Healing Racial Trauma: The Road to Resilience, By Sheila Wise Rowe alt

Healing Racial Trauma

The Road to Resilience

by Sheila Wise Rowe
Foreword by Soong-Chan Rah

Healing Racial Trauma
  • Length: 192 pages
  • Dimensions: 0 × 0 in
  • Published: January 07, 2020
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 4387
  • ISBN: 9780830843879

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2020 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award - Multicultural

2021 Christianity Today Book Award - Christian Living/Discipleship Award

Publishers Weekly starred review

"People of color have endured traumatic histories and almost daily assaults on our dignity. We have prayed about racism, been in denial, or acted out in anger, but we have not known how to individually or collectively pursue healing from the racial trauma."

As a child, Sheila Wise Rowe was bused across town to a majority white school, where she experienced the racist lie that one group is superior to all others. This lie continues to be perpetuated today by the action or inaction of the government, media, viral videos, churches, and within families of origin. In contrast, Scripture declares that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made.

Rowe, a professional counselor, exposes the symptoms of racial trauma to lead readers to a place of freedom from the past and new life for the future. In each chapter, she includes an interview with a person of color to explore how we experience and resolve racial trauma. With Rowe as a reliable guide who has both been on the journey and shown others the way forward, you will find a safe pathway to resilience.

"Healing Racial Trauma is outstanding. This book forced me to pull back the makeshift Band-Aids, which on the surface hid some deep-seated wounds from the racial trauma I had experienced. Reading this book reminded me of the stories my Black grandparents would share of racial tension and outright hatred with my siblings and me at a very young age. Tears filled my eyes while I was holding on to every written word. I pressed beyond the immediate feelings that welled up within me to find solace and embrace authentic healing. This book is a must-read if you are serious about healing racial trauma. I give Sheila Wise Rowe a standing ovation for this life-altering book!"

Gail Dudley, author and speaker

"Healing Racial Trauma is one of the most revelatory, fiercely honest, and hope-filled books that I've ever read. My dear friend Sheila Wise Rowe performs open-heart surgery on those wounded by racial trauma by acknowledging their stories, validating their pain, and offering the only holistic solution: Christ-centered healing. Regardless of your ethnic background, if you read this book, you will be changed."

Dorothy Littell Greco, author of Making Marriage Beautiful

"Healing Racial Trauma is a magisterial gift for those who have suffered harm as persons of color, and it is also a revelation for those whose whiteness has served as a pair of blinders from racial trauma. Sheila Wise Rowe brilliantly exposes, narrates, honors, and calls forth from Scripture, clients, and her own life, the stories of violation and the power of hope. There are few books I have read where I wept and raged and was humbled and offered a vision of what it might be like to fulfill the Lord's prayer: 'Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.' This is a must-read for all who hunger for righteousness."

Dan B. Allender, professor of counseling psychology, founding president of The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology

"I am excited to recommend people of faith pay close attention to the work of Sheila Wise Rowe in her much-needed book, Healing Racial Trauma. The road to resilience is long and lonely. Black people in the United States are often required to believe that we can sprint to strength and that we need not heal from what happened in our history. Sheila's careful surveys of interpersonal, systemic, historical, and transgenerational issues inspire and remind us that there is deep work to do, not simply for resolve and survival but for the sake of future generations. I was especially pleased to note the author's strivings for First Nations solidarity. I appreciated the boldness of each chapter focus and the spiritual connections employed with psychology and critical race theory, not against. This is fearless and much too rare in faith-rooted trauma counseling. I hope that Black Christians, all Christians of color, and their families will use this book as an inspiration, affirmation, and a guide to addressing the bitter pieces of our stories. I expect White Christians to find a resource of patient assistance on their own road to resilience and deliverance from the vestiges of whiteness and its demonic grip on the global household of God."

Michelle Higgins, cohost of Truth's Table and executive director of Faith for Justice

"With honesty, truth, wisdom, and grace, Sheila Wise Rowe brings a fresh and distinct perspective in our conversation on race. The reality of trauma on a social psychological level has been missed in this dialogue, and Sheila is the necessary corrective voice, offering heartbreaking and gut-wrenching stories that still manage to offer hope and healing. I have had the personal gift of sitting under Sheila's teaching, and now you also have that opportunity. Please embrace the opportunity to learn from this much-needed perspective."

Soong-Chan Rah, Milton B. Engebretson Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary, author of Prophetic Lament

"With a Christian's worldview, a counselor's expertise, and a survivor's personal perspective, Sheila Wise Rowe weaves together her personal memoir with history, social science, and a biblical framework to offer a pathway for healing to those who have experienced racial trauma. She also brings a Galatians 6:2–like advocacy for all who pray for healing and restoration of our brothers and sisters."

Kristie Anyabwile, Bible teacher and author, editor of His Testimonies, My Heritage: Women of Color on the Word of God

"As a bicultural Indian American woman, I felt like this book was written for me. For far too long anti-Asian racism and racial trauma among Asian Americans like me have been dismissed as trivial and as not worthy of serious address. But, in Sheila Wise Rowe's Healing Racial Trauma, every person's story matters, and every racial wound is given equal attention. There is room here for people of every culture, ethnicity, and skin color to learn how to heal from racial trauma and navigate ongoing racism and systemic oppression in ways that can make us more resilient. I felt seen, understood, and empowered, and I know you will too."

Michelle Reyes, church planter, author, and founder-editor of the Art of Taleh website

"I facilitate conversations about race that often address the history and effects of racial trauma on people of color. There have been lots of books available as resources for the '101-level' conversations, but Sheila Wise Rowe has provided a much-needed resource for those who are ready to go further. As a Black woman living in the US, Healing Racial Trauma is a balm to my own wounds from racial trauma. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking healing for themselves and others. I am particularly grateful that Wise Rowe expands the conversation to other groups of people of color. My hope is that this will bring about more solidarity among us, the walking wounded, so we can work together toward healing and wholeness."

Nilwona Nowlin, author and speaker

"Sheila Wise Rowe taught me much in this well-written, vulnerable, and heart-shaping book. I've too often wanted to rush my Black and Brown brothers and sisters to forgiveness, ignorant of the process of healing that must surround and support them. Her work here helped me understand something that hadn't clicked for far too long, and I'm grateful. Shining a light without shaming, I read this book and learned from an author who loves her readers, whoever they happen to be. Pick up this needed addition to an all-too-often acrimonious conversation and learn to heal, hear, and walk together as the diverse disciples that Jesus our savior calls his church to be. I want my whole staff to read this, and I recommend that you read it too."

Adam Mabry, lead pastor of Aletheia Church, Boston, and author of The Art of Rest: Faith to Hit Pause in a World That Never Stops

"Ministering to trauma and abuse survivors, counselor Rowe has helped people confront their pain and work through a Christian-centered approach to healing. In all nine chapters of this latest work, the author shares the stories of others, including her own, who have experienced racial prejudice. . . . Using a Christian-based model, Rowe draws from scripture to help frame the issue of racism and understand God’s role in a path forward. . . . It’s a thoughtfully well-written and powerful volume best suited for those interested in race relations, community engagement, and religious ministry."

Starred Review, Library Journal, Jacqueline Parascandola, January 2020

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Soong-Chan Rah
1. Wounds
2. Fatigue
3. Silence
4. Rage
5. Fear
6. Lament
7. Shame
8. Addiction
9. Freedom
10. Resilience
Group Discussion Guide


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Sheila Wise Rowe

Sheila Wise Rowe, the author of Healing Racial Trauma, holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She has ministered to abuse and trauma survivors in the United States for over twenty-five years and in Johannesburg, South Africa, for a decade. Sheila also taught counseling and trauma-related courses. She and her family live in the Boston area, where she is a writer, speaker, and spiritual director.