It is my honour today to be joining the blog tour for Sue Penna’s The Recovery Toolkit. My thanks to Sue for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Jennifer Gilmour for arranging the tour and inviting me to be a part of it.
Have you left an abusive relationship?
Are you still carrying guilt?
Would you like to understand, challenge and remove the voice of the perpetrator?
Do you still think what happened to you was your fault?
Do you find dealing with new people in your life something to be scared about?
If you’ve answered ‘yes’ to the above questions you are not alone.
Many people who leave an abusive relationship behind are affected by that former relationship in many different ways. Perhaps you feel guilty when making decisions on your own? You may worry about what motivates others to befriend you? Maybe your children are having to re-learn who it is that’s the adult in the room now that your ex-partner has gone from their lives.
If this all sounds familiar then The Recovery Toolkit is the book for you. Written in an easy and accessible style, the book will take you on a journey that is part discovery, part guide.
The book is based on the successful 12-week group programme of the same name created by author Sue Penna. It is also based on Sue’s professional and lived experience, having worked for more than 20 years for the NHS’s Mental Health Services. For the last 15 years, Sue has specialised in working with individuals who have experienced domestic abuse.
The Recovery Toolkit is crammed with superb observations and suggestions that will help you recognise that you weren’t to blame for the abuse you suffered in the first place and that the real you is still there, ready to emerge.
I feel I should preface my review of this book by saying that I have never personally been in an abusive relationship, and as such I have not followed the programme. However, I wanted to be involved in the tour to help raise awareness of the programme and maybe help even just one person find the support they need. I also wanted to read this book to educate myself about domestic abuse and maybe find ways to help a friend who had previously found herself in an abusive situation. Of course, this was the 90s/00s and we were barely out of our teens, so although we could see it wasn’t the healthiest of relationships, the phrase coercive control wasn’t even part of our vocabulary. Looking back now I can see that that’s exactly what it was and reading about how my friend must have been feeling just broke my heart. Happily she is in a relationship with a wonderful man now and her abuser is thankfully ancient history.
The Recovery Toolkit explains the psychology behind the weekly exercises in a clear, accessible manner. It is written in a conversational style, giving the feeling that you are chatting with a trusted friend. It is an easy programme, and some of the exercise will be challenging, but reading Jennifer’s anecdotes as a survivor, advocate and someone who has worked through the programme are infinitely reassuring.
Although I am not the target audience for this book, as I was reading it I found there were elements of what was being said and of the exercises that I could pull out to use with my own self-esteem issues and insecurities as a result of being badly bullied at school, and also the guilt and uselessness I feel as someone with a chronic illness. There are chapters that I know I will be revisiting and trying to put into practice.
Reading this book, and knowing how successful the programme can be, makes me want to locate my nearest support service for domestic abuse victims and make sure they are aware of Rockpool and this book/programme.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.
Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.Sue has worked with individuals who have psychological trauma as a result of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for over 30 years in her professional life as a clinician, trainer and supervisor both within the NHS and independently.
She has specialised in writing psycho-educational programmes that promote trauma informed practice and a recovery model. Sue is passionate for the need for multi-agency working and committed to supporting front line workers to have the skills to support families with a trauma informed approach.
Sue has an extensive background in the domestic abuse sector and has written trauma informed domestic abuse programmes including the Inspiring Families Programme, Adult and Children and Young People Domestic Abuse Recovery Toolkit and the Sexual Violence Recovery Toolkit. Sue has also devised the ACE Recovery Toolkit written for parents and the ACE Recovery Toolkit for children and young people.
ABOUT ROCK POOL:
Our vision is a society that is trauma-informed.
We support organisations that want to improve practice, share knowledge and expertise, and enable their workforce to inspire hope, promote resilience and aid recovery for people affected by trauma. Our innovative, practical solutions and training opportunities are informed by lived experience and what is known to work.
For the chance to win a signed paperback of The Recovery Toolkit, click HERE.
Visit the other blogs taking part in the tour for more information on this book.