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Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse


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"Karen Duncan has written a gem of a book. She took her 21 years of clinical experience and study and created an effective treatment program for women who were sexually abused as children. The book offers a wealth of information and support--particularly about the issue of disclosing the sexual abuse to family members and others. I highly recommend it to survivors and their advocates. Professionals working with this population will find the book particularly valuable." -- Beverly Engel, M.F.T., author of The Right to Innocence: Healing the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse, and Partners in Recovery

Table of Contents

Acknowledgment Dedication Preface Introduction The Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse Remembering the Trauma of Sexual Abuse A Legacy of Trauma: A History of Abuse Chronic Shock Symptoms and Dissociation The Stages of Healing Prolonged Problems from Childhood Sexual Abuse Ending the Pretense Exposing the Perpetrator: A Moral Decision, Legal Challenge, and Family Dilemma The Therapeutic Relationship The Voices of Women Appendix A: Trauma and Memory Appendix B: Distorted Thought Patterns Appendix C: Characteristics of a Healthy Family Appendix D: Symptoms of Chronic Shock Appendix E: Managing Anxiety Appendix F: Dissolving the Outrage Appendix G: Boundaries Appendix H: Suggestions for Family Members Appendix I: Forgiveness Appendix J: Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Resources Endnotes Bibliography Index

About the Author

KAREN A. DUNCAN has 22 years clinical experience working with women, children, and families in their recovery from sexual abuse. She has presented at conferences throughout the United States in the education regarding and prevention of sexual abuse. She is the author of a comprehensive adult education program entitled The Right to Be Safe: Adult Education to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse that is offered free of charge on the Web site Duncan has served as Adjunct Professor teaching General Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, and Introduction to Women Studies. She received the 2005 Social Worker of the Year Award for Region 7 from the National Association of Social Workers, Indiana Chapter. Ms. Duncan can be reached through her Web site at


Children should have a safe haven of family love. Sexual abuse makes this impossible. Duncan shares the survival strategies women use to cope with childhood physical and emotional trauma--strategies that include denial, repression, depression, secrecy, and chronic shock that can lead to such lingering problems as mood and eating disorders, substance abuse, dissociation, and self-injury....This book offers theoretical frameworks and practical guidance in the journey toward recovery, everything from understanding the impact of trauma to finding a therapist....Recommended. All collections; all levels. - Choice
This book is devoted to the journey women victims of childhood sexual abuse take during their healing process. As such, it offers an interesting perspective that includes not only personal narratives from women who have been traumatized, but also offers a detailed therapeutic process related to each stage of the traveler's journey and examples of women's struggles along the route....[t]his volume provides useful insights for both healers and those being healed. The book uses humanistic, cognitive and feminist perspectives as its theoretical underpinnings, is well documented, has a user friendly index, limited bibliography, and a list of some suggested resources. - Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare

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