My Grandfather’s Blessing: Book Review

My Grandfathers Blessing Rachel Naomi Remen

Rather than take Psyc 101, this book will help you understand Humanistic Psychology in a much easier way. This book is about healing and wholeness, not about medicine and technique; it is about human beings hearing, listening, and being with eachother.

The author: Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D.

As a young women Rachel had Crohn’s disease and she wasn’t supposed to live to 21. She grew up in a family of Jewish physicians: her father and grandfather, and her mother a social worker.

When she was 21 she was very much alive and had just graduated medical school. She did a residency and then went to California. By the age of 27 she was the head of pediatrics at Stanford hospital. She was highly competitive and highly successful and tells the story of not being in touch with her own life as she had developed her life around being a doctor.

She decided to leave medicine in her early 30’s and began to study psychology and became a Jungian therapist. As a result of that transition she began to listen to people’s stories very differently and write about those stories. She wrote stories that changed her life, both when she was at Stanford and the people she worked with in her therapy.

The book: My Grandfather’s Blessing

This book is a book of stories about the resiliency people have and their courage. The theme Rachel proves is: when people are listened to deeply, there is a healing phenomenon that takes place and allows them to become whole.

It’s easy reading and it’s about opening the heart. It’s also Rachel’s journey to opening her own heart.

Everybody asks Rachel how she got the name of the book, My Grandfather’s Blessing. She’ll always respond with a small comment. But if you get to be with Rachel, and are able to ask her to, “Tell me more about your grandfather…” she will reveal the true story behind the title:

Rachel’s grandfather was a Rabbi and she was an only child. She claims she was very spoiled and indulged by all the adults. One time her mother gave her a cookie when she was a teenager and she threw it on the floor and cried, “I’m not going to eat this,” and her mother was very angry and was about to make her pick it up when her grandfather came in from the study. He declared, “Oh my darling, what happened?!” He bent down, picked up the cookie, kissed it, and gave it back to her, and said, “This is my gift to you.” She had no idea what that meant until after she left Stanford. She finally learned: it was the blessing of forgiveness. And this theme is strong throughout the book.


My Grandfathers Blessing Rachel Naomi Remen

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