Recommended Reading

Not sure where to start? Grab a book! You can read at your own pace and in the quiet of your home. Plus the books below are written by knowledgeable and experienced counselors who have helped many, many people!

“RESTORE – A Healing Workbook” by Aryn Sylvester

Healing is real and so is your past. This workbook walks you through several effective healing interventions used by counselors. Each chapter presents the rationale behind each intervention and is drawn from psychologists like Victor Frankl, Charles Whitfield, Aaron Beck, and others. This workbook is used in group therapy environments but has also been helpful in healing work done at home by individuals.

“THE WOUNDED HEART” by Dan Allender

Sexual abuse knows no religious or social boundaries. The Wounded Heart is an intensely personal and specific look at this form of abuse. Dr. Allender explores the secret lament of the soul damaged by sexual abuse and lays hold of the hope buried there by the One whose unstained image we all bear. Includes information about false memory issues.

“On the Threshold of Hope” by Diane Mandt Langberg

On the Threshold of Hope offers hope and healing to men and women who have been traumatized by sexual abuse. Dr. Langberg’s insights and the quotations from many survivors assure readers that they are not alone and that Christ, the Redeemer, can heal their deep wounds. Through stories, Scripture, questions, and encouragement, Dr. Langberg walks with survivors on the road to healing through Christ’s love and power.

  • This book addresses the multi-dimensional facets of abuse. As a Christian clinician the author addresses abuse from a holistic perspective including the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual effects. This read now has a workbook that can help the reader make the information more tangible to their lives.

    Aryn Restore Dignity

“Forbidden Grief” by Dr. Theresa Burke

“An exceptional book…It is essential reading for social workers and other mental health professionals.” — Tim Brandyberry, MSSW

“An outstanding book…Highly recommended for those who counsel.” — Dr. Paul C. Vitz, Psychology Department, New York University

“Magnificent…The experience and wisdom here will give countless women the hope and self-awareness they so deeply desire and need.” — Georgette Forney, post-abortion counselor

“Those of us who have faced this ‘forbidden grief’ can be thankful for Burke and Reardon’s beautifully written book.” — Susan Stanford-Rue, PhD and author of Will I Cry Tomorrow?

  • This is not just for those hurting from an abortion experience, but powerful and helpful information for all survivors of trauma. Dr. Burke has intertwined personal stories with clinical explanations of trauma responses making this a very intriguing read.

    Aryn Restore Dignity

“The Primal Wound” by Nancy Newton Verrier

This book comes recommended by Grief to Grace participants that have been adopted.  Healing this aspect of life has its unique hurdles and grace.  If you have been adopted you will identify greatly with how Nancy Newton Verrier explains this wound.

“Facing Codependency: What It Is, Where It Comes from, How It Sabotages Our Live” by Pia Mellody

Pia Mellody creates a framework for identifying codependent thinking, emotions and behaviour and provides an effective approach to recovery. Mellody sets forth five primary adult symptoms of this crippling condition, then traces their origin to emotional, spiritual, intellectual, physical and sexual abuses that occur in childhood. Central to Mellody’s approach is the concept that the codependent adult’s injured inner child needs healing. Recovery from codependence, therefore, involves clearing up the toxic emotions left over from these painful childhood experiences.

  • If you thought you knew what co-dependency was you are probably mistaken. This is an area few victims of abuse realize they suffer from. As a secular clinician Pia offers an interesting perspective to the healing journey. She clearly sheds light on the healing process through real examples of the effects of trauma in relationships.

    Aryn Restore Dignity

“Miss America by Day: Lessons Learned from Ultimate Betrayals and Unconditional Love” by Marilyn Van Derbur

Won the prestigious Writer’s Digest award. 1,900 books entered the national competition, Miss America by Day won first place in the “Most Inspirational Book” category. In this award winning book, former Miss America, Marilyn Van Derbur, describes, in detail, her healing process after 13 years of incest. “I wrote the book, not because I want someone to learn more about me but so readers can learn more about themselves. And so that loved ones can better understand the brutal recovery process and never again say, “just get over it.”

The pain ends, I promise . . . IF you do the ‘work’ of healing. A loving, long-term relationship and grounded well, adjusted children await you. A judge for the Writers Digest book competition wrote: “Seldom as a judge have I wanted to read the entire book but I devoured every word of this riveting story… Told with stark honesty and vivid details that were so important in ridding herself of the pain, torment and shame…”

Anyone who knew Marilyn Van Derbur as a child and young adult believed she had it all — a loving family, a beautiful home, an active social life. But beneath the surface, Van Derbur was a troubled young woman who lived through horrific panic attacks and excruciating physical pain every day of her adult life. Starting when she was just a child of five, she was sexually abused by her father until she turned 18. Van Derbur uses the term “incested,” eschewing the more vanilla terms of “molestation” or “abuse.”

As a student and young adult, Van Derbur was an overachiever with an unconscious need to stay very busy. She realizes now this was a coping mechanism to keep her two worlds separated-the “night child” who suffered at the hands of her father and the “day child” who was happy and outgoing. After being named valedictorian of her high school class, she went on to college. Persuaded to enter a local beauty pageant, she ultimately was crowned Miss America. Ignoring the sheer terror she felt at the prospect of speaking in front of others, Van Derbur went on to become a highly successful motivational speaker. She writes of her endless need to be respected by others, all the while believing that if others really knew who she was, they would hate her and look at her with disdain and disgust. The perfectly poised mask she showed the outside world was a far cry from the tortured, panic-stricken, anxious woman within. The shame she felt within was a constant in her life, reminding her that she was “unworthy.” When a newspaper reporter learned of her story, Van Derbur’s private shame became front-page news. Then she landed on the cover of People magazine. Soon incest survivors from around the country were reaching out to her, desperate to tell someone what had happened to them. It became instantly clear that her new role in life was to help others who had suffered incest and to help teach everyone how to make sure their children are safe from predators.

  • Despite her cynical views of forgiveness this book is a ground breaking honest first hand account of the multi-dimensional effects of abuse. This autobiography contains some graphic accounts of abuse as she unfolds her life story and the physical, relational and emotional effects of unaddressed trauma. The last dozen chapters or so contain some very candid information and statistics shedding light on the issue of abuse and children. There is really no book out there like this one because of the authentic delivery of the information.

    Aryn Restore Dignity

“Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No-To Take Control of Your Life” by Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. John Townsend

Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances — Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions — Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others — Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God’s will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator — Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask:

  • Can I set limits and still be a loving person?
  • What are legitimate boundaries?
  • What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries?
  • How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy, or money?
  • Aren’t boundaries selfish?

Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer biblically-based answers to these and other tough questions, showing us how to set healthy boundaries with our parents, spouses, children, friends, co-workers, and even ourselves.

  • With an accompanying work book this read can help those who have suffered abuse understand how their boundaries have been violated and identify the multitude of boundaries that need to be constructed for healthy living. For abuse victims discussion of boundaries can be an intangible and abstract topic but this book helps to make clear ways in which survivors can make prudent decisions in everyday relationships.

    Aryn Restore Dignity

The Mom Factor

“The Mom Factor” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

If you find yourself dealing with a mother wound you might identify with this book.

This book comes recommended by a past Grief to Grace participant.  She said, “This book helped explain my emotions and identifies the importance of a mother to her child.  It has also helped me with my parenting.”

It is written by the same authors as “Boundaries”.

The Catholic Guide to Depression

“The Catholic Guide to Depression” by Aaron Kheriaty, MD

This book comes recommended by a past Grief to Grace participant who was dealing with depression.

“Amazing Grace for Those Who Suffer” by Jeff Cavins

Amazing Grace for Those Who Suffer is the first title in the Amazing Grace series by Matthew Pinto and Jeff Cavins. The book features 10 unforgettable real-life stories about the power of God s grace in the face of suffering. In bringing these compelling stories to life, Matt Pinto and Jeff Cavins shed light on the mystery of why God allows suffering.

Each story demonstrates some aspect of the value of suffering, and it’s relationship to the Christian faith. In seeing how others have united their pain and sorrow with Christ, we discover how God can be a source of inexhaustible strength. Amazing Grace demonstrates how to find peace and hope in the face of suffering, and offers healing for the heart and soul.

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