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The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse Paperback – May 2, 2018
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This book became the classic on healing sexual trauma because it works. So hopeful, so powerful. I’m thrilled Dan has released an updated version. I recommend it to everyone I know! (John Eldridge, bestselling author)
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I held my breath as I read The Wounded Heart, wondering if I’d find pages of platitudes, simplistic answers, or hyped-up guarantees of happily ever after. I needn’t have worried. This book is raw and real―there is no sugarcoating of evil or glossing over the damage done to vulnerable bodies, emotions, and souls. But in a way that touches my heart, Dr. Dan Allender walks with us through the terrible, shattering darkness of childhood sexual abuse, yet gently . . . insistently . . . beckons us to keep walking toward the One who offers the healing love we crave more than anything on earth. (Kay Warren, cofounder of Saddleback Church)
Dan Allender’s ability to walk through the painful and beautiful terrain of the human heart is unparalleled. As a therapist and minster, there is no greater influence on my work. I am so grateful this magisterial work exists. (Jay Stringer, LHMC, author of Unwanted: How Sexual Brokenness Reveals Our Way to Healing)
This classic book on engaging sexual abuse is back and couldn’t be more relevant for today. Dr. Allender’s work has been pivotal in my own healing journey, and this book will be a trusted guide. Dr. Allender is wise, kind, and fierce as he stares life’s deepest wounds in the face and calls the reader to do the same. I am confident this book will ripen your heart to a redemptive grief and the healing of your own wounded heart. Truly a masterpiece of courage! (Andrew J. Bauman, author of Stumbling toward Wholeness)
Dan Allender is a hero, and The Wounded Heart is a classic. I’m so glad its healing power is being updated and reengaged. (John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Church)
The Wounded Heart is outstanding! It is my conviction that this is definitely a much-needed book and one I now have on my shelf, along with copies to share whenever I meet people who are on the front lines of ministry with survivors of sexual abuse or survivors ready for the journey. Full of godly wisdom and instruction, I read slowly and did a lot of underlining and pondering. I know so many people who have been through sexual abuse, and this gave me a heart-wrenching look into the depths of difficulties they have. I’ve already recommended The Wounded Heart to several people in ministry and who are mentoring survivors of abuse. Dan has a way of seeing into the heart and soul of the problem and lighting the path for coming out of the darkness. (Francine Rivers, bestselling author)
From the Back Cover
Help and hope for your journey toward healing
For those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse and those who love and care for them, The Wounded Heart offers a tender, compassionate window into the psychological effects of abuse and the theological foundations for healing.
Thirty years ago, with great courage and vision, Dan Allender brought Christians to the table to acknowledge, understand, and help victims heal from their firsthand experience with sexual abuse. His work continues to help victims and those who love them to honestly acknowledge their abuse, take responsibility for their healing, and learn to love bravely in defiance of their trauma.
The Wounded Heart has sold over 400,000 copies and has been the first book family, friends, counselors, pastors, and victims have turned to in search of Christian answers to the calamity of sexual abuse. With a new introduction reflecting on the book’s ongoing importance and a companion workbook for personal and group recovery, The Wounded Heart continues to offer the bold assurance to sexual abuse victims that they can find their way to joy and hope in the comforting embrace of a good God.
Dr. Dan Allender has pioneered a unique and innovative approach to trauma and abuse therapy over the past 30 years. Dan taught at Grace Theological Seminary and Colorado Christian University. He helped found and currently serves as professor of counseling psychology at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. He is the author of The Healing Path and To Be Told, and he has coauthored several books with Dr. Tremper Longman, including God Loves Sex, Intimate Allies, The Cry of the Soul, Bold Love, and Bold Purpose.
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The Wounded Heart is a psychological analysis of the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. He addresses many facets of the effect it has on the victim’s heart and the difficulties victims face. He discusses the great problem victims have with trust—both with people and with God. “The devilishness of abuse is that it does Satan’s work of deceiving children about God’s true nature and encouraging them to mistrust Him.”
He delves into the importance of facing one’s horrible memories and working through them. Dr. Allender makes the statement, “The wise course is to focus on who we are now.”
Dr. Allender emphasizes the value of counseling. Most victims of abuse need help with working through their attitudes and also with their spiritual growth, which go hand-in-hand. I appreciate especially his last section about how to give victims hope. He says, “The most common error in some Christian groups is to ignore the problem or offer true solutions in a trite way.” He emphasizes the complexity of each individual’s experiences and problems. “Those who desire to honor God and the redemptive work of Christ must embrace both the simplicity and the complexity that exists in the problem and the solution. . . . When we move toward loving God and others, we can be sure that something radical and supernatural has intruded to alter the process of self-centered stagnation and decay. Change is always a process.”
Allender speaks of faith, decisions, hope, and trusting God.
This is a very complete work, by far the heaviest work I’ve read on the subject of abuse and overcoming. The first three-fourths of The Wounded Heart are about the damage and reactions to abuse. This first part is complicated and technical. The last part of the book offers hope and healing.
I would recommend The Wounded Heart to anyone who counsels, especially people in Christian ministry. We must no longer ignore the signs of abuse and be ignorant of the questions to ask the people we counsel. We need to know how to walk them through the healing process. I believe this is a helpful and instructive reference book.
Beginning with identification of present day problems and symptoms related to abuse, it continues with your past history, walking you through your responses to victimization. Denial and memory issues are dealt with as well. It is the best tool I know of to help you connect the effects of past abuse with ongoing damage to relationships in the present. It helps you learn to navigate your internal emotional realm with greater clarity, asking you to walk down paths you have previously avoided because of denial, fear, and confusion.
This book stands out because it goes beyond victimization to helping you examine how your responses to abuse have carried over into adulthood, often in sinful ways. It is unflinchingly honest and the work is difficult. If you are not prepared to examine your heart, I suggest that you put this book aside for another day. It offers no quick fix band-aids, but addresses the need for a thorough cleansing of the wound, bringing your pain to the surface where it can be dealt with. It helps you learn to deal with the damage done to your mind, heart, and emotions, and acknowledges that the difficulty of the struggle is prolonged. It doesn't let you off the hook when it comes to examining your sin, but it is written with empathy and understanding, offering a biblical path to healing and restoration. If you choose to go through this book while entrusting your heart and healing to God, you will be richly rewarded as you begin to see change in yourself and in your relationship to God and others.
1. We are not alone!
2. Oh what freedom bringing the horror into the light!
3. We all develope coping mechanism, many very unhealthy.
4. God can, will and is in the process of healing me.
5. Now this one is unbelievable- God can use this for His glory.
Before I read the book, hope was often not present. I suffered a great deal and treated many symptoms. This book helped me get to the core - sin. It takes a complicated subject and turned my heart and soul to my Healer. Although a Christian since 4 years old, I now am experiencing a freedom that I heard about but thought was not available to me.
Dear friend, if you have suffered childhood sexual abuse, buy this book and "The Wounded Heart Workbook" by the same author. I actually have incorporated praying that those who are suffering find the message in this book. There is HOPE in Christ!If God can tear down the walls of pain in me, the worst of sinners, He surely will do the same for you!