Matters of the Heart – Pacific Book Review

Matters of the Heart

Ruth Cherry, PhD

Reviewed by: David Allen, Pacific Book Review

In the afterword to this fascinating and instructive book, Dr. Ruth Cherry writes, “Knowing our unconscious is the most important work any of us can do.” Matters of the Heart is a ringside seat into the life-changing work of psychologist Ruth Cherry, Ph.D. Dr. Cherry is in private practice in San Luis Obispo, California. Her specialty is the merging of psychological and spiritual dynamics. She assists her patients in identifying hidden parts of the personality – the unconscious, the ‘Shadow’ – and in resolving conflicts that originate in ‘subpersonalities’ in the unconscious.

This exceedingly well-written book is structured as follows. Dr. Cherry explains how remnants of traumatic childhood experiences live on in the unconscious mind and create the problems and downturns we experience in everyday life. Dr. Cherry’s exploration of the ‘Shadow’ side of personality
uncovers component subpersonalities such as the Child, the Mother, the Responsible Adult, the Victimizer, each of which can be evoked and provoked until a lasting peace is achieved with the ego, or waking personality. In a series of compelling vignettes, Dr. Cherry brings to life conflicts in her
patients that will be familiar to reading audiences. Anyone interested in self-help and psychology will find this tour vibrant, interesting, and always fascinating. Dr. Cherry’s website,, is an additional source of information about the author and her life work.

The author draws upon familiar concepts from Jungian analytic psychology. Dr. Car! Jung pioneered in clinical psychology the notion that each of us lives out a series of ‘archetypal’ personalities, such as the Hero, the Healer, and the Shaman (this is a shortlist). These ideas were further elaborated to a wider audience in the writings of Joseph Campbell, whose work has been popularized in film and television. Dr. Cherry inherits and evolves this intellectual legacy in her description of many additional archetypes, as brought forth in therapy sessions with her patients.

Dr. Cherry’s enthusiasm and dedication to healing the mind and heart resonate strong and clear. Her approach is contemporary, and she rises to the challenge of abuse, victimhood, and women’s issues throughout. In this time of pandemic shutdowns and increased time at home, the book affords the
reader a ‘couch-side experience of do-it-yourself psychotherapy. Each of the case studies is followed by instructions for relaxation, meditation, and for acquainting oneself with one’s inner ‘demons. Matters of the Heart is a brisk and highly educational read; there is something for everyone in these