Featured Grief

Healing from Incest: Intimate Conversations with My Therapist

Healing from Incest www.herviewfromhome.com
Written by Seanne Emerton

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”  Maya Angelou

Healing from Incest: Intimate Conversations with My Therapist is a recently-released book I wrote with a former client, Geri Henderson, (MSI Press, LLC).    I was her therapist for five years.   We started writing the book seven years ago, five years after therapy had terminated.  Although I never really wanted to write this book, I can now say I am incredibly grateful for Geri’s inner knowing that it needed to be written.   Her choice and consent, as well as her family’s, to release her personal information for the story is not only inspiring but motivating.  Incest is not talked about.  It is hidden and this is the very reason it is often perpetuated.  Talking about it is like shining a flashlight into a very dark place.  Normally, of course, the therapeutic relationship is also not discussed, because therapists are required by law to protect confidentiality.  It remains uncomfortable, as a therapist, to talk openly about a client relationship.

Healing from Incest   www.herviewfromhome.comSince confidentiality defines the therapeutic relationship, there were many ethical issues I had to consider as I approached the idea of writing this book with Geri.  I was bound by my professional Code of Ethics not to enter into a dual relationship with a client until a reasonable amount of time after therapy.  Aside from that, the truth is that it took me a long while (and many consultations with professionals, both legal and those in my professional field) to sort out how the writing of this book could actually be possible at all.

 The choice to use our real names was difficult for both of us, but we had numerous discussions regarding this and finally agreed it was necessary.  It’s a story about facing issues of shame and vulnerability.  Using our real names means neither one of us can hide. 

Geri had kept her secret of sexual abuse by her minister father a secret for a very long time…well into her adult years.  Yet, the telling of her story, while painful, has been powerfully healing for her.  I learned a great deal about her experience in therapy during the writing of our book, as we both sat back and processed her journey from a different and new vantage point.  I want to believe I learned from mistakes I made along the way.   Mostly I celebrate  her resiliency and the power of the therapeutic relationship that allowed healing to occur. 

We were pleased that The US Review of Books gave our book a “recommended” designation (because only about 10% of the USR reviews receive this).  In part, this review states:

“…With dignity and resolve, Henderson exhibits unflinching honesty, while still exuding her determination to ‘not write another poor, miserable me book.’  Emerton’s wisdom provides a counterpoint to Henderson’s perplexity: ‘This book is really the story of Geri building that solid, true sense of self into the survivor she is’…..Healing From Incest is a documentation of two women’s creative approach to therapy and healing, one using her professional acumen and empathy, the other shining with her courage to endow others with her insights and determination.” 

Part of what inspired us to illuminate such a dark topic are the alarming child sexual abuse statistics.  According to studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse.  We hope anyone who reads this story, whether they are an incest victim, a professional, a family member, a friend of a victim, a mother or father of the victim, or a person who just wants to help and better understand, will find hope, help and empowerment.

Proceeds from book sales will be donated to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN.org).

www.healingincest.squarespace.com

Amazon:  Healing from Incest: Intimate Conversations with My Therapist

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About the author

Seanne Emerton

Seanne is a Central Nebraska woman with deep roots. She and her husband still live on the land that has been in her family for six generations. While she loves to travel (especially to visit their grown sons and families in Denver and Boston), she loves returning to the open spaces of the Midwest. Seanne has been a marriage and family therapist for over 25 years. She loves the work and loves continually learning new ways to help strengthen relationships. She is the founder and owner of Family Resources of Greater NE, P.C. with offices in Grand Island, Kearney, York and Broken Bow.

Seanne loves working with all kinds of people including facilitating individuals, families and businesses in growing their potential by using positive psychology. She is certified in assessing and coaching Emotional Intelligence and delights in building resiliency and happiness with her clients.

Her side passion is designing and officiating personalized wedding ceremonies for couples as a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant. She serves the Midwest area with her Celebrant work and loves the creative process of helping couples create a one-of-a-kind, memorable ceremony.