Resources for Healing & Resilience - Readings

Below are several books that are helpful resources for healing and resilience.  Many of them are available in the Columbia libraries, where you can request them as Kindles, hard copies, or read them online.

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Getting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Life

An accessible study of sexual abuse in society, with practical information, research and special exercises for recognizing abuse, and several success stories. Ginny NiCarthy, psychotherapist. Seal Press (1997). 

In an Unspoken Voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness

With a theoretical framework and case examples, this book combines the latest findings in biology, neuroscience and body-oriented psychotherapy to bring together instinct and reason, helping readers to become more whole. Peter A. Levine, Ph.D. North Atlantic Books (2012). 

Read online.

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Trauma expert Bessel van der Kolk MD shows how traumatic stress re-arranges the brain’s wiring related to pleasure, engagement, control, and trust – and covers neurofeedback, mindfulness techniques, play, yoga, and other therapies. Viking Penguin (2014).

The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook: A Guide to Healing, Recovery, and Growth

This book offers a range of treatment alternatives and self-management techniques for trauma, survivors reach recovery and growth after pain. Dr. Glenn Shiraldi; Ph.D. Lowell House (2000).

The PTSD Workbook: Simple, Effective Techniques for Overcoming Traumatic Stress Symptoms

How to regain emotional resilience after a traumatic event, by Mary Beth Williams, PhD, clinical social worker and trauma specialist, and SoiliPoijula, PhD, clinical psychologist and psychotherapist - with techniques used by PTSD specialists based in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and evidence-based therapy. New Harbinger Publications (2013).

Read online.

Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma

This book looks at how animals experience (or don’t experience) trauma and compares their resiliency to human experience. Peter Levine; Ph.D. North Atlantic Books (1997). 

Healing the Soul after Religious Abuse: The Dark Heaven of Recovery (2009)

Mikele Rauch offers a unique perspective of recover and restoration of the soul. Through a series of interviews with individuals from the five major religions, she considers various ways that religion can do harm.

LGBTQ Literature

Letters for My Sisters: Transitional Wisdom in Retrospect

Featuring writings by transgender women, with contributions by well known trans women Andrea James, Calpernia Addams, Lynn Conway and Jennifer Finney Boylan. Transgress Press (2014).

Trauma, Stress, and Resilience Among Sexual Minority Women: Rising Like the Phoenix

A resource to examine trauma, violence, and stress as experienced by lesbian and bisexual women, with unprecedented data on the prevalence, impact, and meaning of traumatic experiences in the lives of sexual minorities. By Kimberly Balsam, PhD. Routledge (2012). 

Read online.

Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement

Moving beyond dominant narratives and the traditional “violence against women” framework, the book is a multi-gendered, multiracial and multi-layered look at the role queer, transgender and gender non-conforming survivors have in the anti-violence movement.

Written on the Body: Letters from Trans and Non-Binary Survivors of Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Edited by Lexie Bean

An anthology of powerfully honest and intimate letters written by trans and non-binary survivors of sexual violence, offering support and guidance to fellow survivors with additional resources for allies and professionals.

Partners, Spouses and Families

Allies in Healing - When the Person You Love Is a Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse

Author and incest survivor Laura Davis offers practical advice and encouragement based on in-depth interviews and workshops for those trying to support survivors while tending to their own needs. Harper Collins (1991).

If He is Raped: A Guidebook for Parents, Partners, Spouses, and Friends

This book outlines the most important things to understand about male rapes, which frequently involves males assaulting other males. Alan W. McAvoy, Jeff D. Brookings and Debbie Rollo. Learning Publications (1999). 

Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others

A book about the often-unrecognized toll upon those working with survivors, secondary exposure to trauma and its impacts, and ways to manage these. Authors Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Connie Burk have worked with survivors of violence and sexual violence, LGBTQ survivors and individuals and organizations on the front line of trauma care and emergency services. Berrett-Koehler Publishers (2007). 

Read online.

Dangerous Families: Queer Writing on Surviving

A book that addresses all forms of abuse by contributors of different races, class, ethnicities, education, origin, sexuality, and gender. By Matilda a.k.a. Matt Bernstein Sycamore. Harrington Park Press (2004).

Read online

Recovery/Survival Strategies

Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence

Artists, activists, mothers, writers and students share stories of survival, and what it means to them to be an advocate and ally to survivors. Edited by Lisa Factora-Borchers, who worked extensively with survivors of sexual violence in nonprofit and university settings. With Aishah Shahidah Simmons, incest and rape survivor.  AK Press (2014)

Eight Bullets: One Woman’s Story of Surviving Anti-Gay Violence

Claudia Brenner’s personal account of a shooting attack in May 1988 that left her wounded, and that killed her 28-year-old partner, Rebecca Wight. Brenner covers the murder, its aftermath, and her path to recovery and activism.  Firebrand Brooks (1995).

8 Keys to Safe Trauma Recovery: Take-Charge Strategies to Empower Your Healing

Learn eight keys to successful trauma healing, from recognizing survival, to creating supportive inner dialogue, to finding your own recovery pace, and more. Babette Rothschild; MSW and psychotherapist. W.W. Norton & Company (2010).

Growing Beyond Survival, A Self-Help Toolkit for Managing Traumatic Stress

A practical, user-friendly guidebook that provides trauma survivors with strategies to help them heal and recover. Elizabeth G. Vermilyea; Ph.D. Sidran Institute Press (2013). 

Hush: Moving From Silence to Healing After Childhood Sexual Abuse

The real-life stories of survivors. Nicole Braddock Bromley. Moody Publishers (2008).

Read online.

I Never Told Anyone - Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

The testimonies of 34 women who were molested by relatives, neighbors and strangers, and how they survived. Co-edited by Ellen Bass, Louise Thornton, Jude Brister, Grace Hammond, Jean Huntley, and Vicki Lamb. Harper & Row (1983).

Recovery: How to Survive Sexual Assault for Women, Men, Teenagers, Their Friends and Families

This guide offers survivors of rape, their friends and relatives knowledge from social workers and social scientists on the short and long-term effects of rape. It includes information about date rape, rape crisis programs, rape shelters and other social resources, researched by Helen Benedict. Columbia University Press (1994).

Thriving in the Wake of Trauma: A Multicultural Guide, Contributions in Psychology

An examination of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, migration status, religion and many other cultural factors and their a role in recovery from a traumatic event. Dr. Thema Bryant Davis describes how to recognize issues that need to be considered for healing. 

Read online.

Witness to Resilience: Stories of Intimate Violence

Poems crafted from the brutal stories of survivors of domestic and intimate partner violence, with whom author and licensed clinical social worker (LCSW-R) Jane Seskin has worked for decades. Jane Seskin (2013).

The Revolution Starts at Home by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

This collection breaks the silence surrounding intimate violence within social justice circles, providing practical strategies for dealing with abuse and creating safety outside without relying on the state.
Read online. 

The Rape Recovery Handbook: Step by Step Help for Survivors of Sexual Assault

A framework for survivors of sexual assault to overcome substance abuse, panic and anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and more. Aphrodite T. Matsakis Ph.D. New Harbinger Publications (2003). 

The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse, 3rd Edition

A highly respected resource for understanding and healing the intimate sexual problems caused by sex abuse. Wendy Maltz; CSW, DST, internationally-recognized sex therapist. William Morrow (2012). 

Mindfulness/Yoga/Self Exploration

Mindfulness for Beginners

Professor of Medicine Emeritus and Executive Director of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Jon Kabat Zinn introduces new students of mindfulness to the benefits of the practice, including stress reduction, alleviation of depression, chronic pain relief, and more. (2012)

Overcoming Trauma Through Yoga

Beyond traditional talk therapy, this book introduces trauma-sensitive yoga for men, women, teens, returning veterans, and othes. Developed with clinicians and yoga teachers, along with medical doctor Bessel van der Kolk. Authored with Elizabeth Hopper, PhD.  North Atlantic Books (2012).

Mind/Body Awareness for Survivors

Paul Linden of Columbus Center for Movement Studies/Aikido, and facilitator of MaleSurvivor’s Weekends of Recovery, offers wonderful books, articles and resources on mind/body awareness for abuse survivors.

Women's Health

Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Healing Sexual Trauma

A sex-positive guide for all women survivors of sexual assault - heterosexual, bisexual, lesbian, coupled, and single - who want to reclaim their sex lives. Healing Sex encourages women to learn how to say, "yes" to their own desires and on their own terms. Staci Haines. ReadHowYouWant (2010).

Letters to Survivors, Words of Comfort for Women Recovering from Rape

Women from around the world share their personal messages of hope after rape. Letters presented as works of full-color art, with the text of each letter. Matt Atkinson. RAR (2010). 

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

An inspiring, comprehensive guide that offers hope and encouragement to every woman sexually abused as a child - and those who care about her. The authors weave personal experience with professional knowledge to show the reader how she can come to terms with her past while moving powerfully into the future. Eileen Bass; MFA. Harper Collins (1988).

Surviving the Silence – Black Women’s Stories of Rape

Professor of Women's and Gender Studies, and English Professor Charlotte Pierce-Baker tells the harrowing and courageous account of her own rape and includes the stories of her family's response, and the voices of black men who have supported rape survivors. Published by W.W. Norton & Company (2000). 
Read more from the author in Barnard’s Scholar & Feminist.

Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and A World Without Rape

This book dismantles the way we view rape in our culture and works toward a genuine understanding and respect for female sexual pleasure. Jaclyn Friedman; Master’s in Gender Studies. Seal Press (2008).

Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology

Presenting the fierce and vital writing of organizers, lawyers, scholars, poets, and policy makers, Color of Violence puts women of color at the center of the anti-violence movement and maps strategies of resistance used by women of color around the world. 

The Year After: A Memoir and The Year After Journal: Your Guide to Reclaiming Personal Power After Rape (2013)

Based on the author's journal, Ashley Warner offers a rare and intimate portrait of a rape survivor's journey in her empowering memoir and workbook about the courage to heal and the promise of peace.

Men's Health

Speaking Our Truth: Voices of Courage and Healing for Male Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Inspiring accounts of male survivors of childhood sexual abuse whose stories provide other survivors and particularly other male survivors with hope, recognition, and healing. Compiled by Neal King, PhD. Harper Perennial Library (1995).

Unpinned: Breaking the Hold of Sexual Assault and Abuse Written by a Male Survivor

In this book the prevailing beliefs that sexual assault does not happen to men are challenged and readers are offered hope as they learn the lessons of recovery. Grant Watkins. Tasora Books (2010).

Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse

This book, written specifically for men, examines the changing cultural attitudes toward male survivors of incest and other sexual trauma. Mike Lew; psychotherapist and M.Ed. Harper Collins (2004). 

Young Men of Color and the Other Side of Harm – Addressing Disparities in Our Reaction to Violence

This VERA Institute publication by Danielle Sered addresses the disparities faced by young men of color and particularly their experience as victims of crime and violence amid barriers to economic advancement, education and positive health outcomes. New York City VERA Institute (2015).

Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men: The Trauma of Sexual Abuse (2018)

Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D.  offers a comprehensive guide to the realities of male sexual victimization in institutions, sex trafficking and socio-cultural influences on processing and treatment.

Healing Sexually Betrayed Men and Boys: Treatment for Sexual Abuse, Assault, and Trauma (2018)

Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D. offers clinicians and survivors a new authoritative source for treatment of sexually victimized men and boys.

Trauma and Countertrauma, Resilience and Counterresilience: Insights from Psychoanalysts and Trauma Experts (2017)

Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D. introduces a collection of seasoned clinicians reflections on the inner lives of people who work and heal the wounds of psychic trauma. 

Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse (2005)

Richard B. Gartner lays out the healing process for men who were abused as children, offering a meaningful way to overcome invisibility, stigma and shame they have endured.

Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men (1999)

Richard B. Gartner examines in this volume how sexual betrayal affects boys, the ways they carry this hurt into adulthood and the treatment provided by therapists who work with them.

Memories of Sexual Betrayal: Truth, Fantasy, Repression, and Dissociation (1996)

Richard B. Gartner presents a comprehensive volume of papers which explore the repressed memory controversy by leading clinicians from a 1995 conference held in New York City.

Joining Forces: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive (2012)

Howard Fradkin, Ph.D. has written this inspirational book to empower male survivors of sexual victimization at any age to dare to dream and overcome the effects of trauma and learn to thrive.

Breaking the Ruhls (2018)

Larry Ruhl's memoir resonates deeply with many who have experienced similar trauma, boundary violations and abuse within the family.

Film and Theatre

The Vagina Monologues

Adapted from the award-winning one-woman show, this compilation of lusty, outrageous, poignant, and thoroughly human stories transform perceptions of the female anatomy. Eve Ensler; award-winning playwright and activist. HERE Arts Center (1996). 

The Tale

The Tale is a 2018 American drama film written and directed by Jennifer Fox. It tells the story about Fox's own childhood sexual abuse and how it affects her later relationships.

A film and federally recognized nonprofit organization that provides outreach, education and services for men who have experienced sexual abuse in childhood, and provides information and resources for survivors’ family members, friends, and partners.

Boys and Men Healing (2010)

Boys and Men Healing is a documentary about the impact that sexual abuse of boys has on both the individual and society, and the importance of healing and speaking out for male survivors to end the devastating effects.

Advocacy/Self-Help Online Resources

The Anti-Violence Project

Part of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, the New York City Anti-Violence Project provides free and confidential assistance to LGBTQ and HIV-affected individuals in New York City through direct client services, community organizing and public advocacy. The Anti-Violence Project was recognized by the White House for its work on intimate partner violence within LGBTQ & HIV-affected communities.

The Breathe Network

Education and training for professionals in survivor-centered, trauma-informed care. The Network also maintains a list of organizations and books for understanding the impacts of sexual violence.

Challenging Male Supremacy Project

Facilitates long-term group work with men and responses child sexual abuse and other forms of intimate violence and analyzes the impact of male supremacy alongside the personal and social transformations needed to end sexual assault.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)

A network of frontline providers, family members, researchers, and national partners from hospitals, universities, community-based programs and centers across the United States working to increase access to services for survivors. Created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act.

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

The nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization, RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800-656-HOPE), and in partnership with more than 1,100 local-level service providers across the country. It also operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. RAINN offers programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network


Offers shelter, recovery, and renewal services to survivors of trauma including a 24-hour multilingual helpline, counseling, and community education and outreach to help women.

Safe Horizon

Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading victim assistance organization, providing support, preventing violence and promoting justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.

NYC Alliance Against Sexual Assault

The New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault strives to prevent sexual violence and reduce the harm it causes through education research and advocacy.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence is the voice of victims and survivors. The organization aims to change society by affecting public policy and increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence.

NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence

The Mayor's Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence (ENDGBV) develops policies and programs, provides training and prevention education, conducts research and evaluations, performs community outreach, and operates the New York City Family Justice Center.