The Trauma Myth

The Trauma Myth : The Truth About the Sexual Abuse of Children - and Its Aftermath

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Calling for an honest look at sex abuse treatment, Susan Clancy tears down the conventional trauma model, arguing that the healing professions don't allow survivors to speak openly about what they really felt at the time of abuse. After years of research and interviews with victims of sex abuse, memory researcher and trauma expert Susan Clancy noticed a pattern: people were describing sex abuse memories and their experiences being molested in ways that did not fit the conventional trauma model. The most common feeling reported was not fear or panic, but confusion. Drawing on the latest research in memory studies, Clancy argues that children do not understand sexually toned encounters in the same ways that adults do, and as therapists treat survivors of sex abuse, they can actually harm their patients by assuming the event was traumatic at the time. What Clancy discovered in her interviews with survivors of sex abuse is extremely intriguing, controversial, and important for the field of psychology and beyond. She argues that although the incident of sex abuse is significant, the reactions of adults involved in the victim's recovery complicate the feelings and actual memories of the abused. Indeed, Clancy's research shows that children are victimized not only by their abusers but by the very industry that is trying to help them. Clancy argues that telling the truth about what sexual abuse is really like for victims will help those affected by alleviating the shame, guilt and isolation they often feel. "The Trauma Myth" speaks directly to victims, empowering them to tell their stories and seek help. It will also assist mental health professionals to better treat and prevent sexual abuse. Startling, bold, and backed by research, "The Trauma Myth" will become required reading in psychology and will provoke intense discussion and debate for years to come.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 144.78 x 210.82 x 30.48mm | 362.87g
  • The Perseus Books Group
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 046501688X
  • 9780465016884
  • 854,005

Review quote

"New York Times" "[T]he moral of Dr. Clancy's story is clear: science should represent truth, not wishful thinking. When good data fly in the face of beloved theory, the theory has to go...Dr. Clancy writes with the precision and patient repetition of a good teacher on complicated terrain. Her prose could not be clearer, and her points are restated many, many times over." ""The Trauma Myth" is a nuanced and muscular work that takes a surprisingly straightforward approach to a tough subject matter." "Publishers Weekly" "[A] nuanced psychological study." Carol Tavris, Ph.D., coauthor of "Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)" "With her usual clarity of prose and reasoning, Susan Clancy has written a calm and persuasive assessment of a volatile subject. I highly recommend this book for anyone with a personal or professional interest in child abuse--which should be all of us." Paul McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University; author of "Try to Remember" ""The Trauma Myth" is not a debunking of the psychic damage that sexual abuse of children can cause or a denial of its existence. Rather it reveals how sexual abuse occurs and illuminates its pathogenic nature by drawing upon descriptions from people in the population at large rather than in the clinic. Read this book so as to understand just what is involved in these matters, to grasp what is needed to protect children from these experiences, and to treat them if they have been so miserably betrayed. It's a great story of discovery - about truth, about interpretation, and about why truth matters." Sally Satel MD, Yale University School of Medicine; resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute; author of "PC, M.D." and co-author of "One Nation Under Therapy" "Psychologist Susan Clancy explodes conventional wisdom about child sexual abuse. Though never ever the child's fault, as Clancy makes crystal clea

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About Susan A. Clancy

Susan Clancy is a psychology researcher at Harvard University and Visiting Professor at INCAE, the Central American Institute for Business Administration in Nicaragua. She is the author of Abducted: How People Come to Believe They Were Kidnapped by Aliens. She has been featured in Scientific American, Psychology Today, and the New York Times, and has appeared on Larry King Live, CNN, and more. She lives in Massachusetts and Nicaragua.

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