I just received this gorgeous letter

A few days ago, a woman whom I had never met reaches out to me at Instagram. Turns out she’s from Vienna and she’s a close friend of my dear friend Natascha. Her name is Heidi.

She tagged me in a comment and “casually” mentioned that my book SANCTUARY changed her life. I was physically moved by her words. Curious as ever, I had to know more. How did my book change her life???

So I asked her to please tell me more. I expected to receive a couple of kind sentences from her. Instead, she wrote me this beautiful letter. I just received it. My heart is melted. My purpose was served. I’m sure I will read it a million times. It’s requiring me to be deliberate about taking it all in. Deep breath.

Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you.

Sanctuary by Debbie Happy Cohen

An appreciation

As stressed in the second chapter of SANCTUARY: Words Matter.

Putting a name to things is very liberating.
As naming and explaining give us a new context, they open perspectives, and thus give us new ways of dealing with things – especially emotions and repetitive patterns of behaviour.

After 25 years of feeling flawed and subhuman and generally all wrong, putting a name to my condition – PTSD – set me free to finally pursue a path of healing.

Sanctuary gave me a lot more names still. CPTSD and CPTSR, co-dependency, toxic shame, to name just a few. It also enabled me to diagnose my cat as an overt narcissist constantly demanding all my TEA (time, energy, attention).

The shift from being someone with a disorder to being someone with an ordinary response to extraordinary circumstances was immediate and huge for me.

I am now free to honour myself for having been able to meet traumatic experiences with a response that kept me alive and sane.

I see the lingering unresolved and unprocessed emotions as nothing to be ashamed of. Sanctuary gives context and meaning to otherwise puzzling patterns of self-sabotage I went through repeatedly without knowing why or how to get out.

From giving names and perspective, Sanctuary goes on to give hands on practical “how tos” – to the point and get-started-today style. For example how to get out of the circle of self perpetuating trauma and shame. The vital skills you have to acquire, the mindset shifts you need to make in order to start healing.

There’s a lot more personal takeaways I could write about here.

Instead I’ll just say Sanctuary is a very deep book. You can read it several times over and you’ll take away something new every time.

It is based on a very healthy and healing mix of psychology, spirituality and common sense.
It’s unbiased and free from any agenda.

Sanctuary is also the very first book on trauma I ever read that has humour, and even the potential to instil joy into me. Debbie Happy Cohen’s writing style is personal, intimate, immensely empowering and enjoyable.

Last but not least there’s a lot of resources referred to in the book for further reading and going in deeper. Definitely check out all the resources on the author’s homepage JoyBasedLiving.com !

As everybody should have a sanctuary so everyone should read Sanctuary. Trauma causes pain and fear. Which in turn make us small, disempowered and open to manipulation. Which in turn are the root causes of the state our world is in today.

Or so I believe.

Thank You for this book.

Heidi Bobal, sound engineer, musician, co-founder of brilliantvoices.net


To top that off like a cherry 🍒 on a cake, I just finished recording and uploading Chapter 2 of the SANCTUARY audiobook!

All the tracks can be accessed here:

If you know anyone who’s seeking to heal emotional trauma, Please Please Please share this with them. YEAH!!!

Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you Thank you !!!!


Debbie Happy Cohen, author and coach, is also the founder of Joy-Based Living. Her Master’s Degree is in counseling, specializing in family systems, healing emotional trauma, and practical spirituality.

Also affectionately known as Happy D! and Reverend SASSY SHORTS!, she lives on Lookout Mountain in Alabama, near Chattanooga, Tennessee. Her books include Reach Your Stars!, SANCTUARY, It’s All About Kids: Every Child Deserves a Teacher of the Year, and I Don’t Think So!

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