Healing from Incest

Healing from Incest coverHealing from Incest: Intimate Conversations With My Therapist
By Geri Henderson and Seanne Emerton

Committed to helping people affected by incest, the book Healing from Incest: Intimate Conversations With My Therapist, details a few years in the lives of one survivor, Geri, and her therapist, Seanne, as they worked together toward healing. For those who recognize this as their own story, this frank and genuine narrative will be reassuring in its descriptions of one woman's journey toward hope and healing. Healing from Incest tells the journey of a victim-turned-survivor, working with her therapist to find healing.

About the front cover: kintsukuroi (n.) (v. phr.) "to repair with gold". Kintsukuroi is the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken. The art form originated in Japan. In essence, the "true life" of one of these bowls "begins" the moment it is broken. It represents a beautiful image for people suffering. The "broken" can be repaired, and while never the same as the original, it is cherished as more beautiful and far more valuable for having been "broken."

In speaking about Healing from Incest, Susan J. Lewis, Ph.D., J.D., writes: “"Brave, profound, touching, healing. This well-written, honest book takes the reader inside the complexities of the therapeutic healing process from the patient and therapist's unique perspective. It is the story of hard work, hope, commitment and recovery!" Healing from Incest tells the journey of a victim-turned-survivor, working with her therapist to find healing. Readers are pulled into the therapeutic process as Henderson relates her conversations and feelings as a victim of child abuse and Emerton interprets those feelings and describes interventions. For those who recognize this as their own story, this frank and genuine narrative will be reassuring in its descriptions of one woman's journey toward hope and healing. About the front cover: kintsukuroi(n.) (v. phr.) "to repair with gold"; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.

Healing Book - full cover


"What if someone who could write and who has thought about this recovery process were to collaborate with her therapist on a book?"

That was the germ of the idea, more than ten years ago, during the final months of Geri Henderson’s therapy with Seanne Emerton. But life intervened; the highly-motivated Henderson was deeply immersed in her professional career as a literature teacher. Then, three years ago, discussions with Emerton eventually led to this remarkable collaboration. In it, the reader learns of Henderson's long journey from a helpless victim of abuse to a survivor with a healthy, strengthened mentality—the obstacles and setbacks, and the acceptance of the possibility of hope. While not an easy book to read, describing in detail the punishment and sexual abuse perpetrated on a daughter by a father who purported to be a man of the church, Healing From Incest provides an illuminating roadmap for recovery, from the viewpoint of both patient and therapist.

For those actively suffering from or still tormented by memories of the trauma of incest, the ground that Henderson and Emerton have plowed can be a necessary and vital path toward hope and recovery. Henderson details her abuse from early childhood to mid-teens by her father, an ordained minister, and the therapeutic journey taken with Emerton, who provides professional commentary and context in italicized responses. 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.” — Barbara Bamberger Scott.


Recommended by the US Review.

“Candid, insightful, informed and informative, Healing from Incest: Intimate Conversations with My Therapist is especially recommended reading for anyone having been involved with an incestuous experience or relationship. Healing From Incest should also be considered a critically important addition to academic library Psychology/Psychiatry and Human Sexuality reference collections.” — Margaret Lane, Midwest Book Review.

“The title, Healing from Incest, immediately alerts the reader that this will not be a particularly easy book to read. Likewise, the double authorship signals that this is not just a personal memoir of abuse nor a scholarly clinical study of an incest victim. Instead, this book offers a unique conversation between someone severely damaged by father-daughter incest and one of the many therapists with whom she has worked during her struggle to survive and find restoration. The therapist’s comments allow an unusual view of the struggles and hard choices such a clinician faces in trying to push a patient toward healing without causing the alienation that might come with too much expectation….The main purpose of the book is not to reveal all details. Rather, it is to tell a story of very painful struggle and survival and to show the care a therapist must exercise in helping such a fragile person work toward healing. It does both of these tasks very well.” — J.Y., Amazon.

“I am a Licensed Independent Mental Health Therapist. I work with many survivors. This book is a wonderful gift for those who struggle with their feelings of shame and guilt. Gerri is eloquent and masterful in reporting her struggles during the stages of her therapy. Her commitment to her growth is commendable. The therapist, Seanne, assists in the reader's understanding of the therapeutic point of view. It is as though the reader is allowed in the therapy office, perhaps helping to de-mystify and maybe even normalize the therapeutic experience. Of course, the therapist has excellent knowledge of her goals and professional ethics possibly assisting the reader to understand the delicate relationship between the client and therapist. I have a profound respect for the gentle approach of the therapist and the profoundly tumultuous experience of the client. This is a book I plan to refer to in my own therapy practice and recommend to those I feel will benefit. Congratulations to both authors on a job well done.” — L. Ryan, Amazon.

“This book was an honest and poignant account of childhood trauma that so many individuals know all too well. It gives the unique perspective of the survivor as well as the mental health provider that she worked with at the time which allows the reader to even more clearly see how childhood abuse can evoke feelings of shame and self hatred. It also goes on to give hope by providing a story of healing and survival. This powerful story could benefit so many.” — Anonymous, Amazon.

Healing from Incest is a beautiful gift to the world. Dr. Henderson shares her own story of incest, a story not only of deep suffering but also of hope. One of her therapists, Seanne Emerton, interweaves her own experience and reflection into the story. This combination of a breathtakingly honest narrative and the thinking and feeling behind that narrative give us a glimpse into something we rarely see--the inner workings of pain and the intuitive, daring journey they take together to get to healing. The story is set around themes, so that the reader can see how incest affects every aspect of life. Dr. Henderson shares her inner thoughts on the subjects of depression, medication, suicide ideation, disassociation and relationships with family and friends. Emerton's comments are interspersed into this narrative, giving a running commentary from a therapist's viewpoint. Particularly striking is the spiritual theme that emerges, as Henderson is able to find faith in God despite the religiosity of her abuser-father. This is no easy faith, and it rings all the more true for it's hard-fought victory. The writing of this book was a painful process for both authors at times, but they perservered because they wanted to offer hope for other survivors of incest. This is a must-read for persons who have been touched with the pain of incest and persons whose mission it is to walk therapeutically and spiritually with others.” — M. Hershberger, Amazon, Goodreads.

“I extremely enjoyed this book both as a professional therapist and as a human being. I think this book is so helpful to me as a professional to be able to be the proverbial fly on the wall getting to see both the author and the therapist's perspective on the therapy process. I could not put this book down once I started it. I thank the author profusely for being able to help me improve as a therapist. Thank you!” — Jessica, Goodreads.

“As another reviewer wrote, this is not an easy book to read. Geri eloquently and poignantly tells of her abuse by her father from the time she was a toddler. Interspersed with Geri's narrative are reflections by her therapist, Seanne, adding a depth of understanding one does not always perceive. As we read in the popular press of high-profile sexual abuses, the reader is struck by Geri's father's confession to her mother that he had ‘inappropriately touched’ their daughter. It sounds so innocent and minor, doesn't it? Yet Geri, in spite of earning advanced degrees in English Literature and music, in spite of being a successful and highly regarded teacher, still feels the effects of her father's abuse. Kudos to Geri and to Seanne for producing this often painful-to-read collection of conversations and reflections.” — K.D., Amazon.

Healing from Incest describes, via conversations with her therapist, Dr. Geri Henderson's journey from young incest victim to middle-aged survivor, a difficult road made all the more challenging by the lack of open dialogue and support available to her as she was growing up in an isolated island community in the mid 20th century. Henderson now provides that much needed dialogue for her readers, fellow victims and friends alike, detailing not only her experience but also the insights and suggestions of her qualified co-author, therapist Seanne Emerton. The honesty and even humor with which Henderson approaches this still most taboo of topics makes accompanying her on that journey if not an easy read, certainly an interesting and engaging one. The cover photo of the broken bowl repaired with gold--an unexplained reference to kintsukuroi, the Japanese 'art of repairing pottery with gold,' making it more beautiful and valuable, is an appropriate image and symbol for Henderson's experience, narrated so humanly here.” — R.B., Amazon.

“Valuable, unique addition to the literature. This will be useful for survivor and therapist alike. Written with inordinate skill and breathtaking honesty, this book is a masterly treatise on one woman's healing journey and her therapist's skillful, careful choices in helping. Painful topic--wonderful addition.” — S.L.S., PC, Amazon.


Geri Henderson, PhD, currently teaches writing and literature in Asia and has published a number of articles on medieval mysticism and the pedagogy of language and writing in EFL environments.

Seanne Emerton, LIMHP, LMFT, LPC, is a mental health therapist and a Certified Life-cycle Celebrant for whom the creation of appropriate ritual and celebration is integral to critical life stages.

Finalist - Book Excellence Award - July 2018

Available at Amazon.com: http://t.co/BeIYrjiLHC
All proceeds from the book are being donated to RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network)

Seanne's blog about the book: Her View from Home: Healing from Incest