The book is Wholeness: My Healing Journey from Ritual Abuse. As the title indicates, it is my personal story of recovery from 10 years of childhood ritual abuse by my father and others.
Who would benefit from reading “Wholeness?”
For the hundreds of thousands of other ritual abuse victims, my story offers healing and hope. I am a therapist myself, and this gives other therapists some strategies for people who have been severely abused. And, it speaks to the human condition: the need for love and the will to survive.
Suzie, tell us something about yourself.
I grew up in the Midwest and believed I had a normal childhood. But, when my husband’s promotion moved us from the West Coast back to the Midwest in my late 30s, I began to suffer from severe depression. Only then did I seek counseling and ultimately uncovered repressed memories of ritual abuse. I hold a masters degree in counseling and a Ph.D. in psychology, and am a licensed registered nurse and professional counselor. I have been married for 30 years to a supportive husband and we have two lovely and successful adult daughters.
Dr. Burke, what differentiates satanic ritual abuse from incest or other forms of abuse?
Any abuse is unacceptable and horrific. Satanic ritual abuse can be described as psychological and/or sexual assault on an unwilling human victim, committed by one or more people whose primary motive is to fulfill a prescribed ritual, often associated with satanic worship, to achieve a goal or satisfy the perceived needs of their deity.
How is it you fully recovered, yet the fate of most severely abused persons seems so bleak?
There are many reasons. First and foremost, I had an education and knew that there are people out that could help; I understood depression needs treatment. I was fortunate to find a profoundly competent counselor. I had a supportive husband who provided the emotional support and financial resources for many years. Finally, I was determined; I didn’t want my family to be affected by my father’s abuse.
Dr. Burke, tell us more about repressed memories.
This is a strategy to survive by keeping things out of the conscious mind. Truly traumatic events are stored in the body and are called “body memories.” It is not until they are put in picture format in the frontal cortex that they are incorporated into the person’s history, thus giving the counselor the ability to integrate those memories and parts into one consciousness that is “wholeness.”
Suzie, what should a severely traumatized person look for in a counselor?
This is a lot different than cognitive behavioral therapy, as healing trauma likely means bringing to awareness the unconscious parts of ourselves. You want a counselor who you can trust with your very soul, someone who has successfully dealt with severe depression and trauma. Your counselor needs to be compassionate and kind, as victims have so much shame.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Writing is hard work. You need to have a passion for it, whether telling your own story as I did or to write fiction or some other topic. It was helpful to me to get professionals who know how to do this…with the story and plot details, with the editing and other aspects.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
The book is for sale on Amazon, Authorhouse and other locations.