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  • The Trauma Myth

    Thu, 28 Jan 2010 09:10

    The New York Times reviews Susan A. Clancy's controversial and hard-hitting The Trauma Myth: The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children -- and Its Aftermath:

    Given the vested interests lurking all over the current medical landscape, it is no wonder that the scientific method is so often mauled a little in transit. Cases of data ignored or manipulated to serve an agenda are like muggings in a bad neighborhood: you hear about them all the time, but in fact relatively few are ever openly examined.

    And so even readers with no personal or professional connection to the sexual abuse of children may be edified by The Trauma Myth, a short tale of one such particularly fraught episode.

    For a graduate research project at Harvard in the mid-1990s, the psychologist Susan A. Clancy arranged to interview adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, expecting to confirm the conventional wisdom that the more traumatic the abuse had been, the more troubled an adult the child had become.

    Dr. Clancy figured she knew what she would find: "Everything I knew dictated that the abuse should be a horrible experience, that the child should be traumatized at the time it was happening -- overwhelmed with fear, shock, horror."

    But many carefully documented interviews revealed nothing of the sort. Commonly, the abuse had been confusing for the child but not traumatic in the usual sense of the word. Only when the child grew old enough to understand exactly what had happened -- sometimes many years later -- did the fear, shock and horror begin. And only at that point did the experience become traumatic and begin its well-known destructive process.

    Dr. Clancy questioned her findings, reconfirmed them and was convinced. Her audience, when she made the data public, was outraged (more...)

    Posted by Mark Mark

    Categories: bookreview, The Trauma Myth

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