• #MeToo - counsellors and psychotherapists speak about sexual violence and abuse

#MeToo - counsellors and psychotherapists speak about sexual violence and abuse

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ISBN 9781910919538 pp 264
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In 2017 the global #MeToo movement burst through the conspiracy of silence around women’s experience of sexual abuse and violence. Since then, other groups have found the courage to declare that they too have experienced sexual abuse and are unafraid and unashamed to let it be known. Now this ground-breaking book provides a space where counsellors and psychotherapists – more often the listeners to such stories – can tell their own stories, sometimes for the first time.

Each chapter is written by a counsellor, psychotherapist or therapy client, and followed up with a dialogue between writer and peer. Together they form a community of #TherapistsToo voices, brought together in the hope that readers both within and beyond the counselling and psychotherapy realm will feel less alone and more connected. This is a book for anyone wanting to understand the ubiquity of sexual violence and sexual abuse and how to respond, support, raise awareness, campaign and be part of creating a culture which says #TimesUp.


1: Retribution.

Seb Randall, with Celia Urbach

2: ‘Survivors are everywhere’: our #MeToo, #WeToo journey.

Kaur with Deborah A Lee

3: Lighthouses, rocky shores and safe harbours.

Concetta Perôt with Clarinda Cuppage 

4: How we talk to girls about ‘sex’.

Taylor Broughton with Sarah J Wilson

5: Sexual abuse and surviving with(in) psychology.

Jemma Tosh with Fionnuala Dempsey

6: Therapists’ lived experience in counselling and psychotherapy training.

Liz Smith and SaraTeresa Mollis

7: Survivors of sexual violence training as psychotherapists in the UK. 

Deborah A Lee with Peggy, Sam and Phoenix.

8: #MeToo on the internet.

Tara Shennan with Haley Clifford

9: Reconnection through dance movement psychotherapy.

Amanda Light with Tina Johnson.

10: Shattering the sounds of silence.

Reena Shah with Clarinda Cuppage

11: While I was sleeping.

Andrew Pari with Katy Woodger

12: ‘#WeToo’: groupwork as an act of solidarity and resistance.

Leah Salter with Emily Jacob

13: Pushing, pulling and parts coming together.

Joy Farrimond with Emma Palmer

14: Dirty secrets, ecocide and the specialness of the world all around.

Emma Palmer with Charleen Agostini

Concluding poem

#MeToo, by Clare Shaw

‘This innovative and ground-breaking  book is an exceptional and much-needed contribution to understanding sexual violence and sexual abuse. It provides invaluable insight to the experience of those who work with and support survivors of sexual violence who are also survivors themselves. It allows us to bear witness to how survivor practitioners engage in their work with survivors and demonstrates how powerful and transformative it is to give voice to and share lived experiences. It is an indispensable addition to our understanding of sexual violence and deserves a place on every practitioner’s bookshelf.’

Christiane Sanderson, Senior lecturer in psychology, University of Roehampton, and consultant in sexual violence and childhood sexual abuse

‘The capacity to work with experiences of sexual violence and abuse is an essential competence for all counsellors and psychotherapists. #MeToo presents a diverse, accessible, and deeply moving collection of chapters on this issue, from both personal and professional perspectives. As such, it is a vital resource for our field.’

Mick Cooper, Professor of Counselling Psychology, University of Roehampton

‘This book is truly transformational.  It not only documents the #MeToo movement by bringing together therapists in dialogues about the impacts of their personal experiences of sexual abuse in a powerful and moving way. It also deconstructs and disrupts the ways we talk about these experiences and reconstructs the phenomenon entirely. Throughout it challenges notions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ and shows us how to hold ambivalence, as de Beauvoir taught us in her ‘ethics of ambiguity’. Either/or becomes both/and, such as in the desire to be seen and to be hidden, to feel agency and to experience dependence, to feel special and to be shame-ridden, and wanting to hurt and feeling empathy for abusers. ‘No, we will not be silenced!’ shout the authors, united. It is a convincing plea for #WeToo and the power of standing together in solidarity against shame and victim-blaming. This book is a powerful testament of how abuse is a relational experience – a counter-story to the individualisation and pathologisation so rife in our society.’

Dr Gillian Proctor, lecturer, University of Leeds

‘If you don’t find yourself reading this book with your whole mind-body self, then you are missing a unique opportunity for being moved, kinaesthetically touched by the personal stories and learning what it means to work therapeutically towards a soul-soma integration. The different theoretical perspectives, writing styles and conversation structures made me read the book in a 3-D way: as a (socio-political) witness, but then also hearing the different voices that were previously silenced and also feeling in my own body and movement the emergence of deeply hidden memories. Spirituality, politics and intersectionality are at the heart of this utterly inspiring book that sensitively stimulates reflections, inner processes and questioning of conventional therapy practices. It is essential reading for therapists and non-therapists alike.’

Sissy Lykou, UKCP registered psychotherapist, embodied movement psychotherapist and supervisor; programme leader, MSc in Contemporary Person-Centred Psychotherapy, Metanoia Institute

‘Intensely powerful - a book about pain and remembering, but also about testimony and hope.’ 

Nicole Westmarland, Professor of Criminology, Durham University 

” At its core, this is a book full of therapists who are survivors being seen in all their light and shadow. They are there in all their rage, dissociation, terror, numbness, forgiveness, and hope. There are so many stories being told and yet to be told, so many therapists and counsellors seen in this book, and yet to be seen if they choose to be visible. For me, this book provides many ways to understand the fear I felt in the face of the #MeToo movement, and so many experiences to connect with to show that I no longer have to be afraid."

Katy Lees - International Psychotherapy and Politics Int. 2020;e1543. wileyonlinelibrary.com/journal/ppi © 2020 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. 1 of 2 https://doi.org/10.1002/ppi.1543

Deborah A Lee

Deborah A Lee is Programme Director for the BSc Counselling at the University of East Londonand a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA). She has 20+ years of experience in higher education, leading and teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses,advising students on study skills. Deborah is UKCP-registered, MBACP, and NCS (Accred), and has a private practice offering person-centred counselling and psychotherapy. Deborah’s current teaching and writing has a focus on social justice in counselling and psychotherapy education, training, and practice, drawing on heuristic research, autoethnography, creative non-fiction and arts-based presentations. She is co-editor, with Emma Palmer, of#MeToo: Counsellors and psychotherapists speak about sexual violence and abuse(PCCS Books, 2020), guest editor of the special issue ofPsychotherapy and Politics International(2020) on therapists’ lived experiences, and her case-study research has appeared in theBritish Journal of Guidance and Counselling(2017) andSelf & Society(2019).

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Emma Palmer

Emma Palmer is a BACP-accredited counsellor, relational body psychotherapist, facilitator, supervisor and ecopsychologist, and a Buddhist since 1995. She was previously a steering group member of Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR) and editor of its Transformations journal. She has worked extensively as an educator, including teaching postgraduate international development studies at Bristol University, working with NGOs in Africa, offering ecopsychology public talks and workshops and leading retreats. She has published several books under her former name, Kamalamani, on topics including meditation, childlessness and somatic psychotherapy.

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