Experiencing Healing

Healing is a very personal process. As we seek restoration of our mind, will and emotions (our soul), this will involve our readiness, time, a qualified therapist who understands, and a supportive network. It often takes us into adulthood to come to terms with our past. Our brains do not stop developing until our mid-twenties. So, we can not fully understand how our environment growing up can impact us long-term. In the meantime, no matter what age you are, move forward one step at a time, making the best possible choices.


  1. Face reality – We have a lot to deal with and it may be easier for a time to deny the impact. But sooner than later, reality of what we have lived through catches up with us. Our mental health, long-term outlook, life choices and relationships may suffer the longer we delay therapeutic intervention(s).
  2. Find a good therapist – Make sure to have a qualified therapist that allows you to express your personal feelings, supports your faith background, and is focused on your success.
  3. Address painful feelings – Expressing the pain verbally and emotionally helps to lessen the pain.
  4. Hold onto truth – There are a lot of false beliefs about ourselves and others we may be holding onto. We need to exchange these lies with the truth so that our life choices provide us with the best outcomes.
  5. Have an emergency plan – It is important to have a few reliable and healthy people in our lives who are there for us as well as a safe place to go for a break – we never know when we may need it.
  6. Develop your personal identity – We need to separate our personal identity from the individuals, situations, and influences we grew up around. This can be very difficult to do. We will need to have some emotional, physical, and financial supports.
  7. Offer forgiveness – When our expectations are not met, we can become angry and bitter. It is important for us to let go of grudges and to forgive so we are not loaded down with unresolved anger toward those who have hurt our feelings.
  8. Be teachable – There is a lot to learn about building healthy relationships and boundaries.
  9. Make responsible choices – We have to be careful not to use sex, drugs or alcohol just because we feel depressed, angry, and or lonely. Abstinence is the best choice.
  10. If you are experiencing unwanted same – sex attraction – understand that it is more common for youth and adult children from our environment to struggle with their sexuality. Please check out the Ministries Resources´┐Ż section of this website for more helpful organizations and links.
  11. Choose friends and mentors wisely – It is a vulnerable time. Trustworthy and supportive people surrounding us will assist us on our journey toward healing.
  12. Find accountability – Associating with people who have a moral compass and who will call us to account about our daily walk provides us with stability. This may also be found in a supportive small group setting.
  13. Set priorities – These may be personal, relational, academic, career and or community goals.
  14. Rejuvenate spiritually – Always take quiet time daily to reenergize our spiritual batteries. I encourage you to include scripture and prayer as part of your daily regimen.
  15. Read excellent healing resources about the following: forgiveness, sexuality, healthy relationships, marriage and family, and how to make virtuous life choices.
  16. When you are ready, you may make an effort to understand your parent(s) and partner(s) and their struggles. This is better worked on when you have achieved a measure of healing and have a strong sense of your own personal identity.


Larson, Earnie, With Carol Larsen Hegarty, From Anger to Forgiveness: A Practical Guide to Breaking the Negative Power of Anger and Achieving Reconciliation, The Hazelton Foundation: Published in the United States by Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto, 1992.

Dr. Allender, Dan B., The Wounded Heart: Hope For Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Navpress: Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1992. (There is also a Companion Workbook for Personal or Group Use).

Howard, Jeanette, Out of Egypt: One Woman’s Journey Out of Lesbianism, Monarch Books: Mill Hill, London & Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2001.

Paulk, Anne, Restoring Sexual Identity: Hope for Women Who Struggle With Same-Sex Attraction, Harvest House Publishers: Eugene, Oregon, 2003.

Cohen, Richard, M.A., Coming Out Straight, Oakhill Press: Winchester, Virginia, 2000.

Dr. Satinover, Jeffrey, M.D., Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, Baker Books: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1996.

Dr. Carnes, Patrick, Ph.D., Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction, Hazelden: Center City, Minnesota, 2001.

Dr. Hemfelt, Robert, Dr. Frank Minirth, and Dr. Paul Meier, Love is a Choice: Recovery for Codependent Relationships, Thomas Nelson Publishers: Nashville, Tennessee, 1989.(There is also a Companion Workbook Available).

Pieper, Josef, The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude and Temperance, University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1966.

Pieper, Josef, Faith Hope Love, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, California, 1986. (If you have other reading suggestions or recommended resources for adult children, please contact me atdawnstefano@sympatico.ca


For Adult Children – Ways Others Can Offer Support:

  1. Simple acts of kindness – a phone call, card, prepared dinner, help around the house, or a friendly invite at your home.
  2. Listen to us – We may talk about work, school, our current family situation, and friends, attempting to gauge how comfortable you are about human sexuality issues.
  3. Be encouraging – Especially when we are feeling sad.
  4. Ask what we need – Maybe you can’t fix anything, but when we know you care it can make all the difference in the world.
  5. Inspire us to get help – If you see us depressed and not coping well.
  6. Believe we can make it – Some days, we may feel lonely and like giving up.
  7. Truth and boundaries – Support a moral compass for us to live life by.
  8. Surprises – We are all kids at heart.
  9. Fun – introduce a hobby, walk with us, or invite us on a short trip away.
  10. Love us unconditionally – You may not understand everything we have gone through, but we need your love and acceptance to build a sense of community.


Ways Others Can Offer Support:

  1. Listen – It may not seem like much, but it makes a world of difference.
  2. Encourage – Laugh and cry with us while offering words of wisdom.
  3. Hug us – It can be awfully lonely at times.
  4. Don’t appraise our situation too quickly – things are often more complicated than they appear.
  5. Keep Confidences – The situation can be complex and drawn out over a number of years.
  6. Be patient – We may repeat the same unanswered questions over and over.
  7. Prayer, emotional, and financial support – Separation and divorce can be difficult.
  8. Engage with tangible assistance:
    – Assist with help around the home & yard
    – A pot luck supper in or an evening out
    – A short trip away for a weekend may be the perfect break to reassess the situation
    – Watch the kids and maybe do something creative with them