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Having accidentally stolen a copy of Breaking Free: Help for Survivors of child abuse by Carolyn Ainscough from a therapy center I once attended some years ago: I read it through randomly hoping to gain new insight into healing methods and positive ways of overcoming individual suffering linked to the affects of past abuse. It delivered a great deal as a semi-self help guide with plenty of case stories and some highly descriptive researched explanations as to why suffers of trauma experience similar and/or different accounts of anxiety and depression disorders. It is a highly complex read when the author flies off into the deeper psychological ramifications of childhood trauma in certain chapters of the book and even though it delivers a concise read overall with plentiful reference guides to practical activities survivors can engage to affirm self-worth. This is essential reading for anyone who has just first come to terms with the impact of sexual abuse because it is an immediate source of general guidance towards the understanding of of why it has affected their lives so greatly with so much stigma attached to this controversial subject matter that society often finds exceedingly difficult to confront. The author, Carolyn Ainscough wrote a very welcoming prologue to what the reader is expected to digest before delving into the actual book at first glance. She also explained her work as a therapist for women who have been sexually abused and this book is predominantly aimed at female survivors to which I felt lacked the essential contrast between how abuse affects adults on the whole regardless of gender. I'm not much of a feminist supporter or reader and therefore, this did make me feel reluctant to really get stuck in even when I told myself that I must if it is to be of any real support to me. Admittedly I have read extensively on the subject of childhood abuse and trauma so am pretty familiar with all the psychological terminology and attempts at describing shared experiences of abuse and this book is no different in that respect, but offers some degree of practical help to survivors who are available and ready to do something to their lives that will enable them to function in a more adjusted and settled way. A great many of abuse survivors understandably experience such levels of severe clinical depression that they simply cannot take anything positive out of the good that life has to offer them and a high percentage self-harm in some form or another. I've met many women and some men who have been through abuse as children and very few feel that they are well enough to live healthy adjusted/settled lives. I myself suffered the plight of sexual abuse at the hands of my step father from the age of 2 until 15 and for some time after; I was pretty numbed to everything and everyone, but began reading material on this subject from the age of 23/24 and began writing of my experiences to help me come to terms with the cruelty I suffered. Although this helped somewhat, it did little to make up for the lack of psychological development that had gotten destroyed during childhood and caused me to form unhealthy addictions to smoking and over-eating as a source of protection and comfort. This intriguing guide by Ainscough did not meet my needs for self-help at a time when although I was well read on the subject; was not ready to take action to overcome some of the most crippling aspects of my low-self worth and depression that I was in some kind of denial about until recent years. I still felt victim of a crime and this is not a recommended read if this is the case. Often the process for many survivors who struggle to cope even with much support, is a very long and difficult journey in which many take their own lives and/or live life beating themselves up as if they are to blame for what happened to them - very few go onto abuse children themselves when the emotional pain is so acute of the memories that they would never dare dream of hurting a vulnerable child. Although this book does discuss this in some references; it truthfully tells the reader that in some cases this does happen but survivors are more likely to remain victims than tyrants. Because of all of my experiences of reading similar material: I was desperately hunting for an alternative book on childhood sexual abuse (not the mere affects) of it into adulthood but more so about recovery from trauma and explanations as to why child molesters choose to abuse vulnerable children. The title 'breaking free' was relevant enough for me to give it my attention but not a read that gave me the answers I was seeking (even though I wasn't even sure what answers I was searching). Then I stumbled across the life coach and author author, Liz Adamson and never before had my eyes wide opened by such a book of revelation. In contrast to the 'breaking free' guide; Liz's guide for "Overcoming Sexual and Childhood Abuse" discusses in very tangible writing: everything a survivor of childhood abuse should know if they are at all to overcome the effects of it. This book is in two parts. Part one looks at all the patterns and issues associated with abuse but written with far different insight and opinion that is written in "Help for Survivors of child abuse" by Carolyn Ainscough. Part two provides processes and exercises designed to rid abuse victims of the negative aspects of the past. This can be done by individuals or within a group context. This book is an exceptionally powerful read as well as descriptive in context to the topic that is easily readable with no waffling at all. The book by Liz Adamson is a modern adaption of all the older guides on childhood abuse and trauma which sets it miles apart from any of the ones I've ever read. This author hits the nails right on the heads and knows entirely of the reasons as to why an abuser abuses and why victims often remain victims or become tyrants - this complete new perspective certainly awakened me to a world that I never really knew existed before and would recommenced this to anyone who has at least read some of the more dated books on this theme. It also serves a multi-functional purpose in that it addresses and deals directly with the issues of power and misuse of it so as to create deeper understanding of it; changes the perspective of the individual who is mentally/emotionally trapped by their experiences as well as campaigns for more public exposure to the growing problem in society. My only regret is that she could have written this much sooner in my life (in my 20s) because although I look 19 for a 37 year old as have great skin: the personal struggle and suffering didn't need to have lasted for as long as it has! I thought that this book exceeds all others in this category of genre and in many respects is one of the most advanced and informative even for it's age. This is not a gentle lullaby to cradle those in pain unlike some of those self-help guides that have attempt to comfort the survivor. This is an honest, somewhat political in places to raise awareness of the very heinous crimes against humanity that humans themselves commit through ignorance and psychological damage. Help for Survivors of child abuse by Carolyn Ainscough, does little to challenge the powers that exist within communities and society that are misused as well as misunderstood, it also feels like an isolatory read that hasn't the capacity for explaining away human behavior that is corrupt or teach the survivor to understand that real underlying reasons as to why they were abused in childhood. In conclusion, although it is an informative read, has many limitations as a practical self-help guide when it has not evolved from other similar reading material on this misunderstood subject. I think I threw it out or gave it away to someone else once I discovered Liz Adamson work but would have kept it if it really had made such a difference to my recovery that is still an ongoing process.
I think this book should be put in Psychology and Mind body and spirit because it covers both areas. I have read many books that have been written on this subject and work on a helpline. I often tell callers that if they are looking for one book to read if you have been abused yourself or know or work with survivors then this is the one i'd recommend.It was written by 2 psychologists Carolyn Ainscough & Kay Toon who set up groups in the Warrington area and this book is based ontheir experiences. It is a type of workbook which looks at how SA changes lives, Guilt feelings, Tackling problems, feelings towards others and in the end Breaking Free.has some lists of Events,signs, symtoms ,thoughts ,feelings that can makesurvivors realise they are not alone in what they are going through. It is available in some libraries. The first statement from a survivor says it all 'Now I feel more powerful. I'm going to take care of this powerand i'm going to take charge of my life. I'm going to get out of this mess. I can see a better future. I can see a different life. I can smell abetter future. I'm not frightened anymore. I'm breaking free' ISBN 0-85969-664-2