Parts of this post were used in Aggravated.
Let me make it absolutely clear that nothing I say in this post is intended as a criticism of anyone’s religion. My main gripe is that the book (and maybe Dixon’s portrayal as a therapist in the trials) was faulty. I first analyzed Nina Dixon’s book, Overcoming and Dealing With a World of Abuse, because, when Dixon was asked during Steve’s second trial if Hanna had a copy of the book, she said “I give a copy to all my victims.” That statement always bothered me. My first thought was: How would she know whether Hanna actually was a victim? I bought a copy of her book, and was completely surprised at its content, so I re-read it, and studied and analyzed it. Based on the title alone, (the real title, not the one above), I would have automatically shelved her book in the Psychology/Self-Help section, but that wouldn’t have been remotely accurate. It would be like putting The Running Man (Stephen King’s science fiction thriller) in the Sports section. There are still a few copies of Dixon’s book available online, but those vendors don’t place it in any particular category. The book jacket doesn’t either, but the Acknowledgments page opens with a quote from Jeremiah (29:11), followed by “Heavenly Father, I’ll never be able to adequately express my gratitude to You…”
Much of the book is devoted to the idea of accepting Christ as a healing mechanism, a topic that was never discussed in either of the trials. Religion isn’t science, but Dixon’s book claimed that “through a series of both natural and supernatural events” she was healed from a debilitating illness by “leaning on the Lord and trusting him unreservedly.” This is the same book she gave to Hanna to help her deal with the terrible trauma Dixon apparently assumed that Hanna had experienced. Is there any reason to believe that Nina Dixon’s book can be classified as either a self-help book or a psychological guide given its general nature? I don’t think so. Here are the most obvious reasons why.
The words God, Christ, Jesus, prayer, church, Holy Spirit, Heavenly Father, heaven, Savior (plus variants of them and others), and/or Bible verses appear 635 times within the book’s 223 pages. The book is also filled with phrases like: “healing power and grace,” “miraculously changed your life,” and “His power.” The words “grace” and “glory” are also used multiple times, along with other religious words and phrases. Dixon said in her introduction, “I pray that through these pages, they [the abused persons] will find hope and healing through Jesus Christ…” She began the final section of the book by saying, “As we come to the end of our journey together, I am on my knees in prayer to God the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth,” and added “My prayer is that you will allow God to heal you, for He is indeed the only true healer.” As of mid-2019, one of the two reviews for the book on an online vendor’s webpage mentions the book’s “gospel message,” and nearly all of the reviews of the book on the author’s website mention Christ or The Lord, clearly establishing that the book is a religious treatise rather than a psychological self-help book.
The book also had one other trait that makes it far less likely to be accepted in any sort of scientific way, it has a strong gender bias. We’ll look at that in the next post.
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