Book Review: The Power of Heart

by Amy BlochSt. Martin's Press
reviewed by Kathryn Drury Wagner
Power of Heart cover

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What does it mean to live heart-first? Knowing your own strength, exhibiting courage, showing persistence. “The force that gets you through when others might give up, when you might feel like giving up, has little to do with reason or intellect,” explains Dr. Amy Bloch in her new book. 

Bloch is a mother of four and a psychiatrist. But her biggest life education and professional insights have come courtesy of her daughter, Emily. 

Emily was born with brain damage in the form of watery spaces where parts of her brain should be. In addition to cognitive challenges, she has physical challenges from cerebral palsy. Accomplishing simple tasks like feeding the family dog take considerable grit and patience for Emily, now a young woman. But these are qualities Emily has in spades. She is, her mom writes, “the most emotionally resilient person I know.” Take, for example, when a beloved teacher was leaving her school. Her response was “Wow, that’s new.” She doesn’t judge the need to keep trying; she just keeps trying. 

Bloch shares how living with Emily has inspired some of her work with patients. For example, she shares ideas for how to return to a neutral emotional stance in the face of anxiety, doubt, and pain. “Answers are not always available,” she writes, “the certainty of a specific outcome is not possible, some things are unknowable, and that’s when we need to tap into what heart knows.”

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