One of My Favorite Books About Healing + How I Use It In My Work

I love reading, and I am the type of person that has 5 different books going at the same time.  I always seem to pick up the right book at the right time.  One book that I’ve read in it’s entirety that I have referenced often in the therapy room is Healing: The Act of Radical Self-Care by the amazing Dr. Joi Lewis.

Dr. Joi is local consultant, coach, and facilitator in St. Paul, and I first was introduced to her work when I was writing my thesis on Race-Based Trauma, Art Therapy and Yoga Breathwork (pranayama).  I didn’t get a chance to read her book until after I had graduated (I had a million articles and tons of resources to sift through for my thesis by the time her book was recommended to me), but then I realized how similar her method was to what I had noticed for myself to be some major keys to healing.  Since being introduced to her work, I was able to meet her and engage with her in community!  She is a brilliant and amazing human.

I read Dr Joi’s book while I was on a plane to Mexico, which was the gift I gave myself after completing 3.5 years of graduate school, and two 200-hour yoga teacher trainings.  The book is short and sweet, but so filling and rewarding.  The copy I own is highlighted heavily with all of the gems within it.  I reference it often in my therapy sessions with clients, and all clients who have gotten her book have told me that they have loved it.

Dr Joi developed what she calls The Orange Method, which includes 4 practices: meditation, mindfulness, emotional liberation and conscious movement.  Dr Joi offers up some practices that are in-line with my own healing, and how I help others heal in session.  

Some examples of meditation practices that Dr. Joi offers include: affirmations, energy clearing, and ritual and routine.  My clients know that I love affirmation-writing, and most of my clients have done a 4-part affirmation writing exercise with me to address negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs.  I also practice very holistically, and love to infuse herbs, oils, and crystals into our work or into the space.  As a grief therapist, I am a huge advocate for routine or ritual to create a sense of grounding and structure.

Some examples of mindfulness that Dr. Joi offers include: addressing internalized oppression, and vision boarding.  I am a therapist that practices from a justice-oriented and anti-racist framework.  I love working with Black, Indigenous, other People of Color, and Allies on addressing internalized and systemic oppression.  Additionally, my birthday is New Years Eve, and my birthday ritual is to make a vision board.  As an Art Therapist, I have seen some awesome vision board magic in session with clients after they have made them.

Some examples of emotional liberation that Dr. Joi offers include: the use of mantras, leaning on community, and crying.  The mantras really vibe with my yoga background, as well as the affirmations previously mentioned.  Community heals, and that message is clear for me from lots of different places- my intuition and personal experiences, my Adlerian training, yoga philosophy, etc.  Honestly, the MAIN reason why I often times end up bringing up Dr. Joi’s work in sessions is because she talks about her love for what she calls “the ugly cry.”  I’ll admit that I am not a “crier” (we all cry and that’s natural and normal!) but my go-to is not crying.  I use this a lot as a source of validation for clients who feel self-conscious about crying.  Crying is so cleansing.  Dr. Joi recommends that folks cry EVERY DAY.

Some examples of conscious movement that Dr. Joi offers include: play, and leaning on community.  Play is an awesome way to connect with joy, and to re-parent our inner child.  Another point again for community.  Dr. Joi’s book includes SO many more awesome tips and tricks for all four practice types.

I have read Dr. Joi’s book many times, referenced in countless times in session, and have passed my copy off to friends several times.  This book is an amazing source of wisdom.  If you’re inspired to get grounded, get present, get free, and get going, I definitely recommend that you check out Healing: The Act of Radical Self-Care by Dr. Joi Lewis.


Blog by: Cassie Sawyer, MA, ATR-P, RYT, Art Therapist | Yoga & Reiki Practitioner
Photo by: Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels