Courage to Heal Workbook: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

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Overview

In this groundbreaking companion to The Courage to Heal, Laura Davis offers an inspiring, in-depth workbook that speaks to all women and men healing from the effects of child sexual abuse. The combination of checklists, writing and art Projects, open-ended questions and activities expertly guides the survivor through the healing process.

  • Survival Skills—Teaches survivors to create a safe, supportive environment, ask for help, deal with crisis ...
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Overview

In this groundbreaking companion to The Courage to Heal, Laura Davis offers an inspiring, in-depth workbook that speaks to all women and men healing from the effects of child sexual abuse. The combination of checklists, writing and art Projects, open-ended questions and activities expertly guides the survivor through the healing process.

  • Survival Skills—Teaches survivors to create a safe, supportive environment, ask for help, deal with crisis periods, and choose therapy.
  • Aspects Of Healing—Focuses on the healing process: gaining a capacity for hope, breaking silence, letting go of shame, turning anger into action, planning a confrontation, preparing for family contact, and affirming personal progress.
  • Guidelines For Healing Sexually—Redefines the concept of "safe sex" and establishes healthy ground rules for sexual contact.

Takes survivor step-by-step through healing process thru use of checklists, open-ended questions, writing exercises, etc.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060964375
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/28/1990
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 71,267
  • Product dimensions: 7.22 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.97 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Davis is the author of The Courage to Heal Workbook, Allies in Healing, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be, and I Thought We'd Never Speak Again. She teaches writing and lives with her family in Santa Cruz, California.

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Read an Excerpt

The Courage to Heal Workbook
A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

Chapter One

About The Exercises In This Book

As you begin the workbook, you'll find that most of the chapters contain both cognitive and creative exercises. Cognitive exercises ask you to think, brainstorm ideas, complete sentences, answer questions, set goals, and make assessments. The creative ones use writing and art to explore your inner thoughts and feelings. "Things to Think About" offers questions to help you absorb and expand on the key concepts of each section, to be answered alone or used as the basis for group discussion. And many of the chapters include "Activities" that give you the opportunity to do things: make collages, design rituals, work with a partner. Finally, each chapter closes with a summary section called "Reflections," which includes a set of questions to help you assess your feelings, goals, and needs as you complete the chapter.

Feel free to pick and choose among the exercises. Although each chapter follows a certain progression, there may be times when a particular exercise doesn't fit your needs. Maybe it calls for a lot of thinking, and you're having too many feelings to think clearly. Skip that exercise and come back to it later. Try a creative exercise or activity that's more geared to the expression of feelings.

As you move through the workbook, there may be moments when you feel inadequate, confused, or unable to proceed. There may be ideas that are new to you or that aren't explained adequately. That means there's a flaw in the design of the book, not in you. At other times you may find that your particular set ofcircumstances or feelings aren't being named or acknowledged. That's not because you don't belong; it's because of an oversight on my part.

Many of the exercises ask you to fill in blanks or answer questions, and they often begin with examples. These are intended to stimulate your own thinking and to demonstrate the way the exercise works. If the particular example given speaks to your experience, feel free to copy it down and include it as one of your answers.

On the other hand, if the specifics of a particular exercise don't pertain to you, change them. If the sample question asks about your mother but you were raised by your grandmother, substitute your grandmother's name. If you were battered but not sexually abused, adapt the material to fit your experience.

In workshop settings, survivors often want to know if they're doing the exercises the "right" way. There is no right or wrong way to do these exercises. They are for you. Feel free to alter them to fit your needs.

Writing As A Healing Tool

I've always used writing as a way to express myself and get in touch with my feelings, so it was natural for me to turn to writing when I began to recover memories of having been sexually abused. I wrote to quell the feelings, to deal with the panic, to express my feelings, to find answers. Writing opened up realms of information I couldn't reach with my conscious mind. It was a way to talk about what had happened to me. There was something about putting the words on paper that made me really believe they were true. In the early stages of healing, when I despaired that I wasn't getting anywhere, that all this therapy and introspection and work on myself was a cruel joke, writing was a way for me to chart my course, to mark my progress. I could go back and read my journals and see that things really had changed. And I could make commitments through my writing: "I will not give in. I will say no to sex I don't want. I won't let myself be abused anymore." Writing was a tremendous relief, and at many points my lifeline.

When Ellen Bass and I agreed to collaborate on The Courage to Heal, it was a perfect fit. Ellen had pioneered the use of writing in her I Never Told Anyone workshops with survivors, and had developed a series of writing exercises that were unique and powerful. She wanted to share those exercises, and they became an integral part of The Courage to Heal.

The Workbook builds on many of the writing suggestions, originally made in The Courage to Heal. Many of the exercises use the same technique introduced in the first book — freewriting, or stream-of-consciousness writing. Freewriting helps you to get in touch with buried feelings and memories. It helps you to get past your censors.

This kind of writing can bring up strong emotions, and it's important that you build in some protection. Set a timer each time you sit down to write. That way you have a specific time frame, with a set beginning and end. (Other suggestions for creating safety can be found in "The Five Building Blocks of Safety" on page 2 1.)

You can, also experiment with the way you write. You might want to try writing with your opposite hand. The childlike writing that results can help put you in touch with childhood feelings. I remember watching one woman do this in a workshop. After a few moments of furious scribbling, she shifted her position, grasping the pen in her fist with the point down, much as a young child would do.

Although there's ample room for writing in the workbook, you may prefer using crayons or markers on big sheets of newsprint or some double lined paper (like the kind you learned to write on). If it's too hard for you to write by hand, you can use a typewriter, a computer, or a tape recorder.

Sharing Your Words

In The Courage to Heal we emphasized the power of sharing your writing out loud. Frequently survivors write without any visible expression of emotion, but as soon as you read what you've written, feelings surface...

The Courage to Heal Workbook
A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
. Copyright © by Laura Davis. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent. It is so diffcult to move beyond years of abuse. It

    Excellent. It is so diffcult to move beyond years of abuse. It is so difficult to find forgiveness for the person who was the abuser and for yourself. This book is helpful. You have to put in the work, but it is worth it. I also read, "Daddy's Hands" by Dr. Rita Makela. It tells the story of child sexual abuse through the voice of the child. It is very graphic and diffcult to read (child sexual abuse isn't pretty) but it is helpful to know that you are not alone and that other people can understand how you feel.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2012

    Recommended by my therapist

    It will work if you do the work involved. The workbook is clearly written and very helpful. I'm glad I got it!

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  • Posted May 7, 2012

    Highly recommend

    Very usable book whether as self help or as an addition to therapy.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great book!

    I have already found this book to be very helpful with clients working through abusive histories. I have noticed that many other clinicians have this book as well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2006

    If Nothing Has Worked Try Writing

    Laura, you are right on. Your book is a perfect way of working through the clouds of the past. It is a great tool for the shy, or those who may still be ashamed to discuss the pain of their life, to use writing to dig up those long forgotten places that need healing. I would encourage readers not to write in the book, use a separate journal. They can do it within the privacy of their home. You've even provided an out for those who are still in denial by telling them if there is a section that is not you, change it, or blame it on you. Highly recommend!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2001

    It really is helpful

    This workbook is an enlightened approach to healing. My therapist reccommended this book, and I have found it to be so helpful in my own healing. The work I have done with the book has greatly enhanced my therapy, empowering me to actually use a word that I have hardly used all my life: NO. I have also learned it's ok to be angry, and you dont have to forgive and forget. I truly wished I had this book before I confronted the man who molested me 28 years ago. I was not prepared, though the conversation over the phone was positive. Had I been better prepared, the ending would have been better. This book has shown me the errors in my thinking, and it has helped me face the dark secrets that I have kept hidden all these years.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2000

    It doesn't get better than this book.

    In this excellent workbook, Laura Davis shows each survivor of child abuse {of all kinds}how to turn the traumatic and the shocking into the simple and the ordinary. A thorough and very important book championing the quiet and personal recovery of the child and the adult while advocating for the social recovery of a society stuck in its own ignorance and injury. Very simply, every man and women needs to own this book.

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    Posted April 19, 2010

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    Posted March 16, 2009

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    Posted July 6, 2010

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