“The Art of Healing from Sexual Trauma” by Naomi Ardea

book cover

Subtitle: Tending Body and Soul through Creativity, Nature, and Intuition

Recommended to me by: Robyn Posin

As I started reading, I was relieved to discover that Naomi Ardea has thoughtfully structured her book so that it is inviting rather than overwhelming. Stories about her healing process are interspersed with her abstract paintings, peaceful nature photographs, and practical healing tools. The book feels spacious, gentle, respectful.

She calls out minimizing language around abuse, strongly naming its destructive effects. She affirms our right to feel all our emotions. She details how we get caught up in self-blame, and offers tools to lift it away. We get glimpses of the hard parts of her process, including healing her sexuality, and the tools she uses to manage difficult times, including time with forests and flowing water. Her healing is body-centered, naming sensations and being with them.

I felt comforted by the parts of her process that are similar to mine – the murky confusion that only slowly yields to clear narratives, the difficulties in finding compassionate practitioners, the sense of having to regrow boundaries from the ground up. I felt curious about the differences – her use of essential oils, and EMDR, and expressive finger painting.

I highly recommend this book for survivors and anyone who works with survivors. It bears witness to the possibility of healing while naming the daily difficult work it requires, and shares practical tools to smooth the reader’s path.

Book excerpt showing the spacious layout and full color photos and paintings.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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