Undaunted Spirits: Portraits of Recovery from Trauma

Mary Baures, PsyD


About the Book


What separates people whose lives are forever shattered by catastrophic loss from those who are able to discover meaning and purpose in such loss?


Psychotherapist Mary Baures answers this question by detailing 16 examples of individuals who experienced positive transformations after suffering an extreme trauma from injury, disease, death of a family member, criminal charges, imprisonment, and other extremely severe experiences.


Those interviewed, including Jeb Magruder, Elie Wiesel, Max Cleland, Andre Dubus and Mike Wallace, provide accounts of the devastating traumas they experienced. It is their hope, as well as author Mary Baures hope, that their experiences may serve example or blueprints for other people who are trying to overcome adversity.


Invaluable and inspiring reading for anyone who is trying to overcome a traumatic loss, And for mental health professionals who work in trauma recovery.



Sixteen Face-to-Face Interviews with:

Mike Wallace

Elie Wiesel

Deena Metzger

Andre Dubus

Jeb Magruder

Armando Valladares

Eleanor and Dick Grace

Donna Jenkins

Max Cleland

Richard Herrmann

Victor Davidoff

Anne Capute

Harold Kushner

Nackey Loeb

Patti Dean

Alan Langer


"What separates those individuals whose lives are forever shattered by catastrophes from those who are able to discover meaning and purpose from such events? Psychotherapist Baures attempts to answer this question by detailing 16 examples of people who have experienced severe traumas that ultimately helped them transform their lives in positive ways. Those interviewed include well-known personalities (Mike Wallace, Elie Wiesel, Rabbi Harold Kushner) and those with unfamiliar names, such as Eleanor and Dick Grace, who founded The Brain Center following the death of their daughter.


The work concludes with a list of ten methods of coping with tragedies that these "survivors" have employed during their journeys. This inspirational book would be a good addition to biography and psychology collections in larger public libraries."

— Library Journal

"This book is a pleasure to read, not only because of the wonderful lessons learned from the survivors, but the feeling that one is actually sitting with them, as Baures did. Passion and feeling are in this book. All of the people interviewed have learned to to use their passion to heal themselves and others."

— Bernie Siegel, MD

"Mary Baures shares these remarkably uplifting portraits with sensitivity, insight, compassion and genuine understanding."

— Journal of Traumatic Stress. Charles Figley, PhD, Founding Editor


"This book contains a set of journalistic accounts of how 16 individuals experienced positive self-transformations after a catastrophic event (e.g., injury, disease, death of a family member, criminal charges, imprisonment) . The featured individuals fell into three categories: those who were well known before their crisis (e.g., Mike Wallace), those who became public figures as a result of their crises (e.g., Rabbi Kushner), and those who are known only in their community. The author interviewed each person and uses quotes extensively. There is a brief introduction and summary of the author's view of the common themes that emerge in the lives of individuals who successfully cope with tragedy.


The author points out that much of the emphasis in the academic literature on stress and trauma is on consequent psychopathology (e.g., depression, PTSD). Thus, the book's purpose is to provide case studies that show positive mental health changes that can result from trauma. As such, the author asserts that these stories serve as "blueprints" for individuals trying to overcome tragedy.


As far as I know, it is the only book that addresses this important topic. The writing is at level that would be interesting both for mental health professionals and their clients who are dealing with trauma. In fact, it would serve as a useful bibliotherapy aid. An attractive photograph on the cover adds to the book's appeal. It contains no references. This is a readable and inspiring book for both clinicians and the general public. For university instructors, it would also serve as a nice complement to more academic books on coping. Yet it should be cautioned that the individuals presented are exceptional, so they serve more as ideals to strive for than normative case studies."


Bruce Rybarczyk, PhD, Director, Clinical Psychology Program, Virginia Commonwealth University


About the Author

Mary Baures, a psychologist who currently has a private clinical practice in Massachusetts, has over 25 years of experience helping people recover from trauma and loss, learn how to have better relationships, and find direction in life.


She holds a doctorate in clinical psychology (PsyD) from Antioch New England, a certificate of advanced graduate study (CAGS) in human development from Harvard University and has three master’s degrees: Master of Science in Clinical Psychopharmacology from Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology, one in counseling and one in creative writing, both from Boston University.


Dr. Baures is the author of the recently published book, Love Heals Baby Elephants: Rebirthing Ivory Orphans.


Touched by the plight of baby elephants orphaned after poachers slaughtered their parents for their ivory tusks, Dr. Baures traveled to Africa and adopted a traumatized baby elephant who had watched his family massacred. That visit inspired a series of photography safaris in which she learned about, and photographed, the strength, grace and majestic beauty of African wildlife. She also chronicled the devastating consequences of the brutal ivory trade.


Most importantly, Dr. Baures learned how, with help of some amazing people, a few of the orphaned and severely traumatized elephant calves managed to recover after losing their parents in such a brutal way. The book explores the miraculous journey back to trust that these elephants made. Dr. Baures learned that with love, community and play these elephant babies were helped to overcome their trauma. Dr. Baures has now adopted four baby elephants.


Thankfully, there are people who care enough to help these babies recover, but the horror of the global trafficking of elephant tusks and rhino horns through organized crime and corrupt governments continues. These wise and gentle giants are now on the brink of extinction.


Dr. Baures’ breathtaking book is an urgent call to action to stop the slaughter and imminent extinction of elephants.


For more information, go to: http://www.lovehealsbabyelephants.com

Softcover. 232 pages. ISBN-10: 0-914783-71-8. ISBN-13: 978-0-914783-71-8. List Price: $24.95