I’m a fervent believer in sharing resources with everyone – clients, trainees, colleagues, the public. There’s nothing mysterious about how therapists do what we do, and helping people to find the sources that I use is one of the ways that I try to walk my talk about empowering people to be their own best authority about what makes their life work.
I’ve included a very small group of websites, either of organizations to which I belong, or created by trusted colleagues. While there are many other good sites out there, the ones I’m listing are the ones I go to myself.
- APA Guidelines for Psychotherapy with Lesbian,Gay and Bisexual clients – These are the updated version of guidelines for affirmative psychotherapy practice with sexual minority individuals. Based in empirical scholarship, they inform my own work.
- APA Guidelines on multicultural education, training, research, practice, and organizational change for psychologists – These guidelines, which inform my work, distill into easily accessible form empirically founded norms for working in a culturally competent manner with individuals from North American communities of color.
- APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Girls and Women (pdf) – This is the updated version of the norms for affirmative, non-sexist work with girls and women, reflecting three decades of multicultural feminist scholarship, much of which also informs my own writing.
- Remembering Childhood Trauma – A publication of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. This brief review of the scholarly literature on what has been an unnecessarily controversial topic illuminates the reality of how memory for childhood trauma can be unavailable into adult life.
- David Baldwin’s trauma pages – An excellent resource about trauma maintained by an expert in trauma research and treatment.
- Fremont Community Therapy Project – This is the low fee psychotherapy training clinic that I founded in 2006 as a fulfillment of a long-time vision of creating social justice through psychotherapy practice.
- ISST-D psychotherapy guidelines for working with adults with dissociative disorders (pdf) – These guidelines are essential reading for any psychotherapist working with dissociative individuals. Based in both empirical research and clinical experience, they represent the best of what the field of dissociative disorders offers to guide clinicians.
- Ken Pope’s website – Excellent materials on trauma, ethics, assessment and much more. Ken is one of the few people I’ve co-authored with.
Resources for readers of Your Turn for Care
What follows is the Resources appendix from Your Turn for Care. If you haven’t read the book yet but would like to see what I recommend on such topics as trauma recovery, boundaries, or self-care, feel free to check out this list. I only recommend books that either I or survivors of my acquaintance have found helpful. Your suggestions about additions to this list are welcome via the Comments section below, and may be included in future revisions.
Childhood trauma and recovery
- Adverse Childhood Experiences Study – The ACE Study is the largest (17000 kids) study of the long-term health and mental health consequences of childhood adversity. Difficult reading, and it helps many survivors to see that their struggles are normal for people who’ve had their experiences.
- Bass, Ellen, & Davis, Laura. The courage to heal – This book is one of best resources for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Recently revised to include updates with new research on trauma, it’s full of advice from other survivors about how to move from surviving to thriving.
- Boon, Suzette, Steele, Kathy, & van der Hart, Onno. Coping with trauma-related dissociation – This book is one that many of my clients who struggle with the effects of complex trauma have found very helpful.
- Davis, Laura. I thought we’d never speak again – If you’re going to try to reconcile with your abusive elder, this is the one book you must read.
- Gil, Eliana, Outgrowing the pain – This very short book is one that many survivors of my acquaintance have found to be a helpful introduction to the shared concerns of others like them.
- Herman, Judith Lewis, Trauma and recovery – Widely acknowledged as one of the very best books about complex trauma, a concept that the author proposed in this volume.
- Lew, Mike. Victims no longer – This is the brother to The courage to heal, written for men who have survived childhood sexual abuse. Revised in 2004, this book does an excellent job of addressing the gender dynamics that are particular for male survivors.
- Miller, Alice. The drama of the gifted child – This is essential reading for people whose experience was of emotional abuse or exploitation by a caregiver. Miller has a number of other, longer books, but this short volume is a must-read.
- Shapiro, Francine. Getting past your past – This is the first self-help book by the inventor of EMDR. Full of ideas based in that trauma treatment about how to heal from trauma.
Trauma and Memory
- Courtois, Christine, Recollections of sexual abuse – Written for professionals, this book nonetheless does an excellent job of reviewing the research on trauma and memory, and goes into some detail about what can be helpful in therapy.
- Freyd, Jennifer. Betrayal trauma: The logic of forgetting abuse – This brief and very accessible volume lays out the scientific underpinnings of Betrayal Trauma Theory, and helps clarify how we remain in relationships where we are harmed.
- Pope, Kenneth S. & Brown, Laura. S, Recovered memories of abuse: Assessment, therapy, forensics – Although written for a professional audience, this book may be helpful for some survivors who wish to have a more thorough grounding in the science of memory for trauma.
- DeBecker, Gavin. The gift of fear – This is a wonderful book for many reasons. It’s DeBecker’s own post-traumatic growth story, which can be inspiring. Equally as important, it’s permission to listen to yourself and your inner warning signs.
- Freyd, Jennifer, & Birrell, Pam (2013), Blind to Betrayal. – This excellent book is a powerful and thoughtful analysis of how our early experiences can teach us to ignore betrayal and violation. Essential understanding for boundary development.
- Spring, Janis Abrams. How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To – The title says it all. I’ve included this in the Boundaries section because I see forgiveness or non-forgiveness as a component of boundary development. Spring does a nice job of exploring the complexities of the forgiveness issue, and is not dogmatic in any direction about what a betrayed person should do. Like her other work, more focused on forgiveness after an affair, but applicable to the issues for many survivors.
Compassion and Mindfulness
- Brown, Brené. The Gift of Imperfection – A lovely little book about self-compassion and healing shame.
- Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Full catastrophe living – This book was many people’s initial introduction to the principles of mindfulness meditation. Lots of good advice about how to develop a program of mindful practice.
- Kornfield, Jack. A path with heart – Another classic book introducing Westerners to Buddhist mindful meditation practices.
- Siegel, Daniel. Mindsight – For fans of Siegel’s work, this book integrates his research on attachment and brain development with applications of mindfulness practice.
- Johnson, Sue. Hold me tight: Seven conversations for a lifetime of love – Although this book could also go into the relationships section, I’ve placed it here because the author, a leader in the development of Emotion-Focused Couples Therapy, does such a great job of explaining how early wounds to attachment and childhood trauma affect adults.
- Siegel, Daniel J. The developing mind – This book does a nice job of reviewing and making accessible for the general reader some of the last two decades of research on attachment and the development of self.
Death and Dying
- American Association of Suicidology’s Survivor Page – This web resource is one of the best for survivors of suicide. Maintained by the AAS, which is the home for research and treatment in the field of suicide, it offers links to support groups and a list of publications reviewed and recommended by AAS, as well as an on-line newsletter for suicide survivors.
- Brener, Anne. Mourning and mitzvah – While written from the Jewish perspective, the author makes a number of excellent suggestions about how to create rituals for grieving that could be adapted and applied by people who aren’t Jewish.
- Didion, Joan. The year of magical thinking – Although this is a memoir, I include it here because it is the most emotionally honest book I’ve ever read about the experience of bereavement.
- Levine, Stephen. Healing into life and death – This is one of only many books by Levine, who has worked for decades with people in the midst of dying. His work has been the foundation of my understanding of relating to death and grief.
- Nechama Liss-Levinson – Some helpful books written for children about death, which I’m suggesting for survivors who want a sense of what normal grief might be like, are written by Nechama Liss-Levinson, a psychologist and psychoanalyst. Her complete list of books can be found at her Amazon page.
Relationships and relationship patterns
- Graham, Dee, Rigsby, Roberta, & Rawlings, Edna. Loving to survive – One of the clearest explanations of how Stockholm Syndrome can develop in the abusive family context.
- Hendrix, Harville, Getting the love you want – This is a classic self-help book for couples that does a pretty good job of exploring how childhood patterns lead to problematic adult attachments. The author also offers a comprehensive series of exercises that couples can do on their own to heal those patterns in relationship.
- Lewis, Thomas, Amini, Fari and Lannon, Richard. A general theory of love – A charming little volume exploring the ways in which our neurobiology affects our choices in relationship.
- Spring, Janis Abrams and Spring, Michael, After the affair – While not specific to the topic of this book, many of the issues of betrayal of trust in intimate relationships are ones that some survivors have found applicable to their dynamics with the elders who abused them.
Faith and religion
- Faithtrust Institute – Faithtrust Institute is an inter-faith organization dedicated to the prevention and treatment of sexual and intimate partner violence using the foundation of religious faith. An excellent resource for locating faith-based information on survivor issues, including for survivors of abuse by clergy.
- Fortune, Marie M. Sexual violence: The sin revisited – Fortune, an ordained United Church of Christ minister, is the founder of the Faithtrust Institute. Her work on the interface of religion and trauma may be especially helpful to survivors for whom faith is important.
- Fortune, Marie M. & Marshall ,Joretta L.. Forgiveness and abuse: Jewish and Christian reflections – This book draws on the two faith traditions to explore questions of how and whether to forgive abuse by someone in the family.
- Kushner, Harold. When bad things happen to good people – Although not formally a religiously-based book, this classic is very informed by its author’s many years as a congregational rabbi. Helpful for people of faith struggling with the “why me” questions.
- American Psychological Association Family Care-Giver Toolkit – This website, while primarily a resource for psychotherapists working with family care-givers, is full of useful information for care-givers themselves. Contains the work of APA Past-President Carol Goodheart’s Task Force on Family Caregiving.
- Family Caregiver Alliance – This national organization is by and for family caregivers, and contains many very helpful resource links.
- Ken Pope’s end-of-life and care-giving web page – Ken Pope is a wizard of finding resources on every possible topic. This is simply one of the many pages on his website; you’ll also find pages there about psychotherapy ethics, animal assisted therapies, caring for special needs animals, and much much more.
- Kreisman, Jerold & Straus, Hal. I hate you don’t leave me – One of the first, and still one of the most accessible, books for non-therapists about the vicissitudes of relating to a person with a personality disorder.
- Linehan, Marsha. Skills training manual for treating borderline personality disorder – This is the foundational work of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), whose creator, Marsha Linehan, courageously came out in 2011 with her personal story of struggling with self-destructive patterns in life. If you’re a survivor who has difficulty with regulating your emotions, who uses self-harm to soothe yourself, or who has difficult and stormy relationships, the skills in this book can change your life.
- Mason, Paul & Kreger, Randi. Stop walking on eggshells – This book is a helpful “you’re not to blame” guide for people who have relationships with individuals who are personality disordered. While not specifically focused on experiences of survivors with elders, many of its insights are quite applicable.
- Restorative Justice Online – An excellent web resource on this approach to finding justice in the aftermath of violation. Although RJ approaches are now mostly being practiced in the U.S.the criminal justice system, the model for amends and reconnection between survivors and those who have violated them is one that can inform a survivor who is attempting to navigate relating to abusive elders.
Memoirs by Survivors
- Burroughs, Augusten. Running with scissors – Growing up in the context of neglect and violation.
- Gray Sexton, Linda Searching for Mercy Street – Gray Sexton is the daughter of poet Anne Sexton; this memoir describes life with an emotionally unstable and unavailable parent.
- Karr, Mary. The liar’s club – Karr’s book details the experience of growing up in a family where violation and abuse were commonplace.
- Lyden, Jacki. Daughter of the Queen of Sheba – Lyden, an NPR reporter, writes about being raised by a mother with untreated bipolar disorder.
- Wolff, Tobias. This Boy’s Life – Wolff’s book is a story of the impact of neglect.
Trauma-Related Professional Organizations
- APA Division of Trauma Psychology – APA’s Trauma Psychology Division publishes a journal and a newsletter, and offers programming at the annual APA Convention.
- EMDR International Association – EMDRIA is the organization of EMDR-training psychotherapists around the world. A referral link for EMDRIA-certified therapists is available on the site, in addition to information about training for therapists.
- International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies – ISTSS is a multidisciplinary, international organization that publishes a journal and newsletter, and offers an annual conference as well as on-line continuing education for professionals.
- International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation – ISSTD is the home for research and training on complex trauma and dissociation. It publishes a journal and an on-line newsletter, and presents an annual conference. It also offers an on-line training program for professionals wishing to acquire competence in the treatment of dissociation. ISST-D has a referral list of therapists.
- Sidran Foundation – Sidran, in addition to having many written resources for survivors and therapists and offering training for therapists and other first responders, has long maintained a referral network of therapists. You can find information here about Vicarious Traumatization as well.
- Generation Five – Generation Five’s mission is “To end child abuse in five generations.”
Finding a Psychotherapist
Many state, provincial, or regional organizations of psychologists, counselors, and social workers have referral services that are free to the public. You can find your local organization by typing such search terms as your state, province or city name, psychological association, psychiatric society social work society, or counselor association, into your favorite on-line search engine. You can also use the referral resources provided by some of the trauma-related organizations listed above. In addition, there are many commercial websites today that offer lists of therapists. Please be aware that none of these groups screen the people they list, and that the therapist writes her or his own description of practice.
When choosing a therapist it’s important to find out not only what their credentials are and whether they’re covered by your insurance, but also how it feels to you to work with them, and whether or not they have an understanding of the effects of childhood maltreatment and abuse. Years of experience may be less important than a therapist’s knowledge of trauma and their ability to be connected to and compassionate with you. Pay attention to your gut. Any therapist who tells you that they have a miracle cure that no one else has is misrepresenting themselves, because there is no such miracle cure. No therapist should ever suggest a sexual relationship to you, try to borrow money from or go into business with you, try to make friends with you outside of therapy, or trade your services for theirs. If a therapist sees your best friend or another family member, it’s usually a good idea to see someone else if there are enough other options available to you.