Geri Henderson & Seanne Emerton
MSI Press (2015)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (05/16)
Every incest survivor has their own story to tell, however, within each experience are similarities the individual faces. People who are healing from incest will find so many areas in this story, where they can relate. In “Healing from Incest,” Geri Henderson tells her story.
Raised with her siblings on a fairly isolated island, Geri experiences physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at the hands of her father, who was a minister. The abuse started at an early age and continued on into her teens. Wanting to keep her siblings from being abused, Geri would engage in self-sacrificing behaviors. When she was a teen, her father made her think that he disclosed what he had been doing to her mother and the abuse stopped. The damage was done. People continued to enter life that seemed to recognize she was a victim, and often victimized her further. This even included a therapist. Geri spent her adulthood in and out of therapy. This also involved hospitalizations and psychotropic medication. Geri also was given diagnoses of PTSD, Depression, and Borderline Personality Disorder.
As Geri tells her story, her former therapist, Seanne Emerton, provides her thoughts in italics. Some of it relates to how Geri was processing through the therapy, other thoughts include her personal input into how she was feeling as a therapist during the sessions, and her heartfelt emotions about what Geri had been experiencing. I felt that a survivor and therapist both sharing in the healing experience was extremely unique and valuable. When Geri expressed situations or emotions about how she was feeling, Seanne gave her professional input, which not only helps explain Geri’s experience, but also will help incest survivors better understand their own emotions. What was especially meaningful to me was the discussions regarding shame, lack of boundaries with others, and self-hate.
“Healing from Incest” by Geri Henderson and Seanne Emerton is an extremely powerful book. Geri made herself vulnerable by sharing her story. I am so grateful that she was willing to do this, because her words will help others through their own recovery. I also think that this book is invaluable to family and friends of survivors, as well as therapists. Geri’s story needed to be told so that people will know that they are not alone and they can emerge from the darkness that might have them trapped.