These two books are companion volumes, but can profitably be read separately. Together, they constitute a 20-year follow up to my 1999 book Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men. When I wrote that book, the field of male sexual victimization barely existed. I am pleased and proud to say that in the years since then the field has developed to a point where there are a variety of subspecialty areas. I have therefore invited expert colleagues from the trauma, psychoanalytic, and survivor treatment fields to contribute to this work. Together, we have created a comprehensive guide to male sexual victimization. The result is two wide-ranging books covering diverse topics.
Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men includes chapters on the effects of sexual abuse on male victims; profiles of men with sexual abuse histories; the relationship between a sexually abused man and his physician; up-to-date analysis of the research in the area; neurobiology and brain circuitry related to male sexual victimization; socioeconomic and cultural considerations; interpersonal and institutional dissociation related to sexual abuse of boys; abuse by priests; commercial sex trafficking and exploitation of boys; gender and/or sexually diverse male survivors; and sexual aftereffects in male survivors including orientation confusion, compulsions, kinky sexual interests, and dysfunctions.
Read the Introduction to Understanding the Sexual Betrayal of Boys and Men (in pdf format)
Healing Sexually Betrayed Men and Boys: Treatment for Sexual Abuse, Assault, and Trauma includes chapters on treatment concentrating on the therapeutic relationship as well as the traumatic events in a man’s life; psychotherapy with child victims; treatment of survivors of adult sexual assault; Veterans who have survived sexual assault while serving in the military; healing through intensive community retreats; establishing a men’s trauma organization; anesthetizing pain through sexual addiction and substance use; body awareness work; experiences of female therapists working with male survivors; covert seduction of boys by parents; work with couples where one partner is a man having a sexual abuse history; profiling predators; and both treatment and countertransference issues related to men who were victims and have gone on to offend.
Read the Introduction to Healing Sexually Betrayed Men and Boys (in pdf format).
The two books look at the realities of male sexual victimization, guiding clinicians and lay people alike to understand the complexities of the devastation caused by the sexual abuse of male victims, and how to treat those suffering from its aftereffects. The books are useful to clinicians who currently work with male victims of sexual abuse or assault and to other professionals (such as attorneys, journalists, or those in the penal system) who are new to understanding and working with male sexual abuse. They are also valuable to those who are experienced in the field but have not followed all the newer lines of investigation. In addition, they are useful in graduate courses on trauma and victimology, and appeal to lay people, including survivors and loved ones, who have an interest in male sexual victimization.
Treating traumatized patients often takes its toll on the treating therapist, which I call countertrauma. Paradoxically, a clinician may also be imbued with a sense of optimism, or counterresilience, after learning how often the human spirit can triumph over heartbreakingly tragic experiences.
I have invited a group of seasoned clinicians who work with traumatized individuals to join me in writing about our personal experiences engaging intimately with traumatized patients, including how it has affected us personally. We write about what has often been called vicarious traumatization and vicarious transformation. I propose more interpersonal and relational terms, countertrauma and counterresilience.
Countertrauma is a common occupational hazard when working with trauma victims, yet is rarely discussed in depth from a personal perspective. Counterresilience is also common, although even more rarely described in professional literature. Drawing from personal experiences working with trauma over decades, the contributors recount countertraumatic and counterresilient reactions to long-term exposure to patients’ often-harrowing trauma. Their personal reflections show what clinicians all too rarely dare to reveal: their personal traumatic material.
The contributing authors acknowledge, articulate, and synthesize the countertrauma that arises from long-term exposure to patients’ often-harrowing trauma. In doing so, they focus on the conflict between therapists’ wishes and abilities to empathize with patients’ deep pain vs. their need to preserve an inner core of strength and peace. At the same time, they recount how patients’ resilience evokes counterresilience in the therapist, allowing the clinician to benefit from ongoing contact with patients who deal bravely with horrific adversity. Writing openly, using viscerally affecting language, the contributors to this exceptional collection of essays share subjective and sometimes intimate material, shedding light on the inner lives of people who work to heal the wounds of psychic trauma.
In these essays, the eighteen contributors consider how they have been transformed as therapists and human beings by their work. Tracking their emerging negative and positive responses, they consider how their personal and professional lives have changed. In planning this book, I considered a range of readership — people beginning their careers in mental health work, teachers and supervisors of trauma therapists, experienced clinicians struggling with burnout, and anyone who wants to understand the psychotherapeutic process or indeed the human condition. I believe that anyone who has worked with trauma or who hopes to will gain enormously from the insights of this stellar group of clinicians.
Providing empowering action steps and written specifically for survivors of male sexual abuse as well as their spouses, partners, and loved ones, Beyond Betrayal is based on my decades of experience as a psychologist, psychoanalyst, and advocate for sexually abused men. Covering both male and female abuse of boys and young men, I explore the different types of abuse and explain how as a child one trusts out of necessity—and how the betrayal of that trust ravages one’s self-concept as a man while also wreaking havoc on one’s relationships. In reading this book, you’ll discover how to safely experience emotions again and relate to others with confidence and security. The book will also help you shed the long-held conviction that you can either be a man or a victim but not both, and will teach you how to determine who you really are and develop new, more flexible concepts of masculinity. Beyond Betrayal shows you that you can take charge of your recovery while living your life to its fullest potential.
This book is a departure from my first two books. It is written for the lay public, and is specifically directed to sexually abused men and their loved ones. In this book, I take many of the themes in Betrayed as Boys and talk to men about them so they can use the concepts to help themselves heal.
How should you go about finding a therapist? Dr. Gartner explores this and other questions in Helping Yourself Heal
(A portion of all book sales from this web site will go to MaleSurvivor).
Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men. Guilford Press, 1999, 2001.
Betrayed as Boys is about what happens to boys who grow up in dreadful circumstances, often in a family where incestuous boundary violations repeatedly recur. It is also about the psychotherapeutic treatment of these boys when they become men who at last must face their abusive histories. Finally, it is about the inner experience of therapists who try to draw on their skill and inner resources as they evolve in very complex treatment situations.
Betrayed as Boys was runner-up for the 2001 Gradiva Award for Best Book on a Clinical Subject, given by the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis (NAAP).
When I first began considering my work with men having sexual abuse histories, there was very little in the professional literature to guide me. Some books and articles about sexually abused girls and women had been published, and most of these acknowledged that boys and men were also sexually abused. However, they said little about how to understand men’s sexual abuse. The reader was often left either with the impression that boys and girls react very similarly to sexual betrayal, or that boys are very rarely sexually abused. Neither of these impressions was accurate.
Because of dearth of literature about therapeutic work with sexually abused men, I was encouraged to write professional papers about these men. In 1992, I gave my first paper on the subject at the Spring meeting of Division 39 (Psychoanalysis) of the American Psychological Association. I gave papers at these annual conferences for the next five years. These five papers reflected my earliest thinking about work with sexually abused men. As I wrote Betrayed as Boys, I revised these papers considerably and (hopefully) improved on them.
“Encoding Sexual Abuse as Sexual Initiation”
From the introduction to the book
Read Goals, Process, Themes and Treatment
What can we hope will happen by the end of psychotherapy for an adult who was sexually abused in childhood? A number of writers have addressed the steps and/or the process of therapy with sexually abused adults. Here is a general description of the recovery process.
(A portion of all book sales from this web site will go to MaleSurvivor.)
Memories of Sexual Betrayal: Truth, Fantasy, Repression, and Dissociation (Editor). Jason Aronson, 1997.
My first book, Memories of Sexual Betrayal: Truth, Fantasy, Repression, and Dissociation, is a compendium of papers by psychoanalysts. These papers respond to the charges that previously-forgotten memories of sexual abuse remembered during therapy are “implanted” there by the therapist, either through outright suggestion or in subtler ways.
This discourse is about how to understand those who as adults seem to recall hitherto “forgotten” memories of sexual betrayal, especially those who “recover” these memories while in a therapeutic setting.