Growing Beyond Survival: A Self-Help Toolkit for Managing Traumatic Stress, Second Edition


New, second edition! Growing Beyond Survival is a self-management workbook, which teaches skills that empower survivors to take control of and de-escalate their most distressing trauma related symptoms.



By Elizabeth Vermilyea, M.A.

Ideal for working with crime victims, trauma survivors, combat veterans in group, individual, or independent settings

“The revision of Growing Beyond Survival has served to update and strengthen what was already a superb resource for survivors of childhood trauma. This is a practical, user-friendly guidebook that does what it set out to do, namely, to provide trauma survivors with a toolbox of strategies to assist them in their healing and recovery…”
– Christine Courtois, Ph.D.

Growing Beyond Survival is a self-management workbook, which teaches skills that empower survivors to take control of and de-escalate their most distressing trauma related symptoms. Developed with input from survivor advocates in Maine, New York, and Maryland, and with the support of the Departments of Mental Health in the states of Maine and New York, this self-help toolkit is both comprehensive and flexible.

This versatile workbook can be used as an independent self-help program, in the context of individual therapy, or in a group setting. It teaches trauma survivors to recognize, contextualize, and understand distressing dissociative and posttraumatic reactions. It also creates a structure in which to learn and practice skills for self-regulation of the troublesome thoughts, feelings, and impulses related to traumatic experiences.

Rather than simply offering “band aid”-type crisis intervention, this self-paced program empowers survivors with an understanding of where the symptoms come from and why. By learning a variety of interventions, skills, and techniques, survivors are able to select and make use of different “tools” for different self-regulation purposes.

Who Will Benefit from Growing Beyond Survival?

  • Survivors of recent or past traumatic events
  • Victims of natural disasters, accidents, or interpersonal violence
  • Adults who were abused as children
  • Mental health personnel who work with trauma survivors
  • Psychoeducation group facilitators

By using the tools in this workbook, survivors who suffer from trauma-related symptoms (including poor concentration, sleep disturbances, panic attacks, nightmares, flashbacks, and other physical responses) may be able to find relief. The book also examines the relation between trauma and self-harming behaviors, difficulties with sexuality, and substance abuse.

What the Experts Say About Growing Beyond Survival

“Elizabeth Vermilyea offers trauma survivors a wealth of practical coping strategies in the context of a clinically sound rationale. Growing Beyond Survival integrates concrete techniques for regulating emotions into a systematic approach for enhancing self-awareness. The book’s encouraging and supportive tone gives survivors much-needed permission to engage in self-care. Trauma therapists also will find the book a useful resource from which they can glean many tips for helping their clients with self-regulation.”
– Jon G. Allen, Ph.D., Helen Malsin Palley Chair in Mental Health Research, The Menninger Clinic
Immediate Past Editor, Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic

“I plan to use Growing Beyond Survival in conjunction with my own therapy. My therapist has also reviewed the book and said it would be an excellent companion in our work together. Although some of these skills are not new to me, I have only seen or heard of them piecemeal. I look forward to using them to aid my healing process. I’d like to thank Elizabeth Vermilyea and Sidran for giving survivors such important tools for healing.”
– K.W., Maine

Training Services are available for Growing Beyond Survival.

The Sidran Traumatic Stress Foundation is pleased to offer training for survivors and treatment providers on the specifics of using the tools in this workbook. We would be happy to customize a training program for your organization. Call 410-825-8888, or write to to discuss the range of training options.

About the Author

Growing Beyond Survival was developed in part and extensively field tested at Trauma Disorders Programs at Sheppard Pratt Hospital in Baltimore. The author, Elizabeth Vermilyea, led symptom management groups at Sheppard Pratt for several years. She currently provides training for Sidran Institute on topics related to traumatic stress.

Number of pages: 205
Format: Paperback