourselves the way you do – living our true nature, which is joy.

Professional Artist and Art Teacher, Florida, 2020

Before we started working together, I was lost on a spiritual level. I wanted to believe, but something was holding me back. I knew there was something more but I wasn’t able to articulate my dreams. You helped me imagine that I could at least be an artist. That it was more than a hobby. And it was something I could fulfill because it’s part of who I am. Then I had all these dreams and I couldn’t figure out how to make them happen. You helped me begin to realize my potential, little by little, and it has evolved into teaching art classes on a worldwide scale, across the globe.

My main hesitation about working with you was believing in myself. There was something calling me that led me to a newspaper article in 1999 which was promoting a class you were teaching. You helped me overcome my disbelief in myself by watching movies like The Karate Kid and My Fair Lady, and reading books like SARK and The Artists’ Way. You tapped into who I am and the things that would ignite my personality through these books and movies. Prior to you, I didn’t know who they were, and they changed my life by helping me see what was possible for me.

Since we’ve been working together, I’ve experienced the following changes:

One is – I thought art was a hobby and now it’s my vocation.

Two – I discovered that I’m a fantastic teacher and have realized that potential.

Three – I went from sort-of, kind-of thinking that I could do art to someone who is realizing her full potential as well as the influence she can have on others. My confidence level has gone from this wishy-washy girl to “holy fuck I can do this.” I always wanted to be a leader and now I am becoming the leader I always wanted to be. This is happening naturally and organically through our work together.

With ease and natural flow, you’re like the big sister I never had, who is gentle and assuring when I’m afraid, and tough when I need to put on my big-girl panties. You know just how to guide me to help me tap into my fullest potential. You have this gentle way of giving me deadlines without making it excruciating. As a result, I have been able to accomplish more than I’ve ever dreamed.

I freakin’ talk about you all the time. I always call you my life coach, and then I say that you help eradicate all the things that hold you back so you can live to your fullest potential. You guide your clients on a deep dive that’s also gentle and caring. This allows them to feel heard, understood, and to discover the possibilities within themselves.

Young Man, College Student, 2020

Before we started working together, I was in a general state of apathy. I had no love for myself and I had a false sense of love for other people. And not in a way where I was benefitting, or them. I was looking for a general desire to fulfill my needs and goals. It was probably in one of the most emotionally traumatic portions of my life.

I didn’t have a lot of hesitation working with you. I think all it really took was the gentle nudge after I’d just gotten out of my second really bad relationship. What I really needed was to silence my little rat-like brain which couldn’t stay focused for long enough to stop my pain or solve my problems. You are a friend I’ve trusted for years and I’ve held you as an emotional confident and as a very wise and well-versed human being in the course of my life.

Emotionally I feel more stable and more secure, not only about my desires and wants and needs but I also feel that I am suffering less from the mere thought of a relationship. I’ve yet to try to get back in the dating pool but I finally feel like I’m working my way toward going back with a renewed sense of confidence.

I feel better about my overall emotional choices and I feel like I can talk to people about my personal feelings now, because at this point in my life I don’t need to be restricting or confining myself in ways that just seem to hurt me.

I also feel like I’ve had a renewed sense of conviction for myself and for the people I’m with. Thanks to this work, I’ve been able to start creating reasonable boundaries, not only with my family but also with my friends, and slowly but surely, even with my employer.

Working with you is definitely a ride and it is not for the faint of heart. If someone wanted to sign on with you, I would say they would need to come on with a good attitude. I think the best phrase here is: If you come to work with Debbie, you better “nut up or shut up.” You will come out with a lack of apathy toward your life, clarity about your desires and a greater sense of your personal power.


Praise for the Joy-Based Living 12 Practices E-Book & Community 

I LOVE it!! I think this is so great for this time in our culture! I think you have a great structure down, and it’s clearly communicated for everyone to understand. I love the art, and I completely agree with all of these tools for joy!!!
– Marie Joy Hunt, Florida, Actress

Without paying thousands of dollars, people can have ongoing, empowering conversations to uplift their lives.
I looove to be:
– Natalie, Vienna, Professional Singer

I just finished getting my “introduction” (courtesy of the ever-more-amazing Debbie Happy Cohen) to this ‘branch of the JBL river”… and I am blown away at what has been set up here! In my eyes, it’s like, here’s the makings of a doctor’s degree program in Humane Communication for the Age of Technology right here, staring us in the face! (Cue wildly cheering crowd noises!) 🙂
– Willy Mathes, http://www.bookeditorcoach.com

Oh, I love it! The way you incorporated audio and visual and ties it all together, genius!
– Claudia, California, Artist

I love my life! Tuesday, a co-worker said, “I want to live with your attitude. I need a support system like you have!!!! I have invited her to my JBL group. That’s when Mentor of JOY hit my heart. I have been smiling for two days.
– Betsy, Atlanta, Marketing Director

I loved that it was so user-friendly. The audios along with the guide were amazing 🙂The illustrations are beautiful and the text is easy to read. Thank you for the wonderful audios where you explain each step.
Lizette, Florida, Teacher, Author

The JBL Beginner’s Guide is a worthiness workout.
Madlen, Vienna

Testimonials for Debbie’s original, personalized Fairy Tales:

I felt so supremely seen, known, heard and witnessed by you surprising me with a Story that you wrote especially for Me. It was deeply moving at a soul level, to listen to you reading aloud to me, a story that I knew was for me. That was a new experience and a first – something being written expressly for me, in my honor. You were clearly inspired and guided in writing it, as it reflected core truths – subtle and more evident – that you held up to me as a mirror to fully express and share – including my magic and power to inspire, transform, create well-being, cultivate relationships that matter, and re-weave community. When one of our mutual friends told me that she had listened to and loved “my” story about Inka, I felt the specialness of this even more.
When I was growing up, I loved fairy tales. In my living room are several of my exquisitely illustrated most prized collections from my childhood. You connected me with that happiness, and also the magic of knowing that now others will have the joy of reading “my” fairytale, All For Inka. I can’t wait until you call and surprise me again, with another story you write, just for Me.
~ Danila Szekely, Boston

Dearest Debbie,
I was blown away and in tears when hearing the story of Stella the Bluebird.
What a surprise! What a precious gift!
Your Magic Tale has brought love and warmth to a cold and lonely place, hidden in the darker caverns of my childhood. Your Nurturing Magic Branches extended out to me, read me at my core and tenderly embraced a speechless little Me. Naming things you couldn´t have possibly known, your Fairy Tale has created a healing field for me and opened pathways to express the love i was told i didn´t have.
Better than 10 years of therapy!!!
What exquisite Life Magic gifting me with You and your Magic Stories showing up in my life! I feel blessed.”

~ Natascha Jean-Marain, Vienna, Austria

As adults, we need fairy tales. Your fairy tales have ignited a magical fire in my imagination, a fire which hasn’t been lit for a long time . . . or, it is as though my imagination had become black and white… and your stories have brought the color back! I feel the return of innocence and the magic of a child opening a present!” 

~ Paula Hulley, Artist, Balgowan, South Africa

“These bedtime stories are for busy parents, JUST PRESS PLAY!
They are for the inner child in all of us, and for children of all ages.”
~ Sandina Rizzo, San Mateo, California
“These are the kind of fairy tales every child should have.”
~ Keisha in Jacksonville, Oregon

“Dearest Debbie,
Wow what a delightful surprise you embedded in Lila the Lemur’s story! 
Duncan and I settled in to listen to it last night as part of his bedtime routine and then we heard my name – he giggled and wriggled with delight as you repeated it in the story.  Thank you. I am honoured that I share my name with Lila’s little sister!! I need to listen again and again but wanted to make sure I thanked you right away. 
Thank you for embracing me in so many ways! 
~ Milisa Burns, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Testimonials from the Wholehearted Mastermind class:

Others have noticed that I’m stronger and more empowered. That I’m more likely to stand up for myself and that they see I am more empowered. My light is shining brighter than before.
2/10/2017 8:42 PM

I feel a difference. I am going to miss our calls. It felt like a family.
2/10/2017 6:58 PM

This is great material!
2/10/2017 10:25 AM

It seems this is just the beginning of a journey of a new way of living and connecting with others and myself and higher source. LOVE IT! Thank you so much, Debbie! With much Gratitude and love
2/9/2017 5:34 PM

This is a pivotal experience and the beginning of some extraordinary movement to who knows where! I am filled to the brim with a level of gratitude that I have truly never felt before. Ya-hoooo!
2/8/2017 11:38 PM

Friends have said I’m standing taller and not playing small. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the group.
2/8/2017 1:55 PM

Testimonials from the JBL 7-week women’s intensive class:

“I am finding true JOY in my Joy Based Living Group. Each person in the group inspires me and I have a community where I do not have to hide my darkness or my brilliant shining light. I love being on the leading edge.”
Catarina De Hoyos, St. Petersburg, Florida

I highly recommend this course. 7 weeks for a big shift in my life. BIG Thanks.
Betsy Brannen, Atlanta, GA

I am grateful and inspired to be a part of this joy-based living group. Debbie’s energy is contagious and she calls me out of my routine focus on roles and responsibilities to a place of inner awareness, acceptance, and yes, JOY!
Sheri K Levens, LMHC, Florida

“Taking Debbie’s Joy-Based Living class has inspired me to practice vibrant self-care, has given me a solid foundation to explore obstacles that have held me back, and encourages me to stretch my wings and really soar. I’m taking positive steps forward with a big YES.”
Kimberly Finn, Florida

“Debbie is vastly experienced in all areas of life coaching and motivating people to be their best selves.  She does it with kid gloves so to speak, never aggressively or shaming the person for needing the help they sometimes are nervous about needing.  Debbie is thoughtful, insightful and so in touch with the needs of the people she is assisting. Her expertise makes the sometimes difficult task of internal work much easier.”
Vivian M., Ohio

“Debbie is a wonderful group leader and teacher. She is extremely organized and creates an atmosphere of safety & openness among all participants of our group. The sense of trust that she has fostered within our group is very empowering.”
Brenda R Gregory, Florida

“Through the support of the inspired ladies, in-depth studies of Mario’s teachings, and with Debbie’s experienced guidance – I have explored and implemented simple daily acts towards myself that are so important to well-being and happiness yet are often brushed aside in the daily hustle of busy life.  In the most loving way, Debbie guides us to examine basic and pervasive aspects of life that effect us deeply, as we powerfully recreate a culture that honors our full potential.”
Misa Christina, Japan

Testimonials from the 2-hour workshop
Joy-Based Living: Vulture Culture:
Spring cleaning for your mind and your life

Hi Debbie… it was an honor to participate in the workshop. I felt that I did some good “work” there and have continued. [A friend who also attended the workshop] and I went to lunch the next day and I caught myself shaming her about food… what’s that all about? I immediately told her she didn’t have to take that and apologized for it. She didn’t recognize it at first as shaming, but then realized and we both had a good talk about it and the workshop. I like it when I recognize my foibles before others. Then I can stop the unhealthy behavior before it lands on someone else. I also see that I do a lot of shaming of myself around food. So, good work… Thank you for presenting this in such a helpful way. I would love to go further with it. I understand you may be offering VC 1.2. I want to come to that! YAY! Debbie!

I learned that my doubts and insecurities live only in my limiting thoughts. Replace with unlimited.

I am in the process of cleansing.

My magic rock.

That you should always honor yourself.

I need to work on changing the stories I tell myself.

Standing in my power is an inside job – once accomplished, I will attract other people who will honor me…

Thank you for sharing this information in the community you live in. Takes courage. I applaud you. I celebrate you! Community – I ache to have a group that practices and supports well-being and to practice language and healing fields together

Magic Rock affirmation. Inspired.

Hope. Motivation.

The trash in my life.

It’s okay to clean my life, stay away from people who don’t bring me joy.

I feel lighter and on the right path.

I am not standing alone!

Ultimately, you reminded me, us–the group–that standing for yourself & others, and gathering together a tribe of those who’ll do the same for themselves and you… well, that’s really all you need…Or in other words… ‘Amore Solum Opus Est’… ‘All you need is love.’

More Coaching Testimonials

Since the early 80’s, I’ve been fortunate to receive both business coaching and life coaching from some of the best, and certainly, I’ve benefited from them all. Debbie Cohen stands out from the rest for her extraordinary insight, deep compassion & empathy, and uncanny out-of-the-box approach to both problem-solving and inspiring the very best in me, which of course includes expanding my joy. I’ve met few people more encouraging or capable of broadening my perspective than her, and I highly recommend Debbie as a coach of the highest order.
Will Mathes, M.A. Ed.

Debbie is a shining light, a powerful coach and skilled facilitator for those who want to experience the greater joy that comes with connecting with the truth of their own worthiness.  With practical and deep wisdom, she masterfully shows us how to experience a new sense of wellness and empowered relationships in our lives that are learned more easily within a committed group of future-focused people guided by the shared values and practices of joy-based living.  She inspires courage and creativity as she supports us to be our Best Self and shine our light. Debbie is an inspiration and joy in my life, and I know she will be in yours.
Danila, Boston, MA

Appreciation for SANCTUARY by Heidi

As stressed in the second chapter of SANCTUARY: Words Matter.

Putting a name to things is very liberating.
As naming and explaining give us a new context, they open perspectives, and thus give us new ways of dealing with things – especially emotions and repetitive patterns of behaviour.

After 25 years of feeling flawed and subhuman and generally all wrong, putting a name to my condition – PTSD – set me free to finally pursue a path of healing.

Sanctuary gave me a lot more names still. CPTSD and CPTSR, co-dependency, toxic shame, to name just a few. It also enabled me to diagnose my cat as an overt narcissist constantly demanding all my TEA (time, energy, attention).

The shift from being someone with a disorder to being someone with an ordinary response to extraordinary circumstances was immediate and huge for me.

I am now free to honour myself for having been able to meet traumatic experiences with a response that kept me alive and sane.

I see the lingering unresolved and unprocessed emotions as nothing to be ashamed of. Sanctuary gives context and meaning to otherwise puzzling patterns of self-sabotage I went through repeatedly without knowing why or how to get out.

From giving names and perspective, Sanctuary goes on to give hands on practical “how tos” – to the point and get-started-today style. For example how to get out of the circle of self perpetuating trauma and shame. The vital skills you have to acquire, the mindset shifts you need to make in order to start healing.

There’s a lot more personal takeaways I could write about here.

Instead I’ll just say Sanctuary is a very deep book. You can read it several times over and you’ll take away something new every time.

It is based on a very healthy and healing mix of psychology, spirituality and common sense.
It’s unbiased and free from any agenda.

Sanctuary is also the very first book on trauma I ever read that has humour, and even the potential to instil joy into me. Debbie Happy Cohen’s writing style is personal, intimate, immensely empowering and enjoyable.

Last but not least there’s a lot of resources referred to in the book for further reading and going in deeper. Definitely check out all the resources on the author’s homepage JoyBasedLiving.com !

As everybody should have a sanctuary so everyone should read Sanctuary. Trauma causes pain and fear. Which in turn make us small, disempowered and open to manipulation. Which in turn are the root causes of the state our world is in today.

Or so I believe.

Thank You for this book.

Heidi Bobal, sound engineer, musician, co-founder of brilliantvoices.net