Have you read “The Courage To Heal” ??? I’m worried I’d read it and go back to the thoughts of what happened to me was ‘not that bad’.

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Deleted member 51804

Hi everyone,

My therapist recently offered to lend me her copy of a book titled ‘the courage to heal’, i can’t remember who the author was but this book was huge!!! and I wasn’t sure about it so I didn’t take her up on the offer. My concern was about any of the case histories that might be included, I’m worried I’d read it and go back to the thoughts of what happened to me was ‘not that bad’ and that’s not a place I can heal from, so I was wondering if anyone who has read it could give me their view on it please? as my therapist was certain it was a good book.
Someone gave me a copy of that book a long time ago. I hated it. I'm pretty sure I threw it away and I almost never toss a book. Honestly can't remember why I hated it. It's a popular book. You're in therapy, so you can certainly read it and discuss what you read with your T. It might be a useful starting point for conversations.
i've never read that particular book, nor do i remember very many of the names or authors of the books i did read, but the value i found in reading along with T and/or my therapy supporters is that it gave us a shared vocabulary by which to discuss the problems. prior to establishing that vocabulary, i think we spent entirely trying to distinguish a horse from a zebra. they look the same from a safe social distance.

speaking the same language is far from a guarantee of communication, especially in psychotherapy. it helps to harmonize from the same sheet of psychobabble. we still get too many missed notes, but at least we are working from the same theory sets.
here’s my personal experience ~

finally, as a first step to recovery, i had begun to educate myself on trauma, ptsd abuse etc after avoiding it all so long. i watched a lot of mental health videos and this book was mentioned in one. it is by Laura Davis & Ellen Bass. i started reading it before i started even going to therapy.

i was so scared and no idea what i was in for - i knew it would probably be a very bittersweet read, since it would help me finally understand parts of myself, and also bring up some painful stuff..

however it helped me VERY much in the end! it has many different perspectives and lots of good advice, validating almost every experience at the same time. of course everyone is different at the end of the day, but this book can give you the tools to validate yourself as well, like never before! i find myself even today , as i’m further along in my healing - going back to specific chapters now and then when i need guidance. it reassures and validates me to even this day, about a year since finishing it!

additionally, there are writing exercises that they give you the prompts to - lists of important information - hundreds of resources at the end, etc. it is a bit of a longer read i will say, but it was so worth it for me. you can find samples of it, and if you want you can go from there and see if it clicks with you!!!!

all in all it is your choice in the end, and regardless i am wishing you nothing but the best on your journey!!!!!! :) <3
I hate that book, for many reasons.

First of all, the authors are not psychologists or therapists. They're lay people. Not saying laypeople can't write books about trauma, but none of their advice is grounded in any kind of expertise.

Second, that book basically caused the "recovered memory" hysteria of the 1990s. In early editions of the book, the authors claimed that if you felt bad, it was probably due to abuse from family members (most likely your father) that you could no longer recall. Plenty of crummy or gullible therapists went along with this, which was based on zero scholarship, and thousands of families were broken up until some reputable psychologists did some actual research and found recovered memories were actually fairly rare, and could actually be easily implanted by an unskillful or unscrupulous therapist. The authors have never commented on this issue, although later editions of the book have toned down the stuff about recovered memories.

Third, and this won't have anything to do with you, but the book has nothing to offer male survivors, and is silent towards (male) partners except to tell them that they need to support the abused party unconditionally. If it takes years, it takes years. The thing is, though, I personally don't expect my partner to support me unconditionally - I expect that she'll want to see progress or at the very least an attempt to get better, so in my view the book condones a very unhealthy relationship dynamic.

All that said, I know people who say that the book has really helped them. But if you're going to read it, it's worth reading with a few grains of salt.
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I've read a lot of these type of books and they could be helpful or hurtful depending on where I was at the time. I think what I learned along the way is that they all have good and bad info - so it's a take what helps and leave the rest type of thing.

I'd def suggest working with your therapist as you read thru them - that way you have a second set of eyes helping you to work with whatever it brings up. My personal bible is The Body Keeps the Score - but it was a hard read and took me a long time to get thru it - even with my ts help.
I bought it in 2019, just before I started therapy. Still not finished it. Gone back to it now and then and still no. Felt I couldn't find me in it and couldn't relate to a lot of what it was saying.

For me, it made me feel my trauma wasn't that bad. But I don't think that's necessarily the book but where I have been when reading it initially and then I still have that frame of mind when I go back to it.
T recommended it and I bought it.
I’m with SRG about a lot of its faults and I guess part of me wanted to hate it completely because of that, but some of it has been useful as a reminder.

It is one book. It has good and terrible sections. But the same could be said for most of the books I’ve bought to try and make sense of all *this*.

I hope you find help along the way in whatever books you can turn to.
Thank you all for the replies, very helpful.

@Freida I have read ‘The body keeps the score’ also and I found this book very helpful, another one I’ve read and found some parts useful is ‘8 keys to safe trauma recovery’ - Babette Rothschild

Thanks again all, for the replies and suggestions!
My concern was about any of the case histories that might be included, I’m worried I’d read it and go back to the thoughts of what happened to me was ‘not that bad’ and that’s not a place I can heal from,
I end up throwing most trauma pop-psych books at the wall. (And have learned not to buy them on kindle, as angrily deleting them lacks the same sense of satisfaction).

Either they’re too “not me” or too much “me”. Either way? I don’t tolerate them, well, if at all.

The only books I’ve found to be completely and totally helpful? Are the academic monstrosities of a bazillion pages, that cover the tremendous range of …everything. Symptoms, expressions, coping mechanisms, personalities, problems, solutions, theories. -OR- the specialised handbooks to support aid workers thrust into situations beyond their training & experience (refugees, rape camps, torture, K&R, …Just super useful, either way. Whether all the Everything, or distilled essences.