Book Review: The Recovery Toolkit by Sue Penna

As some of you may know, Jennifer Gilmour, an advocate for survivors of Domestic Abuse has visited my blog previously about her work and her book, The Isolation Junction. I am pleased to review The Recovery Toolkit by Sue Penna, a project she has been involved in.

Domestic Violence can affect anyone and in recent weeks, thanks to the Covid crisis and lockdown, the situation has worsened. During lockdown the calls to domestic abuse charities increased by 49% and deaths doubled*. Now we are easing out of lockdown, charities are seeing more referrals for refuge places.** These figures highlight the importance of the charities work and resources like these. This book provides help for those who have left the violent relationship and are making steps to start a fresh.

Book Review: The Recovery Toolkit: A 12 week plan to support your journey from domestic abuse by Sue Penna

RTK Book Cover

The Recovery Toolkit by Sue Penna

Title: The Recovery Toolkit: A 12 week plan to support your journey from domestic abuse

Author: Sue Penna

Publisher: Penna & Passmore Ltd

Release Date: 3rd May 2020

Genre: Non-fiction, Self-help

Purchase: The Recovery Toolkit on Amazon (universal link): http://mybook.to/TheRecoveryToolkit

99p_99c Kindle

Blurb:

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.

Further details:

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.

My Thoughts:

This book is designed for survivors who have left their abusers and are ready to reclaim their lives and not for those still living with their abuser. It does not promise to be a quick fix and requires patience and commitment to read a chapter every week and complete the exercises. It’s aim is to change the thought process from the negative to the positive, similar to CBT and step away from hearing the abusers voice to listening your own and trust it. It is easily accessible and the insights from Jennifer Gilmour in her own journey adds to the encouragement. This is important for when things become difficult to do. I have only read through a couple of exercises and it is clear it will be an emotional process to follow. For improvement to happen the reader has to open up and be honest with themselves.

Would I recommend?

Definitely. I love this book and the concept behind it. This is an in invaluable resource of surviviors and is a therapist in your pocket. The ability to download a copy to a Kindle also adds to the privacy of it. I am sure it will help many recover from their trauma in the future and give them access to guidance they need when they can not physically attend a workshop. This will help them and their loved ones have the life they deserve.

Sue’s biography:

Sue Penna Headshot

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 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.

Social Media:

Sue Penna on Twitter: @SuePenna

Rock Pool on Twitter: @rockpoollife

Rock Pool on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rockpool.life/

Rock Pool website: https://rockpool.life/

Giveaway

I am pleased to share the chance to win a signed copy of The Recovery Toolkit, to enter click here

Thank you Jennifer Gilmour and Sue Penna for inviting me to take part in this important and exciting blog tour and providing me with an advanced copy to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.

If you are affected by the issues above and still in the relationship, there is help available.

National Domestic Abuse helpline: 0808 2000 247

Refuge UK

Women’s Aid

Take care, stay safe and happy reading!

Love

Blog Tour Stops

*BBC news UK lockdown: Calls to domestic abuse helpline jump by half

**BBC news Domestic abuse charities predict call spike post-lockdown

Kindle Sale: Clipped Wings by Jennifer Gilmour

The statistics for domestic abuse are startling with 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men affected.  Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for many, heightened risk for domestic abuse victims and calls increasing to the police over the festive period. This is why Jennifer Gilmour is offering her Kindle book Clipped Wings FREE today, bringing awareness to domestic abuse through the 25 survivor stories.

Jennifer works tirelessly as an advocate for domestic abuse survivors and is the author of Isolation Junction. She popped over to this blog  earlier this year and can be found here

 

clipped wings

Title: Clipped Wings

Author: Jennifer Gilmour

Release Date: 30th Oct 2017

Blurb

The silent chorus.

Just imagine you thought that you had met the man or woman of your dreams. This person was charming and you thought they were the one or perhaps that this was fate; it was just meant to be.

But as the months go by things start to change. Their behaviour towards you isn’t the same, they are more critical, more particular about your appearance, what you do, how you do it, who you see. Time goes by and you feel isolated from your friends and family because that behaviour has now changed to threats, maybe violence and you feel that your identity is all but gone. But still you stay. Where would you go? Who would help you? You are not worthy.

But you are.

A group of survivors have spoken about their own experiences. In their own words they show that survivors do have a voice and that it needs to be heard. They show that abuse isn’t unique or strange but that it is, unfortunately, a surprisingly common problem in today’s society.

The message of this book is one of courage, as with courage comes awareness and an ability to understand what has happened to you and take the steps needed to become a survivor yourself.

About the author:

Jennifer GilmourBorn in the north-east, Jennifer is a young, married mum with three children. In addition to being an author, she is an entrepreneur, running a family business from her home-base. Her blog posts have a large readership of other young mums in business.

 From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write her first novel Isolation Junction. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

Since the publication of her debut novel, Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover programme for those who have been in abusive relationships.

 Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that Clipped Wings give’s a voice to survivor’s experiences and raise’s awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.

Check out her blog and other social media:

Website; www.jennifergilmour.com

 Facebook; www.facebook.com/isolationjunctionbook

 Twitter; www.twitter.com/JenLGilmour

 Clipped Wings on Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Clipped Wings on Amazon USA; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KNZJZQ

 Goodreads author profile; https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferGilmour

 Clipped Wings on Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36449221-clipped-wings

 Huffington post blogger profile; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/jennifer-gilmour

Domestic abuse is common and you will know someone affected so please share the offer  and info. You may just make a big difference to someone’s live  as together survivors are stronger.

Love

Meet the Author: Jennifer Gilmour

 

Jennifer Gilmour is a force to be reckoned with; not only is she an author of two books, she works tirelessly to raise awareness of domestic abuse and change things at a National level to improve the support abuse survivors are given. Her debut book, Isolation Junction was funded by a successful Kickstarter campaign and is a fictional account of Rose living in an abusive relationship and her fight to break free. This is FREE on Kindle between 8th-12th Jan 2018. Jennifer’s second book, Clipped Wings is a compilation of survivor’s experiences. It is a pleasure to meet her on the blog today.

“Ice cold rain splattered her face; her toes and fingers were numb and yet she sat there huddled up and gently rocking herself. It was a black night with no stars, like someone had just switched off the sky. The only light shining on her face was the orange glow of a single street light. Rose couldn’t cope anymore, she was crying into her hands so hard it hurt her heart; it was a deep spike of a pain rushing through her body and this wasn’t the first time she had felt it.”

 Extract from Isolation Junction

 

Jen G reading

Jennifer Gilmour – Author

 

What was your original inspiration to start to write?

I was on an awareness course about Domestic Abuse. Alongside me were about 8 other women who had been in abusive relationships. As the day progressed, I found that I simply couldn’t believe that some of what the other women were saying was exactly what I had gone through but just in a different format. Domestic Abuse tends to go in a cycle (see photo below) and whichever way it begins, the behaviour spirals again and again. At first it could be months between incidents but for me, as time went on there were many instances within one day. It is quite normal to try to prevent the cycle from starting again by changing your behaviour as much as possible. By the end of the course I had come to understand that we were all subjected to the same behaviour and that no one knew before that this could even happen to someone i.e. that a relationship can be so unhealthy and soul destroying. I realised that others simply needed to know more about this unacceptable behaviour; they needed to see the warning signs before the relationship goes further or the behaviour gets even more serious. On the other hand I needed others to see the behaviour for what it is. If people are in a relationship and the behaviour within it is not acceptable and is not their fault, it can’t simply be changed by changing yourself.

cycle_of_abuse

I knew I had a story to tell and with my previous unfinished written work I realised my first novel had to be more than a book but a message – a way for others to be able to pass a book on to help victims and to get the penny to drop and bring about realisation of what is happening sooner. This means that when the relationship ends victims and survivors realise they are not the only ones out there and its ok to talk about the abuse.

How do you focus and not let your work with domestic abuse affect you emotionally?

Originally I didn’t look after myself and worked on Isolation Junction, blog posts and research even if I wasn’t in a good place. I couldn’t switch off to what I felt needed to be exposed and couldn’t understand why something so common was hidden so well. It did take its toll on me and I am happy to admit and address this. The solution was simple and that was to train myself to channel my thoughts and focus on my current happenings and not letting my mind wander. It can be still a challenge but I feel like I manage myself better and take a healthier approach.

How do you direct people who may need support after reading your books?

At the end of my books there is a message from me which include the UK 24-hour free-phone National Domestic Violence helpline, which is 0808 2000 247. There is also a support page on my website; http://jennifergilmour.com/support/

I do receive a lot of messages and I have personally referred to local centres, once I directed someone in Africa to her local support service. I have been a listening ear to many as well, the first step is telling someone about what’s happened to you and so I urge anyone to speak to a ‘safe’ person or service. ‘safe’ meaning someone who isn’t involved with the perpetrator or who you most certainly can be trusted and will help you.

What do you do aside from writing?

I am a mum of three which keeps me pretty busy when I am not writing; I have a 5, 7 and almost 2 year old. As a family we enjoy the hobby Geocaching which gets us out and about, learning about the local area as well as having some fun. It can get rather competitive, if you haven’t heard of it Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location.
I am also a Jamberry Nail Wraps Consultant which brings in most of my income to support my work in the domestic abuse sector including my writing. You can find out more about that on my other website: https://jennifergilmour.jamberry.com/uk/en/

What is your favourite book?

My favourite book is the Harry Potter series, it took me to a different world away from my reality growing up as a child, teen and adulthood. It started my imagination going as I have been writing from a young age and it was all fantasy writing and poetry.

What is your favourite drink?

That’s hard because I have a cup of tea (breakfast tea) four times a day and I can’t go without my tea. But I have a Dolce Gusto machine and I absolutely love caramel latte.

Where is your favourite place to write?

Favourite place to write has to be a lovely local café that does amazing coffee (to keep me going) and scrumptious cake. Although, we have a lovely big bay window that we plan to add a couple of individual chairs and a little coffee table, I imagine using this a lot and can see myself writing with the sun beaming through the glass

Jennifer Gilmour

About the Author

From an early age, Jennifer has had a passion for writing and started gathering ideas and plot lines from her teenage years. A passionate advocate for women in abusive relationships, she has drawn on her personal experiences to write her first novel Isolation Junction. It details the journey of a young woman from the despair of an emotionally abusive and unhappy marriage to develop the confidence to challenge and change her life and to love again.

Since the publication of her debut novel, Jennifer has continued to be an advocate for those in abusive relationships through her blog posts, radio interviews and Twitter feed. Jennifer also gained a qualification in facilitating a recover programme for those who have been in abusive relationships.

Jennifer continues to publicly support those who are isolated and struggle to have a voice. Jennifer hopes that Clipped Wings give’s a voice to survivor’s experiences and raise’s awareness further of the types of unacceptable behaviour which fall into the category of domestic abuse.

Links:

Website; www.jennifergilmour.com

Facebook; www.facebook.com/isolationjunctionbook

Twitter; www.twitter.com/JenLGilmour

Clipped Wings on Amazon UK; https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Clipped Wings on Amazon USA; https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076KNZJZQ

Isolation Junction; UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01LX4HLT0

US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LX4HLT0

Goodreads author profile; https://www.goodreads.com/JenniferGilmour

Clipped Wings on Goodreads; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36449221-clipped-wings

Huffington post blogger profile; http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/author/jennifer-gilmour