This month marks the publication of Healing the Wounded Heart, the new book from Dr. Dan Allender, Professor of Counseling Psychology at The Seattle School, where he also served as the founding President. In Healing the Wounded Heart, which explores recent discoveries about the lasting physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual ramifications of sexual abuse, Dr. Allender shares about what he has learned working with survivors of sexual abuse in the more than 25 years since writing The Wounded Heart.
“As we look at evil’s plan to create orphans and strangers, the fundamental war clearly seen is that evil wants to use shame to silence, to shut us down, to keep the realities of our own secrets—those dark, sexual or emotional secrets hidden—so that we are not exposed anymore, we don’t feel vulnerable and lost anymore,” Dan said in a recent series discussing the new book on The Allender Center Podcast. “We don’t want to fully face the level of extremity and harm that we have endured, or that is being suffered around us. […] We have thousands of ways to mitigate against human suffering, and this book is an invitation into suffering.”
The Wounded Heart was one of the first books to address both the psychology and theology of abuse, trauma, and restoration, and it is considered a classic for those experiencing the effects of abuse as well as those hoping to walk with others on the path of healing. Now, 25 years later, Dan is more aware than ever of evil’s intent to create harm and of the spiritual component underlying abuse and trauma. At the same time, significant advances in psychology, neuroscience, attachment theory, and more have provided stunning clarity about the physical, mental, and emotional effects of abuse, as well as about the potential for healing through relationships with trusted and attuned others.
The result is a book that is more than an updated version of The Wounded Heart. Instead, Healing the Wounded Heart is a vibrant and vital read for both survivors of sexual abuse and those who know and work with others who are living with the effects of abuse and trauma. “Through Dan’s skillful and tender writing, I’ve been given a vision for how to love and walk well with the members of my community whose stories have been marked by sexual abuse,” says Shauna Niequist, author of Savor and Bread & Wine. “I’m so very thankful for his gentle, prophetic voice, and for the many ways his words have been healing and life-giving for generations.”
The Seattle School will host a special book release celebration for Healing the Wounded Heart at 7 p.m. this Saturday, March 19. The free event will feature conversation with Dan around the central themes of the book, copies of which will be available for purchase and signing. You can learn more and RSVP here. In the meantime, you can read an excerpt from the first chapter of Healing the Wounded Heart, which we shared last week on The Allender Center’s blog.
“Healing is not only available, it’s certain. The only question is, how do I partake and participate in the work of restoration?” asks Dan. “It was a labor, but I believe we have accomplished the process of offering a kind of map to a full-fledged experience of the healing process.”