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Book tours are so much fun because book bloggers get to get together and share our interest in the same book. However, this book that I will be discussing is serious and should be taken as such. Please understand that this is sensitive material that I will be discussing and I in no way mean to harm anyone by what I say below. If you find anything below to be offensive please let me know via my contact page.
Below, I hope to inform you a little bit about The Recovery Toolkit, the author, what domestic abuse is, and the different types of domestic abuse that there are. Lastly, I will give you my actual book review so that way you know if this book is for you or not. So, let’s get started!
About The Book
- The Recovery Toolkit
- Sue Penna
- Penna & Passmore Ltc
- May 2020
- 153 pages
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 Recovery Toolkit is based on the successful 12-week group program 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 specialized in
working with individuals who have experienced domestic abuse.
The Recovery Toolkit is crammed with superb observations and suggestions that will help you recognize 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.
About the Author; Sue Penna
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 specialized in writing psycho-educational programs that promote the trauma-informed practice and a recovery model.
Sue is passionate about 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.
She has an extensive background in the domestic abuse sector and has written trauma-informed domestic abuse programs 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.
You can learn more about Sue Penna by following her on Twitter.
About Rock Pool
Their vision is a society that is trauma-informed. They 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. Their innovative, practical solutions and training opportunities are informed by lived experience and
what is known to work.
Some Background Information
I think when discussing such a sensitive issue, it is important to also make sure everyone is well-informed. This book aims to help those who have left their abusive partner (whomever that may be).
But, thankfully not everyone in the world has experienced domestic abuse. For those who haven’t, I wanted to give you a little bit of background information on what domestic abuse is and the different types of domestic abuse that exist.
What is Domestic Abuse
Domestic abuse definitions vary slightly depending on who you talk to but they all are very similar. In the United States, the Department of Justice states that it is
violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.Department of Justice
The Recovery Toolkit also uses a definition provided by the UK government.
Types of Domestic Abuse
When people think of domestic abuse, the first thought is physical which isn’t wrong. But, there are many types of domestic abuse including:
There are many subtypes of domestic abuse as well such as neglect, digital or virtual harassment/stalking, and so much more. However, The Recovery Toolkit discusses and centers around the list I mentioned above. I would consider them to be the main types of domestic abuse of which any sub-type could easily fit into.
I think the main takeaway from this should be that you didn’t have to be physically hurt to have been abused. Don’t discount what happened to you. Learn, understand, and take action to move on.
On to the Book Review!
I really enjoyed reading this book as you can see from the star rating at the beginning and end of this post. But their is a reason for that. I wouldn’t recommend a book if I didn’t think it could help in some way. Be that for entertainment purposes or to help in real life application. This book helps with the latter. I can say this because of two reasons.
The first is that I have experienced abuse in the past. I am no longer in that situation and just as this book suggests in the beginning, you should not read and apply the steps in this book unless you are out of that abusive relationship.
The second is that I read through the entire book first, and now I have been going through it again, applying the exercises that are given each week. I have already learned so much from The Recovery Toolkit and I am positive that I will gain quite a bit from it.
If you have experienced domestic abuse, then I believe this book can help you too. But don’t let just these few words sway you. Continue reading my book review to see if this is the right fit for you!
To be honest with you, I have never heard of the Recovery toolkit before. When I heard about this book, I immediately thought about the 12 steps that are often attributed to AA meetings. This intrigued me because I thought, if there is something like that for domestic abuse victims, then more people need to hear about this! Then I thought, I wonder how good it is, how helpful it is. So, I set out to read it.
I read through the whole thing (Sue Penna doesn’t recommend this by the way. She recommends reading and applying one chapter a week without getting ahead). I did this because I wanted to know everything this book had to offer. I wanted to know the answer to the following questions
- What is each chapter about?
- Is the information helpful?
- Are the exercises for each week worth doing?
- Does The Recovery Toolkit do what it says it does?
So, I read through every bit of it, and now I am going through it again, applying myself to each week without going forward until I have finished the week that I am on. By doing this I have answered my questions. And, if you are wondering if you should get this book, then you likely have the same or similar questions. Keep reading, I have the answers with no fluff (I promise!).
What Is Each Chapter About?
Each chapter covers a new aspect of how abuse can affect you and how to overcome that. Here is what each chapter covers:
- How We Think
- Dynamics of Domestic Abuse
- How We Cope Emotionally
- Our Children
- A New Assertive You
- Being Angry
- Grief and Loss
- Healthy Relationships
- The End of the Journey
Each of these chapters are set up the same way. They educate/inform, give examples, and provide the exercise. I found this to be a simple to follow book with each chapter providing something new. To me, chapters 3 and 9 seemed to hold the most information and the most benefit.
Is the Information Helpful?
Yes. I could end the question there but I want to tell you why I think this. Some of the information provided in each chapter I already knew. However, this could be because of my college education in Psychology. Sue Penna explained everything very simply, so I think anyone would be able to grasp the information she gives.
I also learned some new things that I didn’t before such as where the term “Stockholm Syndrome” originates from. This information isn’t just thrown in there to fill up the book. I believe the information is supplementary to understanding whey the exercises in each week are important. After all, why would you do the exercises if you didn’t really believe they would help?
In The Recovery Toolkit, there are entries from a woman, JG who notes her experience with The Recovery Toolkit each week. I like this because while you don’t have to read her thoughts, they are beneficial. It shows that you aren’t alone, the struggles of doing the exercises, and the benefits she noticed from doing the exercises. Looking at JG’s experience could help others to push themselves out of their comfort zone to do the exercises.
Are the Exercises For Each Week Worth Doing?
As I mentioned earlier, I am reading through The Recovery Toolkit again and actually doing the exercises. So far, I find them to be beneficial. Each week is a completely different exercise. The only similarity is that the book asks you to keep a thought diary in addition to the exercises each week.
What I like about the exercises is that they are actionable. It doesn’t just say “if you have low self-esteem, work on increasing it so you feel better about yourself”. No. It actually gives actionable steps on how increase your self esteem, become more assertive, set boundaries, etc. This makes it easy to do and gives no room for excuses to not try it.
Does The Recovery Toolkit Do What It Says It Does?
In truth, I’m not sure yet. I’m currently starting week two with the exercises. So far, I can see how it can help. If anything, the information alone should help you. As far as the exercises go, well, I will just have to get through it all to tell you.
As you can see from the beginning of this post and right above, I give this book 5/5 stars. Hopefully, my review solidifies my reasoning as well. It’s informative and actionable. Anybody can have time to do it two because you are only reading one small chapter a week. Who doesn’t have time for that? If you’d like to give The Recovery Toolkit a try, click on the button below:
You can also join the giveaway to get a signed paperback copy of The Recovery Toolkit. Why not, right? Join the giveaway here!
Let’s Talk About It!
So, what do think about this book/guide? Is it something you would try. Have you heard of it before? Let me know in the comments below! If you enjoy blog tours then check out my most recent one for the book Photographing Kate.
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Hi! I am a book blogger primarily. The aim of this blog is to help readers and writers alike. I also write the occasional travel related post. I am a nerd like you with a passion for neuroscience and learning. Hence, my love for books and the authors who write those books!