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HI Elizabeth- I LOVE The Courage To Heal!!!  Alice Walker's books are also classic.  I have recently read Supernormal: The Untold Story of  Adversity and Resilience  and it really resonated with me (though it addresses all 10 ACEs rather than just CSA).  And all of Brene Brown's books that talk about shame are excellent. Though she doesn't specifically address CSA as an origin of shame we know it is an unfortunate byproduct.

My absolute favorite is There's Nothing Wrong with You by Cheri Huber. She's a Buddhist (I'm not) and readers not be. It's about ending self-hate and how socialization, especially if we've had trauma, teaches us we are broken and how we try so hard to "be good" and to fix ourselves, and how self-love and self-compassion work much better. It's also great for showing what those concepts look like for people, like the author, who have been abused in childhood and may be learning what caring for the self even is.

I also like Laura Davis and her online writing prompts, which are free through her website and come out each week. Though they aren't only for survivors she and the rest of the community are way survivor friendly. 


I would not use Ellen Bass' The Courage to Heal. She is a poet, not a clinician. She also embraces the long since discredited "repressed memories." The net effect of that movement so popular in the late 1980s and early 1990s was that the courts began to doubt survivors based on expert testimony from memory researchers. Also, you may want to consider having different groups for survivors in different phases of their recovery. While different "schools" of psychotherapy differ on approaches, most of them agree that working on emotional regulation with survivors needs to be done before trauma processing. Some therapists will then work on social constructionist meaning making and existential spiritual, purpose in life concerns. There are a number of workbooks written by professionals that deal with these phases, though I would be careful not to "manualize" any approach. Therapy, no matter the modality (individual, group, family, couple), needs to be individualized and tailored to the unique situations of the people you work with. I would be trained in a number of approaches- CBT, EMDR, Expressive Arts Therapy, Somatic Experiencing, Sensorimotor, Narrative and Existential models of treatment and learn when each model may be the most effective with each client's individual concerns. This is not eclecticism, but an integrative approach where you are using intentionality when using any of the above approaches.  The VA has an app that attempts to match the individual qualities of the client with the approach.

You might want to look at Mind Matters: Overcoming Adversity and Building Resilience. It's  a 12 week workshop format (though can be flexibly arranged) with a personal journal for each participant. People build self-soothing skills then actually take the ACEs survey and finally are exposed and encouraged to adopt to a series of habits, based on current neuroscience, that will help them heal.

The journals contain the instructions needed for many of these tools and strategies so a person will find it very helpful as their journey progresses.

Let me know if you would like to see a complimentary online review copy.

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