“CrowHeart” by Keelin Anderson

CROWHEART: becoming unwounded, a memoir of transformation

Recommended to me by: Keelin Anderson

To tell her story of healing from incest and emotional abuse, Keelin Anderson weaves together daily narrative, fiction, quotes, tarot readings, and dreams, all in present tense.

As I read, I saw places where our paths have overlapped, and places where […]

“Leaving the Saints” by Martha Beck

Subtitle: How I Lost the Mormons and Found My Faith

Recommended to me by: Reading Martha Beck’s older books

I first read this years ago and loved it. I came back to it while writing a (forthcoming) article about spiritual abuse and faith. Since I last read it, I read her newer book “Steering […]

“The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman

Subtitle: A Hmong child, her American doctors, and the collision of two cultures

Recommended to me by: Emily Ross

This is a beautifully written history of the Hmong people from Laos in the 20th century, interwoven with the story of one Hmong family who took refuge in Merced, California. Their daughter Lia Lee had […]

“The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” by Heidi W. Durrow

I wanted to love and learn from this book, but there were too many jarring inconsistencies with my own knowledge.

As a child, Rachel falls 9 stories and her only lasting injury is to the hearing in one ear. With everything I know about physical and psychological trauma, I wanted at least one […]

“Not Trauma Alone” by Steven N. Gold

Subtitle: Therapy for Child Abuse Survivors in Family and Social Context

Recommended to me by: Dr. Kathleen Young

This is an academic book, written in precise psychological language, containing enough material for a semester course. Startlingly compassionate insights into complex trauma and prolonged childhood abuse (abbreviated PCA) are built into a treatment model that […]

“Finding Life Beyond Trauma” by Victoria Follette, Ph.D. and Jacqueline Pistorello, Ph.D.

Subtitle: Using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy to Heal from Post-Traumatic Stress and Trauma-Related Problems

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (abbreviated ACT, and pronounced as a whole word) invites clients to observe their own behaviors and let go of strategies which might be keeping them from living their most valued life. It includes a strong emphasis […]

“We Are All in Shock” by Stephanie Mines, Ph.D.

Subtitle: How Overwhelming Experience Shatter You… And What You Can Do About It

Recommended to me by: Larisa Koehn

In this book, Stephanie Mines introduces and advocates for her approach to healing named Jin Shin Tara. It is derived from Jin Shin Jyutso, a gentle form of acupressure.

She defines shock as severe trauma, […]

“Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes” by Chris Crutcher

Recommended to me by: Tess Alfonsin

A hard-edged book for teens that takes on multiple tough issues:

Children’s cruelty to each other for being fat or disfigured What it’s like to grow up fat or disfigured Surviving parental abuse and abandonment Abortion Hypocrisy Religious intolerance by some Christians

While I applaud the author’s courage […]

“Mister God this is Anna” by Fynn

I bought this book about 20 years ago for the delightful drawing on the cover. At the time, I read it as a rescue story, set in the 1930’s in London’s East End. 5 year old Anna has run away from an intolerable home life, and is found and adopted by gruff, kind, 19 […]

“Legacy of the Heart – the spiritual advantages of a painful childhood” by Wayne Muller

Recommended to me by: Emma McCreary

With warmth and care, Muller describes some of the outcomes of an abusive childhood, or “family of sorrow,” and some spiritual tools that can bring healing.

Near the beginning of the book, he proposes an exercise that resonated deeply with me. (Emphasis added.)

[F]or a single day: […]