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Recovering from Child Abuse: Healing and Hope for Victims Paperback – April 28, 2008
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About the Author
David Powlison, M.Div., Ph.D., is a faculty member and counselor at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF) with over thirty years of experience. He has written several books, including The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context, Seeing with New Eyes, and Speaking Truth in Love, many minibooks, including Facing Death with Hope; Healing after Abortion; Recovering from Child Abuse; and Renewing Marital Intimacy.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book does not mention any pragmatic approaches to healing at all. Things such as body work techniques (physical touch based techniques), somato-psychology (using psychotherapy techniques in combination with touch based techniques) various means of stress reduction (ranging from avoiding antagonistic relationships to nutritional considerations common for trauma survivors), attachment based healing (lack of attachment figure is where most of the damage comes from, so having an attachment based relationship is in fact one of the most crucial and powerful necessities for growth and healing) etc are not mentioned at all. Attachment and attachment damage is not discussed at all.
The book takes a spiritual approach, which is a good thing. However, it is erroneous in a few aspects in that regard. For one example, it says that healing takes years and we should expect slow progress over decades. This is not really Biblical. While it is true that most healing from the damage to brain and body caused by abuse will most often take years, God CAN heal the sick over night if He so chooses and I just heard of a woman the other day who was suddenly cured of dissociative identity disorder.
Also, I absolutley disagree with the book's critique offered on love. He argues that the traumatized person withdrawing or not trusting is not love. This is offensive to me and absolutely not true, and not bibilcal. This section of the book seeks to make the trauma survivor feel guilty for not being loving enough, when they are just doing what they need to do for their own healing and survival, in the midst of a life already marked by anguish and constant suffering.
In fact, the traumatized person may want more than anything to have someone to love, and wants and needs to bond with people in community even more than most (in fact, this is what was missing all their childhood, so they enter into adulthood desperately longing for it), but due to their trauma damage they are physically incapable of exposing themselves excessively to antagonistic people (many of these can be found at church). This can be dangerous to their survival, involving such things as vomiting from stress overload followed by knock-out depression which can last weeks, hurtling the person into horrible extremes of mental and physical anguish, destroying their threadbare sense of belonging, etc.... (something many Christian counselors seem to have no concept of at all).
For me, 4 years of intensive intentional exposure (like what this author is talking about) have actually just resulted in chronic stress to such an extent that it has torn down my own brain health to a scary extent.... I begin to gain experiential understanding into why there is greatly increased risk of dementia and alzheimers for survivors of traumatic childhoods and malattachment - because of chronic stress levels which keep cortisol high, which over times eats away the brain. As a result, I now feel like I have the memory and cognition of an 80 year old and I am 37 and I am researching everything I can to reduce the stress, heal the brain, and I whole-heartedly ignore people like this author.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I encourage survivors of abuse and neglect to get the book "The Uncaged Project" for spiritual breakthroughs. For physical healing, get Bessel Van der kolk's book "Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society" which will help you understand that your nervous and endocrine system are messed up and there are things you can and should do for managing and/or healing it. As I understand scripture and the Lord, God HATES abuse and all other evils, it is NOT a good thing (contrary to what I have had some believers try to tell me), and His word says that He DOES want you to experience healing, freedom, hope and life abundant - not just wallow in suffering until you perish from it. Do not listen to deranged religious people who try to tell you anything else.
The nervous and endocrine system needs to be treated and chronic stress needs to be mitigated. Without that, trauma survivors can look forward to shortened life expectancy and greatly increased likelihood of all manner of disease, most unnervingly dementia and Alzheimer's. Any book on healing from child abuse that says nothing about this is useless. In fact, this book encourages the opposite - to expose yourself to even more stress and trauma. The author has no concept what these people are dealing with. As a survivor myself, I can see that he learned this stuff from a text book and from observation, not through experience.