Ask Billie

“Billie” Klayman,

Some Books to Read

I was encouraged to read The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel Van Del Kolk, M.D. by a friend and colleague, Bonnie Miller, M.A., MFTI (soon to be licensed). When the #MeToo movement began, I noticed a visceral reaction in my body. I experienced a few days in mid-December of intense “blues.” I had not experienced those feelings since an assault on me in 2004. As I “talked out” my experience with Bonnie, who is a Somatic Experience Therapist, she was quite adamant in having me read his book.

What a wonderful addition to being an integrative therapist. It is December 26, 2017 as I write this article, so I am just starting to peel away each page. My own experience with multiple traumas in my 64 years has been profound in many ways. Every time I come through and each time I find myself astonished at my resilience and optimism. As I begin to delve into what Dr. Van Der Kolk posits, I’m discovering that all the talk therapy I have engaged in never dealt with those traumas in my body. I will write more about this topic in future articles.

The next book I recommend is The State of Affairs, by Esther Perel. Again, I am just starting to read her book as well, so more to come. This book deals with infidelity and how impactful that is on relationships of all kinds. I was inspired to buy her book as I listened to Terry Gross’s Fresh Air radio program on NPR. Ms. Perel has a refreshing attitude about intimate relationships and the complications that occur. What struck me most is her framing with couples after an affair is discovered. “Your first marriage is over. Would you like to create a second one together?” (Perel, 2017, p. 17).

As therapists, we often see couples coming to therapy well after the affair is discovered. The couple has tried to mend their relationship on their own, but the relationship continues to be fraught with ambivalence, guilt, shame, bitterness, resentment, anger, and a whole host of feelings often never before felt. For the therapist, the relationship might look like it is on its last breath. But if the couple is willing to endure and engage in couple’s therapy the relationship has a good chance of surviving. It will look different and feel different and that might be the transformation that needs to happen for the couple.

Perel, E. (2017) THE STATE OF AFFAIRS (1st ed.). New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

Valerie “Billie” Klayman, M.A., LMFT, an integrative Meaning Centered Therapist, became a supervisor at Antioch University Counseling Center in 2014. Billie initiated a partnership between AUCC and the Culver City Senior Center offering pro-bono therapy and group therapy to members of CCSC. December 2016, Culver City hired Billie to help residents of the community at the Culver City Senior Center. She’s presented on Substance Abuse and Addiction. Billie can be reached at