Sunday, June 17, 2012

New book mixes 12 steps & abuse survivor healing

Adena Bank Lees’ new book 12 Healing Steps for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Practical Guide shows how the 12 Steps can be converted into a useful guide for recovery from childhood sexual abuse.

The good psychodrama news is that Adena, a licensed clinical social worker and an advanced psychodrama student, is now developing action methods to go along with the book and presenting them on behalf of the Arizona Psychodrama Institute, which is certainly a second contribution to the field.

In this small book, she demonstrates her creativity as a clinician and as a writer. She has taken the venerable 12 Steps – based on Alcoholics Anonymous and that have been successfully employed by millions of people since originating in the 1930s – and illustrates how survivors of abuse can follow these steps to come to peace with early pain.

A big plus of the book is that she converts the sometimes stodgy writing of the 12 Steps to approachable and accessible language. For instance, Step 2, “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity,” is changed to “Willing to ask for help.”  The traditional Step 4, which states, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves,” becomes simply, “Write your autobiography.”

Each chapter explores a single step, giving a user-friendly explanation of the step and how it promotes healing for abuse survivors. At the end of each chapter is a list of suggested actions to further the recovery process, which may include journaling, making a collage, writing letters, list making, talking to a trusted friend and the like.

Men and women who are already in recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Al-Anon and other programs will find this book both familiar and useful. It’s also a valuable guide for  mental health clinicians, addictions counselors and other health professionals who should consider this book a valuable addition in working with individuals and groups.