“This powerful book deals with the issue of how Christians, especially those called to counsel, can help survivors of sexual abuse find healing and hope.a“
In the next three chapters the author works through the three phases of therapy and gives much practical advice. Langberg notes that a key part of the healing process is sorting out truth and lies, something that can be very difficult for victims. They may have been fed one lie after another by their perpetrators.
In a sense their experience of abuse has taught them the lies that God does not care, that he does not answer prayer, that he is not all-powerful. Langberg notes,
When confronted with evil or terrible suffering, we find our faith in the goodness, love, and power of God to be profoundly shaken. As the survivor confronts her life without pretending, she will have to rework her faith so that her relationship to God is not predicated on denying the truth. Is God good, loving, and powerful even though the evidence in her life appears to scream to the contrary? In part, the crisis of faith is whether or not truth will be derived from life’s circumstances or from God’s Word (page 197).
Part five deals with some special considerations: dissociative disorders, false memory syndrome, and male survivors. This is helpful information for those who care for those who have been abused.
In the last two parts Langberg addresses the person of the therapist and the profile of a compassionate church. The final section is especially helpful for pastoral counselors as the Christian community has not always been a comfortable place for victims or survivors of CSA. The author provides a lengthy list of survivor’s needs and another of potential hindrances to effective helping.
This book demonstrates that while a pastoral counselor will want to refer a wounded member to competent clinical care, he will also want to provide the appropriate pastoral care that will help the hurting person make the transition from being a victim to a survivor of sexual abuse. Both play a vital role in the healing process.
Author: Langberg, Diane Mandt
Reviewed by: John D. Schuetze on 5/20/2015