Sharon Heller, Ph.D., is the author of The Vital Touch and teaches courses in psychology. She received her master's degree from the University of Chicago and her doctorate from Loyola University of Chicago. She lives in South Florida.
Heller, a developmental psychologist, knows firsthand how difficult life can be for people suffering from sensory defensiveness (SD). Symptoms include flinching from touch; overly acute senses of smell; fear of escalators; irritation at certain lights; and eating disorders. While these symptoms are often present from birth, for many other people they can be triggered by some traumatic event. Adding to the pain is the difficulty in diagnosing this ailment-some sufferers are told they have ADD or autism. Heller briefly discusses her own successful therapy and how it transformed her life. The book includes four sections-the first two focus on an overview of the condition, and the second two examine treatment, including diet, medication and relaxation techniques. Useful appendices list alternative treatments and resources. The writing is clear and relatively jargon-free, and sprinkled throughout the book are anecdotes from patients who have successfully battled SD. Patients who have this condition will find this book reassuring, especially since Heller discusses a treatment and usually follows up with a real-life scenario. For example, the section on light therapy ends with a success story of a woman who had learned to cope with her light sensitivity: "[Anna] realized that her eyes were wide open, no longer slits. She had spent years walking around in a haze, blinded by glare, with her brain taking in only a sliver of light." For people with SD, this title will wonderfully supplement their medical treatment. (Dec.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
"A fascinating account of how sensation can run amok and cause problems. "--New York Newsday