dr. shena young offers sexual trauma survivors a path to healing through her new book.
When dr. shena young was awakened at 3:00 a.m. one night, she received a visit from her ancestors, who gave her the revelation to write a book that would help sexual trauma survivors heal. That revelation became her newly published workbook entitled, “body rites: a holistic healing and embodiment workbook for black survivors of sexual trauma.”
With body rites, the highly sought-after psychologist healer and founder of embodied truth healing & psychological services offers Black women, femmes, and nonbinary survivors pathways to heal their intergenerational trauma.
According to the American Psychological Association, the chances of a Black woman being sexually assaulted are significantly higher than their white counterparts. More than 20% of Black women are sexually assaulted during their lifetimes – a higher share than women overall.
“I would say most people that I know personally and professionally in the Black community have experienced some sort of sexual trauma,” dr. young said. “So I really saw the opportunity to bridge the gap.”
Through her work, dr. young shares that her approach to healing is a bit different from the traditional Westernized psychology space, which often excludes the body. It can also minimize the person’s lived experience, contextual variables, and historical influences. Instead, dr. young blends her clinical training in clinical psychology, land-based wisdoms, and African spiritual traditions in her decolonized approach to healing.
body rites is the first of its kind. It includes a resource of rituals divided into four healing journeys. According to a press release, “the experiential workbook moves beyond prescriptive self-help models by providing a gentle guide and liaison to explore the impact of sexual trauma on the mind, body, heart, and spirit.”
The workbook reads like a collective memoir and encapsulates the cultural experiences that Black people go through. It includes tools and skills readers can utilize, such as trauma-informed yoga, plant medicine, and ancestral support to help them find safety in their bodies at their own pace.
“So, my work centers on finding home and discovering home and being at home in the body, which a lot of us don’t have the luxury of,” dr. young said. “It’s a privilege to be able to have a calm, healthy, nervous system and to be at home in the body, especially as Black beings. We live in bodies that have targets on them, whether it’s sexual objectification or being racially profiled.”
“I see this workbook and journey as a rite of passage for Black survivors to come back home to themselves and come back home to their bodies,” she added.
dr. young also emphasized that she hopes that readers take these resources and begin their journey of embodiment to help heal generations and acknowledge the impact sexual trauma has had on themselves and the Black community. Sexual trauma is a universal experience, and it has affected people of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic statuses. The self-acknowledgment and transparency will help survivors restore their sense of sovereignty, power, authenticity–and, ultimately, liberation.
“I’m really looking forward to hearing the healing stories that come from everyone’s journeys and that we will begin to see ourselves in other people’s stories as they come forward,” said dr. young. “That feels really important because in this world right now, we can be really isolated, and the experience of sexual trauma is alienating as well.”
“It just feels really important for survivors to know that they’re not alone in the pain, but they’re in the arms and the embrace of body rites,” she added. “I want them to know they’re not alone in the healing, either. We all benefit from survivors being at home and freeing their bodies.”
To learn more about dr. young and body rites, please visit www.embodiedtruthhealing.com.