Overcoming Childhood Sexual Trauma: A Guide to Breaking through the Wall of Fear for Practitioners and Survivors

Overcoming Childhood Sexual Trauma: A Guide to Breaking through the Wall of Fear for Practitioners and Survivors

Overcoming Childhood Sexual Trauma: A Guide to Breaking through the Wall of Fear for Practitioners and Survivors

Overcoming Childhood Sexual Trauma: A Guide to Breaking through the Wall of Fear for Practitioners and Survivors


Go beyond the pain and fear of sexual abuse to heal the trauma

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) can be a physically and emotionally painful soul-shattering experience that can traumatize a person for a lifetime. The Wall of Fear: Crossing the Wall from Trauma to Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse is a unique exploration of the subjective experiences of both client and therapist as they together travel the path to recovery. Therapists get a clear illustration of the therapy process while CSA survivors are offered a gauge with which to judge their own progress toward recovery. New therapeutic concepts are clearly presented and extensively discussed while sensitively charting the experiences of clients on the journey toward healing.

As Winston Churchill once said, "If you're going through hell, keep going." The Wall of Fear charts the arduous progress of a survivor from the initial understanding that they need help and guidance, to choosing the correct therapist, to the emotional roadblocks most clients face on their own personal recovery from the hell of CSA. The authors team up to courageously provide readers with a comprehensive and candid portrait of their experiences of CSA therapy while demonstrating the approaches which effectively enhance healing. Features include schematic drawings of the stages of therapy, the client's own diary from her youth through her therapy in adulthood, client drawings illustrating progress in therapy, and effective art exercises that can be used at the beginning of therapy. The text includes extensive references, useful appendixes, and a helpful glossary of terms for the layperson.

Topics in The Wall of Fear include:
  • the nature of sexual trauma (the new concept of the World of Trauma)
  • growing up traumatized--and its effect on friendships, sexual development, dating, and mate selection
  • couples' relationships and sexuality
  • selecting a therapist
  • the new concept of The Wall of Fear
  • closure
  • coping with the therapy process
  • parenting by CSA survivors and the impact on the next generation
  • the subjective experiences of both therapist and CSA survivor

The Wall of Fear stands as a testament that no matter what sexual trauma a person may endure, there is hope for recovery. This is insightful, crucial reading for survivors of CSA and therapists at all levels of expertise.


It is both a pleasure and an honor to write this foreword to Overcoming Childhood Sexual Trauma for this is an important addition to the literature, and it gets it right. This book offers both the therapist’s and the survivor/client’s perspectives on the process and aftermath of sexual abuse and what is required in the healing process. It admirably meets its goals of adding “another blow to the wall of denial surrounding the subject of childhood sexual abuse, creating yet another crack through which to view the horrible reality of sexual terrorism in a world that has been hesitant to accept its existence and insensitive to the needs of its many victims” and providing “a road map for victims and survivors against which they can measure their progress along the path toward healing.”

Part I, “Living with the Trauma,” offers one of the most compelling descriptions I’ve read of what it means to an individual to be sexually abused, especially when perpetrated by someone in a role that mandates protection and trust rather than exploitation. The authors’ metaphors the “World of Trauma” and the “Wall of Fear” are apt descriptions of what the sexually abused child experiences. Many of the child’s behaviors that may seem strange or hard to interpret by those unfamiliar with or uninformed about child abuse trauma are explained with great clarity, and from a position of empathy. The historical and contemporaneous diary entries and commentaries by co-author SarahJane add first-person immediacy to the more academic description provided by therapist Sheri Oz. Their descriptions give a developmental overview of the impact of child sexual abuse and illustrate how the aftereffects can impact the victim’s life in large and small ways across all life domains, ranging from the child’s self-concept to her or his ability to choose a suitable partner and to adequately parent children. The material presented here is up-to-date theoretically;

Overcoming Childhood Sexual Trauma Published by The Haworth Press, Inc., 2006, All rights reserved. doi:10.1300/5668_a

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.