(Warning: There are some spoilers in this blog. I wanted to make sure my clients are warned by some of the contents.)
‘In Pieces’ by Sally Field is one of most integrated autobiographies I have read or actually listened to. I always have been a fan of Sally, I could watch her movies again and again. After listening to her audiobook recently, I developed a different level of respect for her. While listening to her emotional and haunting descriptions of the generational traumas suffered by her family and her own traumas, I wondered ‘how is this possible that she is so integrated and expressive, witty and sharp?’ Some parts of the story are really hard to listen to. She reveals that she was molested by a family member, and it comes as a shock in the book, as it must have come to little Sally. She also describes the birth of her first son, and the brutal methods used to get babies out of their mother’s body in the sixties. She also takes you to a ride to learn about some quirky celebrities and she truly makes you laugh out loud.
In spite of her immense suffering, there is a great deal of compassion and self-reflective capacity in her writing. I was not surprised to learn towards the end of the book that Sally has kept journals all her life and been in therapy for many years with Dr Dan Siegel (one of my heroes). Sally has done things that we as therapists often suggest to our clients/patients to enhance their healing and integration. I personally use many techniques and modalities and combine them to best serve my clients.
Sally also used her creative art form to learn about parts of herself, which is also something we encourage for those in our care. Often we look at parts or pieces of selves, and in this book, Sally beautifully describes how and why certain aspects of our self become hidden, thwarted, or end up being silenced or too loud.
If you feel ‘in pieces’ sometimes, or you are a therapist, or just someone who loves great writing, I suggest you read this book. I felt full of hope and awe when I finished reading this excellent autobiography.