Book Reviews

As a "caregiver" several times over (Nurse by training; primary caregiver for 86-year-old mom suffering from dementia; spouse of someone with a life-threatening illness, leadership coach), it was easy for me to read Ed's stories and see myself within them. His prose, stories, quotes, and references to esteemed authors provides validation for our common humanity. Ed's integration of humor helped me to notice my own shadows, and embrace them with compassion, and light. Perhaps most importantly, Ed helped to bring into the light the common syndrome of "compassion fatigue" where we, as caregivers, may come face-to-face with our darkest shadow where we find anger, hostility, sarcasm, and aggression Ed normalizes these reactions and aptly reminds us to practice forgiveness. His courageous, personal illustrations where he showcases his own vulnerability remind us that we are in conversation with someone who's "been there; done that." The Soul of Caregiving is not a book to be rushed through. It is a non-judging companion that one could pick up during many phases of our life.

— Joy W. Goldman RN, MS, PCC Certified Physician Development Coach Leadership/Executive Coach

Although I don't see myself as a caregiver, I know I have been in situations where I have given care to others. Reading this book has allowed me to pause and own the caregiving I have given to others. I can honestly tell you that I was pleasantly "sucked in" to the book. In the beginning, I was captured by Ed's reference to "Soul Pain". I believe we all can relate to some inner pain, but often times we don't know what it is, so it is almost impossible to identify it and put a name on it. I was quickly drawn in with the gentle tone of the book, the metaphors, and the humor. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Ed's personal experiences and being able to see his personality in his writing as I know him as a coaching colleague.

— Valarie Hayes, Certified Leadership Coach, Career Advisor.

Edward shares extensively from his wealth of life experience. This is a fascinating book on the profound differences between caretaking and caregiving. I highly recommend this book for the lifelong learner. Be prepared to do some soul searching.

— Barbara S. Hennessy, MS, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC)

Dr. Smink has written the ultimate guide for caregivers. The Soul of the Caregiver - A Caregivers Guide to Healing and Transformation is a work of art from the very first page to the last. For those who dare to take an intimate journey within oneself and look deep down inside of one's own soul and connect with their Higher Power as they never have before. This work of art will take you there. We cannot give what we ourselves have not yet discovered, Dr. Smink's book helps you discover that it is not what happens to us that is important, but what we DO with what has happened... that's the "transformation" we have all been looking for.

— Richard Hirbe, fsp, Masters of Pastoral Counseling, Board Certified Chaplain

The Soul of Caregiving has something for everyone, stories, academic research, enhanced definitions, an honest look at caregiving and one's role in it...and the sentence that says it all, "There is nothing objective about spirituality."

— Jean M. Lambert, SVP, Mission Integration, Catholic Health Initiatives, (retired)

Caregiving requires an openness to one's own vulnerability, as one is with another. Facing, understanding, and embracing one's own brokenness is not a necessary hurdle to overcome for being an effective caregiver, but it is the very soul of heroic caregiving. Dr. Smink takes us on an incredible rich and nuanced journey through the ages, evoking the sages of myths, symbols, psychology and spirituality to lead the reader along the redemptive mystery of caregiving and the inevitable call to self-truth and love at the heart of being not an effective but heroic caregiver. His "Timeout: A Moment of Reprieve - Time for a stop on the journey" at the end of each chapter provided ideal moments for honest self-appraisal and compassion. Thank you, Edward!

— David Lichter, D. Min. Executive Director, National Association of Catholic Chaplains

I was overwhelming expecting this book to be so "scholarly" that I would not be able to find myself in it. But instead, I found a gracefully flowing use of a body of work which moved perfectly from the Introduction to Chapter 10. What I discovered was a work that incorporates research in different cultures, religions, philosophies, medicine, psychology and other fascinating insights. The stories were phenomenal. I can see where readers can find themselves in some situation and can find benefit in the particular story. I found that each tale has a kernel or two of "therapy" or advice in it that can be useful in addition to the recognition and resemblance factors that readers will discover.

— Pearl Mohnkern, Regional VP of Human Recourses, CHRISTUS Health and Kentucky One Health HR Market Leader (retired)

The Soul of Caregiving is a most meaningful work not only for those who are caregivers in the healthcare industry but for all those who willingly give themselves in many caregiving ways to make others feel better. The work is pleasantly and surprisingly engaging leading me and I hope other readers to pause and reflect on our special calling as a caregiver, of the sacred and transformative work that we do, and how we can build compassion resilience with self-care.

— Dr Tom Royer, MD. CEO and Partner, Royer-Maddox-Herron Advisors

This is an excellent work. While I found parts of The Soul of Caregiving difficult to read and reflect on, Eds work has given me the opportunity to really think about my journey. I, as you know, do a much better job caring for others than myself. This is an area I continue to focus on. I try to share my learning with others in my life and those I work with. I think this will be a good read for everyone in a caring profession especially those who are ready to take time to reflect. What a different journey we all would have had had we reflected early on.

— Carol Schmekel BSN, MHSA, Schmekel Consulting

I was surprised to discover that my perspective about caregiving was broadened and enriched by Edward's work The Soul of Caregiving. This book takes its readers on a deeply reflective journey, and as such needs to be read slowly or as Edward has quoted "bit by bit." His sense of humor around a lot of the subject matter, added a lightheartedness and entry or permission to explore one's personal and professional life as a caregiver.

— Winifred Stump, BSN, RN, MS, CPPS, CHSP, System Director, Safety Programs, Catholic Health Initiatives Enterprise Risk Management Group

I really like the examples and illustrations. Throughout the book, the personal stories are so touching. These are a key element of the "story" Edward is telling and really illustrates the principles he is addressing in a practical way. The chapter on woundedness is profound. Certainly, this chapter can touch everyone. Whether the reader intends to or not, the theme of reflection engages the reader, touches on the danger and vulnerability of being involved as well as the opportunity for healing.

— John L. Zipprich II, General Counsel and Senior Vice President of International Collaborations for CHRISTUS Health (retired) and present board member of the SCH Healthcare System