Pray. Heal. Love.
"O Lord my God, I called to you for help and you healed me..."
Discover resources for your healing journey. Whether you want to find a counselor, discover a book, or connect with an organization, browse below to find just what you need.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
800.799.SAFE (7233) or 800.787.3224 (TTY)
RAINN, Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
Working for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence in multiple religious traditions, including Christianity
Hagar's Sisters, Support for Abused Christian Women in New England
RAVE, Religion and Violence E-Learning
Safe Havens Interfaith Partnership Against Domestic Violence
SAIV, the Spiritual Alliance to Stop Intimate Violence
Sidran Institute: Traumatic Stress Education and Advocacy, including a focus on faith
SNAP, the Survivor's Network of those Abused by Priests (and other religious leaders)
The Hope of Survivors, a Ministry for Survivors of Clergy Sexual Abuse
There are a variety of books about abuse, faith, and healing. I recommend searching for books at your local library or online if you have access to a safe computer that is not accessible by someone who is abusing you. Your local domestic violence organization may also be a good source of suggestions. You may search for books on domestic violence, in general, or search for a more specific topic that fits your experience, such as incest, abuse in marriage, abuse and lesbian relationships, abuse and women of color, recovery from financial abuse, etc. To begin, here are three general "classics" in the abuse field:
Herman, Judith, MD, Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence--from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror. New York: Basic Books, 1997.
Walker, Lenore E. The Battered Woman. New York: Harper Collins, 1979.
Bass, Ellen, and Laura Davis. Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. New YOrk: Harper Collins, 1994.
The following represent some good books for dealing with the topic of faith and healing from both academic or personal perspectives:
Adams, Carol J. and Fortune, Marie M., et al. Violence Against Women and Children: A Christian Theological Sourcebook. New York: Continuum, 1995.
Auer, Jim. Abuse: How Can I Be Safe Again? Liguori, MO: Liguori, 2006.
(This is a book for children that contains a spiritual perspective)
Benvenga, Nancy. Healing the Wounds of Emotional Abuse: The Journey Worth the Risk. Meneola, NY: Resurrection Press, 1996.
Boase, Elizabeth and Frechette, Christopher. Bible through the Lens of Trauma. SBL Press, 2016.
Brock, Rita Nakashima, and Parker, Rebecca Ann. Proverbs of Ashes: Violence, Redemptive Suffering, and the Search for What Saves Us. Boston: Beacon Press, 2002.
Bouclin, Marie Evans. Seeking Wholeness: Women Dealing with Abuse of Power in the Catholic Church. Liturgical Press, 2006. (for women sexual abuse survivors)
Farley, Wendy. The Wounding and Healing of Desire: Weaving Heaven and Earth. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox press, 2005.
Foote, Catherine. Survivor Prayers: Talking with God about Childhood Sexual Abuse. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1994.
Fortune, Marie. Keeping the Faith: Guidance for Christan Women Facing Abuse. San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1987.
Fortune, Marie. Love Does No Harm: Sexual Ethics for the Rest of Us. New York: Continuum, 1995.
Galasso, Carmine. Crosses: Portraits of Clergy Abuse. London: Trolley, 2007.
Hanrahan, Maura. Spirit and Dust: Meditations for Women with Depression. Chicago: ACTA Publications, 2009.
Leslie, Kristen J. When Violence is No Stranger: Pastoral Counseling with Survivors of Acquaintance Rape. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2002.
Omilian, Susan M. The Thriver Workbook: Journey from Victim to Survivor to Thriver. West Hartford, CT: Butterfly Bliss Productions, 2010.
Sanford, Doris. I Can't Talk About It. Portland, OR: Multnomah Press, 1986.
(Book for Children who have experienced sexual abuse, contains spiritual perspective)
Schmidt, Kenneth W. You have set us free: Scriptural Reflections for Trauma Survivors. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2016.
Schussler Fiorenza, Elisabeth, and Copeland, Mary Shawn, eds. Violence Against Women. Vol. 1. Maryknoll, NY: Concilium/Orbis Books, 1994.
Sotelo, Nicole. Pray Your Way through Forgiveness: Reflections, Prayers, and Actions for Healing. New London, CT: Twenty-Third Publications, 2020.
Sotelo, Nicole. Women Healing from Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2006.
If you decide to seek counseling, ask for a counselor who has training in the area that fits your experience. For example, child abuse, partner abuse, rape, etc. Also, if you seek a counselor and are currently in an abusive relationships, insist on seeing the counselor individually. Sometimes people who abuse others will use couple or family counseling in unhealthy ways to keep you from leaving the relationship.
American Counseling Association
American Mental Health Counselors Association
American Psychological Association
800.374.2721 or TDD/TTY 202.336.6123
National Association of Social Workers
Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute, body-centered counselors
Spiritual Directors & Pastoral Counselors
American Association of Pastoral Counselors
Spiritual Directors International
You may decide that a retreat will help you to focus on your healing or will give you a time to step away from an intensive period in your life. Check these websites for a listing of retreats in your area. You may wish to ask if they have programs specifically for healing or abuse survivors or do an internet search for retreat programs specifically for abuse survivors.
Be sure to check out the retreats page of this website that lists upcoming retreats specifically for Christian abuse survivors.