Overcoming Childhood Sexual Trauma: Co-Authored by a Clinician and a Survivor

by Sheri_Oz

Written by a clinician and a client for clinicians and clients, this book shows what therapy for child sex abuse aims to accomplish and how it succeeds.

As an expert in the treatment of child abuse victims and survivors, I have seen countless men and women, boys and girls, heal from the trauma of the abuse and of the abusive environments in which they grew up. I want you to know that it is definitely possible to heal. I know that therapy is scary and I also know that with proper guidance, you can make it through the Wall of Fear that keeps you from living life as you would like to live it.

What is "The Wall of Fear"

Some of you know what I mean even without reading what I have written below.

The Wall of Fear Model forms the basis for all the work I do with survivors of trauma. When people experience trauma, of any kind, they disconnect or, in professional terms - dissociate from some aspect of the event. If they cannot talk about what happened, for whatever reason, the experience remains dissociated, or split off, from them in some way.

For example, perhaps they don't remember certain aspects of what happened; perhaps they don't feel anything about what happened; perhaps it feels like it happened to someone else. There are other forms that dissociation may take as well.

The split off or dissociated aspects then "hide" behind a dissociative wall. I have called this wall, "The Wall of Fear". The Wall protects the individual from connecting with the very aspect of the trauma that feels to them as if it could kill them or drive them insane.

Getting through the Wall of Fear is the most difficult part of therapy - the most scary. It can only be accomplished when there is a relationship of trust with the therapist. What is interesting is that the therapist must also have trust in the client - respecting the client's strengths and skills. If the therapist looks down on the client in any way, he or she will not be able to help the client through The Wall of Fear.

Therapy is Hard but Do-able

And You Can Recover Your Life After Childhood Sexual Abuse

While trust is essential for getting through The Wall of Fear, we must recognize that trust, in and of itself, is frightening for the child sex abuse survivor. The very people who were supposed to protect and take care of him or her, in fact either abused him or her or, at the very least, did not protect. For this reason, the growing dependence, an essential part of the therapeutic process, feels dangerous and something to run away from.

This makes dealing with The Wall of Fear phenomenon the longest part of therapy for abuse.

It CAN be done.

In fact, people feel more alive and more sane after having gone through The Wall of Fear.

This Book is a Guide for Therapists and Clients

It is a collaboration between the therapist (me) and a client who had moved on with her life (Sarah-Jane). The reader gets the benefit of hearing the professional voice, talking about why the experience of abuse and the experience of therapy are the ways they are and at the same time hearing the client's voice about how the experiences felt for her before, during and after therapy.

See Excerpts of My Book at Amazon
Overcoming Childhood Sexual Trauma: A Guide to Breaking Through the Wall of Fear for Practitioner...

Go beyond the pain and fear of sexual abuse to heal the traumaChildhood sexual abuse (CSA) can be a physically and emotionally painful soul-shattering experience that can trauma...


View on Amazon

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Why is Childhood Sexual Abuse so Traumatic?

Chapter 2

Trapped in the World of Trauma

Chapter 3

Intimate Relationships and the World of Trauma

Chapter 4

Choosing a Therapist: A Client's Perspective

Chapter 5

Stages of Therapy: Breaking Through the Wall of Fear

Chapter 6

Closure: Coming to Peace with the Past

Chapter 7

How I Get Through Therapy in One Piece

Chapter 8

Children of Survivors: Growing Up in the Shadow of Trauma

Chapter 9

Being a Therapist: Notes on Working with CSA Survivors

Appendix A

Beginning Therapy

Appendix B

Interview Questions


Read a Psychiatrist's Review of the Book

Book Review in a Psychiatry Journal
Dr Joachim has written a very supportive review of this book - "for the perplexed psychiatrist".

Other Articles I have Written on This Topic

Defining Child Sexual Abuse
Learn to recognize when a given behaviour requires further examination and when it is normal and need not demand professional help.

Is Recovery Possible?
Parents and concerned others need to understand that having fallen victim to sexual abuse is not a life sentence. It is a trauma (sometimes not even experienced as such by the child, himself or herself) the negative impact of which can be overcome.

Help Your Child Cope with Having Been Sexually Abused
Your world falls apart upon hearing that your child was sexually abused. Hard as it is, your child can recover, you can recover, your family can recover.

Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
Looking at suggestions for helping children prevent their own abuse. Tells why some commonly accepted approaches do not work and why the newest suggestion does put children on stronger footing.

Updated: 12/29/2013, Sheri_Oz
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Comments and Questions

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Sheri_Oz on 04/08/2012

The honour is mutual. I just checked and saw you are a med student. It is great that you also have sensitivity to mental health issues.

Mladen on 04/08/2012

Isn't it the most horrible crime of all crimes, this child sexual abuse? It is not just about helplessness of the child in such situation, but also it is about ruining someone's whole life. I have two aticles on wizzley about some psychiatrical conditions that can be triggered by sexual abuse, and one of them touches some aspects of dissociation.
I remember every patient I had who came to the clinic as a victim of this disgusting crime.
I am honored to meet you, the one who actually works closely with these victims. And I am glad that there is the way to help those in such need.

Sheri_Oz on 04/05/2012

It is amazing working with survivors - the fact that I can help someone get the life they deserve is a marvel to me. I am constantly in awe.

katiem2 on 04/05/2012

And most importantly helping those who've been abused to heal.

katiem2 on 04/04/2012

How sad the things happening to children all over the world. Thank goodness for people like you, raising awareness and doing something to help the pain and undue suffering of any child. This breaks my heart and yet we do need to discuss it and keep the information flowing in hopes of putting a stop to such offenses.

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