You Survived…Now What?: A Road Map to Reclaiming Life
Elizabeth Williams, LSW, Professional Woman Publishing, 2012, Self-help
In You Survived…Now What?: A Roadmap to Reclaiming Life, author Elizabeth Williams, LSW, posits that one cannot heal in secret, and must learn to manage the symptoms left by trauma, as the symptoms never fully disappear.
In the opening chapter, Williams disarms early resistance from readers by defining healthy responses to trauma (proactive) and unhealthy responses (reactive, passive).
Williams also compellingly uses her experiences to guide the reader about residual trauma that comes with healing from primary trauma. Raped by her favorite high school teacher, and watching local broadcasters spin her situation into a story about a delusional, love-struck teenager, she uses her years-long reactive coping strategies to illustrate how to move from reactive and proactive coping mechanisms.
This book was a pleasant read for several reasons. First, Williams acknowledges that healing is difficult, partly because our society is not conducive to healing; the goal is survival. Second, her earnest desires are to lead readers into strategic healing.
One weak spot in her discourse was regarding forgiveness. Like other wounded healers, Williams resorts to trite comments about forgiving the offender for one’s personal well-being. Unfortunately, her strategies for coping with offenders is stronger than her argument on forgiving them.
I highly recommend this book as a general guide and thoughtful overview of what healing from trauma entails. Williams admits how “sometimes surviving doesn’t feel so good.” But she thoughtfully models and gently directs readers to better coping strategies.
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