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The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse Paperback – August 13, 2008
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From the Back Cover
Dr. Allender’s book reaches deep into the wounded heart of someone you know, exploring the secret lament of the soul damaged by sexual abuse and laying hold of the hope buried there by the One whose unstained image we all bear.
About the Author
Dan taught in the Biblical Counseling Department of Grace Theological Seminary for seven years (1983–1989). From 1989–1997 Dan worked as professor in the Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling program at Colorado Christian University, Denver, Colorado. Currently, Dan serves as Professor of Counseling Psychology and President at Mars Hill Graduate School (MHGS.edu) in Seattle, Washington.
He travels and speaks extensively to present his unique perspective on sexual abuse recovery, love and forgiveness, worship, and other related topics. He is the author of The Wounded Heart (NavPress), and has coauthored four books with Dr. Tremper Longman III, Intimate Allies (Tyndale), The Cry of the Soul (NavPress), Bold Love (NavPress), and Breaking the Idols of Your Heart (IVP). Dan and his wife, Rebecca, have three children and live in Seattle, Washington.
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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.
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.
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!