Chapter One – ASCA StepWork Program

We suggest that you review the Online Manual FAQS page if you have any questions about using/working this online version of the Survivor to Thriver manual.

Welcome to our Survivor to Thriver manual! The Norma J. Morris Center for Healing from Child Abuse (or THE MORRIS CENTER), in collaboration with J. Patrick Gannon, Ph.D., THE MORRIS CENTER's former Clinical Consultant, has created this manual as part of its program of services for adult survivors of physical, sexual and emotional child abuse. Virtually since ASCA began in 1993, participants have asked for a workbook or manual to be used as part of their recovery process. In his 1989 book SOUL SURVIVORS: A New Beginning for Adults Abused as Children, Dr. Gannon outlined a three-stage alternative recovery model that was the blueprint for ASCA, but that book is no longer in print. Consequently, THE MORRIS CENTER has taken portions of Dr. Gannon's earlier writings, revised and updated them to reflect the ASCA program as it operates today and added significant explanatory material. The result is before you.

This manual is designed to complement your ASCA meeting participation. Use it individually, but as a supplement to regular ASCA meeting attendance. Of course, you are welcome to bring your manual to meetings with you, but you will not find any exercises or sections that are specifically keyed to meeting participation. You will first find a chapter entitled Safety First!, designed to help you evaluate your present level of safety and stability and establish a firm footing on which to begin your recovery journey. This is followed by a lengthy chapter on the types of child abuse and some of the ways the consequences of child abuse can affect your adult life. Chapters Three, Four and Five correspond to Stages One, Two and Three of the ASCA program, respectively. Each chapter contains a section on each of the seven steps that make up that particular stage. Each section includes a discussion of the step and its role in recovery and some exercises, survival tips and resource material to help you work through the issues. It is our hope that you will use the questions, exercises and suggestions included with each of the steps as a framework for your ASCA participation. Using the contents of the manual in this way will bring an immediacy and concreteness to your ASCA shares, one that will help both you and your fellow survivors to achieve some clarity about the particular step and what role it plays in your recovery.

There are good reasons for encouraging you to use this manual in conjunction with attending meetings or participating in our online meeting at One of the benefits of attending ASCA meetings is experiencing the sense of community that develops between survivors who are discovering that they are not alone in their abuse experiences and recovery efforts. The carefully structured ASCA meeting formats make it easier to share experiences and to start to trust others both key parts of breaking out of the isolation that characterizes most survivors' lives. The skills that you practice and observe in ASCA meetings often, if not always, will prove valuable in your interactions in the larger world. While there is much to be gained from using the manual individually, your recovery will be more balanced and, we believe, more rewarding if you also take advantage of the group experience afforded by ASCA meetings. For these reasons we encourage you to use this manual as an adjunct to attending ASCA meetings and individual or group psychotherapy (if you have these).

ASCA is a support program with an individual and group component. It is not professional psychotherapy, nor is it intended to take the place of individual or group therapy. Unlike some other self-help programs, though, ASCA does not hold an anti-therapy or anti-professional stance. In fact, THE MORRIS CENTER believes that ASCA works most effectively in conjunction with individual or group therapy, and we encourage survivors to combine professional consultation and ASCA if at all possible. The last section of this chapter talks a little more about the role of therapy, finding a good therapist and the recovery process in general.

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© 2007 THE MORRIS CENTER, Revised 11/06