Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence – Book Review
Author: Edward S. Kubany, Mari A. McCaig, and Janet R. Laconsay
Genre: Psychology, self-help, non-fiction
My rating: ★★★★☆
Release Date: Published 15th August, 2004 by New Harbinger Publications
Format: Paperback, 216 pages
What did I think?
What you should know:
I was torn between giving 3 and 4 stars. In the end, I gave it 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Technically speaking, anyone who was abused by a partner and is now safe, but is suffering from symptoms caused by the previous trauma, could use this workbook.
You will have to accept that the language used is he/him when speaking about the abusers and she/her for the survivors. However, it is stated clearly by the authors that women can also abuse when in heterosexual or same-sex relationships. Having said that, various anecdotes or real-life examples given use both male and female survivors.
Things I liked:
Though repetitive at times, the book is blunt in it’s message and I suspect that really banging a point home is useful because some people get psychologically and emotionally stuck in certain ways of thinking and behaving after trauma. The way it’s written helps to provide clarity.
The book was designed to be worked through slowly rather than quickly cover to cover (though you could read it first and then start working through it). You need time to think, answer the questions, plus put things into practice before moving on.
The book busts some myths along the way. My favourite is the ‘it takes two to tango’ myth – that abuse is caused by both parties. Abuse is about controlling and dominating another person and usually it’s one individual attempting to control, while the other appears to fight back in various ways to defend themselves (not always a helpful way). It’s very common for those who are abused to appear out of control at times as they consistently try to stop the abuse and fail which is extremely frustrating. It’s very difficult to know what is going on behind the scenes.
Things I didn’t like:
I worry that someone who is badly traumatised might become more so by trying to work through this book on their own. It’s not a problem of the book itself. A suggestion: Find a ‘good’ therapist and ask their opinion of whether you should use this book. Perhaps you could use it in conjunction with a therapist. I think the answer will depend on the individual and the state of their mental health and post-traumatic stress disorder at the time.
Another grumble was that some examples given in the workbook were too extreme, too obvious (black and white), or not relevant to the topic.
My final gripe was that I didn’t agree with every assumption the writer’s made. Unfortunately, I don’t have a list of the ideas I didn’t share with them because I read this book over a long time period and wasn’t keeping notes. However, it was just a few things which means most of the book I did agree with. Again, working with a therapist would allow you to discuss anything you were unsure of.
Healing the Trauma of Domestic Violence was a thorough workbook containing useful tips, tests and information. It will be of help to many people.