Understanding how childhood trauma overwhelms adult well-being is at the cornerstone of Restoring Hope and Trust: An Illustrated Guide to Mastering Trauma. Although survivors may use avoidance strategies to cope with the impact of past trauma, many find that it bubbles up anyway—often following other life stressors or a new trauma. Restoring Hope and Trust discusses memories of the past, the role of the nervous system, depression, self-image, and the traumatized worldview, showing clearly how past trauma affects present-day success, happiness, and relationships. This conceptual framework empowers survivors to embark on the healing journey.
Restoring Hope and Trust is a compact volume based on a ten-session course that brings old and new understanding together in the psychoeducational approach—using simple language, illustrations, awareness exercises, and study questions to guide readers—whether they are people on the healing journey or clinicians. Author Lisa Lewis notes the importance of learning new strategies for dealing with past trauma: “Too often patients want to jump into the processing [of trauma] before they have found healthy ways of regulating their emotions. It’s important to be able to talk about the emotions, but not to be overwhelmed by them. We want the details to eventually bleach out and become more like other memories of what has happened in a persons’ lifetime….Our goal is to rob the trauma of its power.”
Restoring Hope and Trust reflects the authors’ combined 25 years of work with groups of trauma patients at the Menninger Clinic and the Heritage Mental Health Clinic. Author Jon Allen explains: “For more than a decade, we clinicians and our patients have worked together in psychoeducational groups to learn about trauma from each other. Each individual brings unique expertise to this endeavor, primarily from life experience. Based on this large pool of expertise—personal and professional—we have continued to refine our educational program; periodically, we try to write it all down in book form. Through our books, we are striving to make all this accumulated knowledge available beyond the clinic.” Research, experience, and—most important—collaboration with patients are reflected in every page. Author Kay Kelly notes, “Many of our patients helped to develop the concepts that we present in the book. Our work with individuals, couples, and families has helped us to refine the key elements.” Lisa Lewis agrees: “a frequent experience I have in groups is that a patient will say something along the lines of ‘I feel like you are talking only to me. How did you know that is exactly what my life has been like?’ And I reply that it is because we learned it from other traumatized people much like them. This is truly the result of a collaborative learning process with and from our patients.”
Restoring Hope and Trust complements Jon Allen’s previous best-seller, Coping with Trauma . Allen and his coauthors set out to write the most accessible volume to date. He notes, “Whereas Coping with Trauma is somewhat of a hybrid book, suitable for laypersons and professional therapists, Restoring Hope and Trust is directed to patients (although it also should be of interest to therapists as a guide to educating patients).” Dr. James Chu points out that high-quality, client-focused books like Restoring Hope and Trust are rare: “Most of the authoritative texts in this area are written for therapists and other professionals. As a result, we often have had little to offer to clients seeking to learn more about their difficulties. This book fills that void with state-of-the-art information, exercises, and thoughtful suggestions.”
Uninformed trauma coping strategies are often self-defeating; these short-term coping solutions frequently create bigger dilemmas. The authors of Restoring Hope and Trust challenge the reader to develop new coping skills and lifestyle changes that will foster the healing of traumatic wounds. According to Dr. Roy Menninger, “the authors’ unusual discussion of gifts like assertiveness, integrity, humility, courage, and sensitivity—gifts that the process of managing negative emotions can give us—is imaginative and compelling. These ideas introduce a much-needed balance in the thinking of troubled persons by depathologizing negative feelings.”
Clinicians who read Restoring Hope and Trust will find welcome support for their ongoing treatment. Trauma survivors will find the book energizing and empowering. Dr. Menninger concludes, “This concisely written text is easily read, but these seemingly simple ideas cry out to be read again and again. Repeated reading will reward the reader with a genuinely fresh understanding of the impact of trauma on the human mind.”