Sarah Van Gogh has written a powerful and engaging book, driven by case vignettes from her private, individual clinical work, with which she has interwoven the theory of others and elaborated - through visual diagrams - her own understanding of the dynamics at play. This work is especially gripping in light of the men with whom she has worked closely who are typically ashamed of sharing such detail about themselves. Sarah shares the minutiae of the work so that we can truly get under their skin and understand their experiences with compassion and clarity.
Sarah Van Gogh has written this text with great intelligence, with tremendous sensitivity, and with distinct literary flair. Readers will be extremely moved by her unique compassion for male survivors of abuse and trauma, and clinical practitioners will learn a great deal from her many years of experience. In view of the high rate of suicide among those who have suffered early abuse, this book has the potential to save lives.
This powerful book addresses a taboo and shame filled topic. Using a delicate sensibility but not shirking harsh realities, Sarah Van Gogh opens our eyes to the complexities of such work. She skilfully navigates neurobiology, trauma and dissociation alongside both classic and innovative therapeutic approaches. We are invited into the private confines of the consulting room where we meet and witness vulnerable victims, and are taken to the heart of their struggles, always respectfully, never voyeuristically, in work that gives hope for the curative power of intimate safe therapeutic relationships after profound trauma.
This book is useful for any counsellor/psychotherapist working with males affected by various forms of sexual abuse and is essential for those whose clients are predominantly boys and men. Practitioners who are not counsellors, but who are working with sexually abused males in another capacity, may also find it useful, as it provides ideas on how to work with men and explore methods that can help them address issues connected to their sexual abuse.
I came to this book with trepidation - knowing little about the topic of male sexual abuse. But like the experiences of the diverse clients portrayed in this brilliant book by Sarah Van Gogh, I have felt the warmth and humility that underpins her practice... This book captures the bald reality of abuse. It destroys the notion that sexual violation belongs to a homogenous group. It is a book that represents the despair of abuse, yet is ultimately a book of hope, representing the remarkable possibilities of therapeutic change. I believe that because of the implicit silence surrounding sexual abuse, this compelling work is a book all therapists should read.