Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse Paperback – August 1, 2008
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From the Publisher
"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
"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 depth of difficulties they have. I’ve already recommended The Wounded Heart to several people in ministry or 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
"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 is a hero, and The Wounded Heart is a classic. I’m so glad its healing power is being updated and re-engaged."
John Ortberg, senior pastor of Menlo Church and author of I’d Like You More If You Were More Like Me
From the Back Cover
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.
- Item Weight : 12 ounces
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1600063071
- ISBN-13 : 978-1600063077
- Dimensions : 8.9 x 5 x 0.7 inches
- Publisher : NavPress Publishing Group; 1st edition (August 1, 2008)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #34,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I understand that LGBTQ+ affirming resources are few, especially in the area of sexual abuse - because these resources tend to deal specifically with LGBTQ+ folks and not with abuse of the wider population. So I knew I was going to have to read with my filters on if I wanted to read a book with insights into the spiritual trauma wreaked by childhood sexual abuse.
Allender lists homosexuality as a 'perversion' (p. 151) and makes the argument that a person who is homosexual has merely 'blocked' their 'natural' heterosexual inclinations as a result of abuse (p. 152-3). This is an incredibly dangerous argument to make, both for an abuse victim and for anyone who is attempting to help them. It is also dangerous for anyone who is dealing with past abuse and simultaneously discovering that they might be in the LGBTQ+ community.
There is also a strong sense throughout the book that a woman's role is to serve her husband faithfully. And while it might be true that a person will find an extraordinary amount of fulfillment and meaning by being part of a consensual, healthy, lifelong relationship, women deserve so much more than to be relegated to the status of helpers. The only time Allender mentions women in strong leadership roles is when he is recounting the ways in which women who have been abused put up walls so that they can be the 'tough girl.' While I have not yet read explicit language stating that a fulfilled woman will feel comfortable in her role as helper rather than leader (I have about 30 pages left to go), the strong conservative evangelical language certainly leaves the reader with that implication.
I come from a Christian tradition that is LGBTQ+ affirming and that has ordained women for 50 years, so the conservative evangelical lens was certainly something I had to get past. However, I was able to make some excellent connections between abuse and spiritual trauma, and the need to face abuse rather than simply remain in a self-protective (but often unfulfilled and destructive) state, in order to live a full and abundant life. There are insights in this book that I can use in conversation and pastoral counseling. But as I said before, although this may be a worthwhile resource for a pastor or counselor able to filter out the problematic language and definitions, I would not give this book to someone who is suffering.
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.
Top reviews from other countries
As a way of understanding those who have been sexually assaulted, it is invaluable. But the truths here apply to much more than that. Well done, Dr. Allender. And thank you.