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Leaving Darkness Behind: Recovery From Childhood Sexual Abuse
Elizabeth M. Altmaier
American Psychological Association / Softcover / Oct 2021
9781433833939 (ISBN-10: 143383393X)
Trauma (Self-Help)
price: $23.95
272 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse can begin a recovery journey informed by accurate understandings, not myths, and empowered by processes that help them thrive.

This book helps survivors find the road to recovery and learn healthy practices that will lead to thriving, not just surviving.

Written for men and women by an author who is herself a survivor, this guide tells the truth about what complex trauma means for your physical and mental health. Readers will learn how to build key recovery processes into their lives, including grieving, meaning-making, forging healthy connections with others, and finding hope. This guidance is scientifically-based, in findings from positive psychology.

With self-assessments, journaling prompts, and suggested action steps to help you leave your darkness behind, this book is your essential interactive guide through the recovery journey.

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1. Childhood Sexual Abuse: You Are Not Alone
Chapter 2. Understanding Complex Trauma
Chapter 3. Recovery
Chapter 4. Resilience
Chapter 5. Grief
Chapter 6. Meaning
Chapter 7. Spirituality
Chapter 8. Connection
Chapter 9. Forgiveness
Chapter 10. Hope
Chapter 11. Thriving

Also includes references and an extensive index.


Dr. Betsy Altmaier has produced an exceptional and sensitive book specifically for survivors of child sexual abuse. She offers information about her own abuse experience, coupled with sound psychological information about what it takes to leave the darkness of sexual abuse behind and to live life forward. Her information is hopeful and encourages the view of recovery as a process that requires perseverance over time. Her suggested readings and exercises are “on point” and support the recovery process in a very practical way. Highly recommended!

Christine a. Courtois, PhD, ABPP, Licensed Psychologist and Author of Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy and It’s Not You, It’s What Happened to You: Complex Trauma and Treatment

This informative book brings a combination of new research, insights, and strategies to help survivors of child sexual abuse. It offers the resources and strategies survivors will need at different points in their recovery. The author offers both the expertise of a seasoned therapist and researcher, and the empathy and deep understanding of someone who is a survivor herself—a combination that will no doubt engender both trust and encouragement.

Beverly Engel, LMFT, Psychotherapist, Los Osos, CA

About the Author:

Elizabeth M. Altmaier, PhD, is Professor Emeritus of Counseling Psychology and Community and Behavioral Health at the University of Iowa. Her research focuses on issues of trauma in the experiences of interpersonal offenses, and in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and chronic pain. Her studies also highlight positive processes, such as forgiveness, posttraumatic growth, and meaning-making. She has published on childhood sexual abuse within a faith context, and has authored academic books on meaning-making in trauma. Post-retirement, she is writing, volunteering, and advocating for mental and physical health needs for under-resourced persons. She lives in Iowa City.

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Trauma (Self-Help)