Duncan, Karen A. 1955-

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Duncan, Karen A. 1955-


Born October 12, 1955. Education: Elmhurst College, B.A., 1978; Ball State University, M.A., 1980.


Home—Greenwood, IN. E-mail—[email protected].


Therapist, counselor, social worker, speaker, and writer. Works as a licensed therapist and counselor; founder of the Wellness Center for Women, Inc. and The Right to Be Safe, Inc., Greenwood, IN. Has also served as adjunct faculty member at Marian College, Indianapolis, IN, and Indiana University—Purdue University (IUPUI), Indianapolis, in the departments of psychology and women's studies.


American Psychotherapy Association (diplomate status), National Association of Social Workers, Association for Traumatic Stress Specialists, American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children, American Mental Health Counselors Association, American Counseling Association, Association of Women in Psychology, Association for Humanistic Psychology, Mid-West Regional Network for Intervention with Sex Offenders.


Social Worker of the Year Award for Region 7, National Association of Social Workers—Indiana, 2005; Outstanding Mental Professional Award, Indiana Coalition against Sexual Assault, 2008.


Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Journey for Women, Praeger (Westport, CT), 2004.

Also author of educational programs, including a comprehensive adult education program in the prevention of child sexual abuse titled The Right to Be Safe: Adult Education to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse (RTBS); a program to identify and prevent the sexual abuse of boys titled What About Our Boys; a program to prevent teen dating violence titled Healthy Teen Relations; a program to prevent bully abuse titled Values in Action; and a program on addressing and preventing sexual abuse in schools titled Hands Off! When Teachers Cross Boundaries.

Contributor to books, including VISTA: Compelling Perspectives on Counseling, edited by Garry Walz and Richard Yep, American Counseling Association (Alex- andria, VA), 2005. Contributor to periodicals, including Addiction Professional, Counseling Today, and Indiana Update. Member of the editorial staff for the Journal of Mental Health Counseling.


A licensed therapist and clinical educator, Karen A. Duncan is known for her advocacy work with women and children concerning the treatment and prevention of family violence and sexual abuse. Founder of the nonprofit organization The Right to Be Safe, Inc., Duncan is also the author of Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Journey for Women. "I consider this one of the most important messages to convey to women and children who have had this crime committed against them," the author writes on the Healing for Women Web site. "While the impact of sexual abuse is devastating, it is possible to regain and restore your life and sense of well-being. We know more today about healing from the trauma of sexual abuse than we did when this crime was being reported by women thirty years ago."

In Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse, the author tells the stories of eighteen women who were abused as children and provides guidelines for dealing with sexual abuse. Duncan begins with a general discussion of the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and remembering the trauma. In the third chapter she focuses on how childhood abuse is often a "family legacy." She then takes a look at the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse, which may include depression and dissociation and chronic shock, and offers guidance on how to recognize these effects. Chapter five discusses the stages of treatment and healing followed by a chapter on prolonged problems associated with childhood sexual abuse. The author also discusses ending the pretense of pretending that the abuse did not happen or did not affect the victim.

An important part of the book is the author's look at controversial topics associated the childhood sexual abuse, such as disclosure of the perpetrator and false memories. For example, she devotes an entire chapter to the moral, legal, and family issues related to exposing a perpetrator. The author also includes a look at the therapeutic relationship between someone who has been abused and her psychologist, psychiatrist, or counselor. Overall, the chapters are presented to follow the therapeutic approach developed by Duncan to treat abuse victims. The book includes thirty pages of appendices and checklists to help readers becoming aware of things such as distorted thought patterns, developing the ability to forgive, and managing anxiety.

"The book uses humanistic, cognitive and feminist perspectives as its theoretical underpinnings, is well documented, has a user friendly index, limited bibliography, and a list of some suggested resources," wrote Carol T. Tully in a review of Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse in the Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare. Tully went on to note that "there is enough cognitive content to woo even the most conservative behaviorist into believing that this treatment approach has merit."



Choice, April, 2005, S.M. Valente, review of Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse: The Journey for Women, p. 1475.

Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare, March, 2006, Carol T. Tully, review of Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse, p. 267.

Reference & Research Book News, November, 2004, review of Healing from the Trauma of Childhood Sexual Abuse, p. 145.


Healing for Women Web site,http://www.healing4women.com/ (March 30, 2008), profile of author.

Right to Be Safe Web site,http://www.theright2besafe.org/ (March 30, 2008), profile of author.

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