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What's Behind Your Belly Button?: A Psychological Perspective of the Intelligence of Human Nature and Gut Instinct Paperback – 8 Nov 2011

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More About the Author

Martha Char Love was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, and grew up primarily in Georgia and Mississippi (yes, she is a "Georgia Peach"!). Presently, Martha lives in the Hawaiian Islands.

She received her BS in Elementary Education in 1968 and an MA in Educational Psychology in 1970, with a 5th year certificate in Psychometry in the School Psychology department. She was a counselor/instructor in the '70s and early 80's, working as both a career counselor and instructor at Meridian Junior College and later in a large community college, Santa Fe Community College (SFCC), in Gainesville Florida, as well as a licensed School Psychologist for the Alachua County Schools K-12. It was at that time that she first wrote a text for her classes with her colleague, Robert Sterling, about the gut instinctive responses that they were discovering with people they were working with in career exploration.

In 2005, she received her MA in Depth Psychology and continued her study of the gut instinctive response in a research study at Sonoma State University. In 2008, she received her PMA in Art Therapy. Her research on gut instincts at Sonoma State has been published in two articles for "Somatics Magazine" (with a world-wide distribution) in Spring 2007 "Using Somatic Awareness as a Guide for Making Healthy Life Choices" and in Spring 2008 "Healing the Trauma of the Body/Mind Split through Accessing Instinctual Gut Feelings: A Protocol for Facilitating the Somatic Reflection Process (SRP)" These articles may be partially viewed on her website at

After years of study and new medical breakthroughs supporting the intelligence of the gut brain, she and Robert Sterling have written a groundbreaking book "What's Behind Your Belly Button" introducing a new Gut Psychology exploring the intelligence of human nature and gut instincts for optimal well-being and healthy decision-making.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x8cb9b744) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ccef804) out of 5 stars Two brains are better than one! 30 April 2012
By Annette Aiea Day, MA - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This work is a culturally fascinating exploration of self-development--and what determines how, and why, we develop our unique sense of Self. The authors share an in-depth look into the universal feelings we all share and recognize--fear, guilt and anger--and how with self reflection we can can use this knowledge for connection and growth, leading to a better life experience for all involved. Using clinical and research studies, along with current neurological findings in the fields of medicine and biology, the book shows how the full, 'inside person' develops based upon their own gut feelings, which they use to relate with their world. "What's Behind Your Belly Button" offers a new and clear view of what it means to have communication between the gut--emotions and feelings--and the brain. In this cutting-edge psychological perspective, Martha Love and Robert Sterling truly do prove that 'two brains are better than one'--because this way of self discovery leads to a life that is rich with success, healing, and a deep whole Self knowing. Their 'Somatic Reflection Process' is one of the most enlightening approaches towards understanding human nature that I have encountered--and I plan to use it in my own work with the discovering Self as an integral part in any healing process. Beautiful job!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cce6570) out of 5 stars Fascinating Protocol for Uniting the Gut and the Mind 4 Feb. 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase



Authors Love and Sterling point out in their dedication of this book to the youth of the 50s and 60s, that they were the first to realize the power love and peace offers in uniting the various differences within humanity. This was not explainable then -- just a "gut feeling".

Since those times the authors have, through extensive research and counseling sessions, along with neurological studies, been able to identify the gut as a second brain; one more in tune with somatic reactions to stress and emotional feelings. Once people learn how to combine the two brains, it becomes possible to use that natural combination to experience healing, stress reduction and dis-ease.

The authors, working on the premise that "nature creates the situations called problems and man discovers the solutions," present a protocol for "facilitating the Somatic Reflection Process". An external guide called a facilitator guides the patient through a process of acceptance of feelings, past and present, allowing the person to share emotional inner needs which are often the cause of physical distress. People through language, such as, "I feel like I got punched in the gut," or " I got a gut instinct about this," have always sensed that the gut was the seat of emotion leading to illness and duress. Many actors routinely throw up before a performance; others become nervous over something and experience diarrhea or cannot eat.

Using the Somatic Process can help people bring the internal, often deep-seated emotions of loneliness, an empty gut feeling, and myriads of distressing emotions to the surface; to examine these feelings and their origin which are mostly buried in the subconscious mind during childhood. Working through these unresolved memories can result in "full gut - empty mind," freeing the patient from real and misconceived ideas causing physical and mental pain, which dissipates once the instinctual needs are both met and accepted. This process is exceptionally advantageous in dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

The authors maintain that today's lifestyles tend to ignore inner feelings, operating on outside systems of thought. This is an extraordinary book, one that can be referred to each time a person feels that "empty gut" sensation. The solutions are laid out in simple steps throughout this phenomenal book.

Micki Peluso: writer, journalist, and author of . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ccefccc) out of 5 stars Life Changing 23 Mar. 2012
By Ann Russell - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for anyone who is interested in understanding their gut feelings and instincts to improve their life. I recommend it particularly for parents who want to learn how to educate and nurture the feelings of the child and not just the academic brain. "What's Behind Your Belly Button?" goes beyond any book I have read so far in explaining gut feelings and their psychological makeup. When I read this book, I was able to finally understand why it is so easy to overeat by confusing the emptiness feeling in the stomach as always being a need for food rather than the more psychological needs that the authors demonstrate them to relate to. After reading through some of the dialogs on gut feelings presented in this book, I understand myself better than I ever have before. Martha Love and Robert Sterling have presented a new image of who we are as human beings and what it means to have an intelligent center in the gut to learn to consciously use to communicate with the intelligence in our head to make healthy decisions, not just in what we eat but in everything that we do and don't do.
I particularly liked the chapter on education and the lengthy letter they included that they had sent to President Obama about the importance of the education of our gut feelings in the educational process to help people learn to make healthy decisions.
I think that this book is equally valuable for professioals in Psychology or the Medical fields, as well as for all the rest of us, as it is both deeply personal at times and yet very well researched. I think nearly everyone could benefit from reading "What's Behind your Belly Button?" It gives a hopeful new view of human kind and would make a good gift for anyone.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8ccef900) out of 5 stars An important book 29 Aug. 2013
By Grant Soosalu - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is an important book, it brings a focus to the deep value of the gut and the role that gut instinct and wisdom plays in our lives. There's a lot behind your belly button, and your life can be changed by truly understanding that. Recent neuroscience evidence has shown we have a complex, adaptive and functional neural network or 'brain' in our gut. The authors of this book describe their work and insights on this gut brain and the competencies it is involved in. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the important distinctions of the intelligence of the gut.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8cceff9c) out of 5 stars MUST READ!!! 28 Aug. 2012
By WANAGL - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a MUST READ for anyone who is searching for answers to why we have "gut feelings or instincts". This book speaks to me in so many ways, and has helped me get in touch with feelings from childhood and the gut instincts that have a part of my decision making as an adult.
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