This poignant memoir chronicles the traumatic psychological abduction and sexual exploitation of depressed college student Carrie Tansey at the hands of her psychiatrist, Dr. Anthony Romano―thirty-one years her senior. For three years, their secret “affair” was carefully calculated and controlled by Romano, as Carrie’s mental and emotional health continued to deteriorate, bringing her closer and closer to the edge.
Their dual-relationship―clinical and clandestine―finally came to light when Carrie’s suicide attempts landed her in a world-renowned psychiatric hospital. Gradually, she began to reclaim her power, reported Romano to the state licensing board, successfully sued him for malpractice, and testified before the state legislature to help pass a law aimed at curbing such abuses.
As Carrie tells her tale, it is a journey paralleling that of the mythical archetype Persephone, the naive innocent who was abducted into darkness, reemerged and regenerated herself, then fearlessly returned to the prison she had fled, this time to help free others. Today, Carrie Ishee is a widely respected art therapist and life coach as well as a teacher specializing in the issues of ethics and boundaries for mental health professionals.
Print Length: 286 Pages
Publisher: Terra Nova Books
Seduced Into Darkness is now available to purchase at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, Thrift Books, and IndieBound.
Book Giveaway Contest
To win a copy of the book Seduced Into Darknesss by Carrie T. Ishee, please enter using Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post. Giveaway ends on March 29th at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About the Author, Carrie T. Ishee
Carrie Ishee has been a student of healing, human potential, and consciousness for more than 35 years. Her quest to know herself began in college when a severe health crisis compounded by her psychiatrist’s seduction and sexual abuse shattered her physically, emotionally, and spiritually. After doctoral studies in clinical psychology, she worked as a behavioral therapist, pursued a master’s degree in art therapy, and later completed a two-year training program in life coaching. Her work today is focused on helping victims such as she once was break free from the suffocating shroud of trauma.
Visit her website at www.carrieishee.com. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, and GoodReads.
--- Interview by Nicole Pyles
WOW: Congratulations on your book Seduced Into Darkness. What led you to write your memoir?
Carrie: When I was healing from the soul shattering trauma of sexual exploitation by my therapist, I was hungry for first person narratives of people who had made it through darkness. Since it was hard for me to trust other mental health professionals and people in general, I relied on reading books to support my journey. The first book that inspired me was Victor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, which documented his journey from Holocaust survivor to pioneer theorist who articulated “logotherapy” – the therapy of meaning. I figured that if he could get through one of the most horrible chapters in the history of mankind, I could get through my own personal holocaust. The intention to make meaning of my traumatic experience set me on the path to embrace the arts, access my own authentic voice, and share my journey with the world.
When sitting in the cafeteria of the psychiatric hospital where I had spent 6 months recovering my will to live, I watched my fellow peers in the Underworld getting their breakfast and going about their day. It was then that I knew I would write about my own experience one day, and give voice to the trauma that lies under many mental health struggles. I want to open the door for other trauma survivors to come out of darkness, to shed the shroud of shame and self–loathing, and come into the light of healing, self-love, and connection. I also want to have more conscious conversations around mental health to reduce the stigma associated with psychiatric symptoms, which are often signs of unhealed trauma. It’s an exciting time on the planet! Trauma treatments are more effective than ever and people don’t need to merely survive, they can thrive and expand in consciousness after life’s most difficult moments.
"I want to have more conscious conversations around mental health to reduce the stigma associated with psychiatric symptoms, which are often signs of unhealed trauma."
WOW: What a powerful realization! How did you get started with writing this memoir?
Carrie: One night, almost a decade ago, I took a walk under a star-covered New Mexican sky, and heard a voice within me say “now is the time.” The call was so palpable, I became curious what an astrologer might say about my urgency. I immediately hired an evolutionary astrologer who sat with me to look at my birth chart. I told him, “I feel an urgency to write my story of trauma and healing.” He looked at my chart, then looked at me and declared, “Yours is the story of Persephone.” At that moment, it seemed the air crackled around us and I knew I had landed upon the ancient myth that illuminated my own story. His declaration that I was supported by the stars lit a fire under me as I pounded out the rough draft in 4 months, often writing for 6 hours a day. I experienced a sense of wonder and inspiration thinking that perhaps my life was indeed connected to a larger picture and the myth of Persephone, Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld, perfectly paralleled my experience of being psychologically abducted, sexually violated, and held captive in the Underworld. I also resonated with the gift of renewal that I brought back from the Underworld as I healed my trauma. As an art therapist and life coach, I now guide lost souls as they navigate underworld journeys.
WOW: I think that's fantastic. You describe how this book parallels the mythical archetype of Persephone. Can you tell us why that is?
Carrie: After first being exposed to the myth of Persephone, Goddess of Spring and Queen of the Underworld, from an evolutionary astrologer, I became fascinated with how my story paralleled this archetypal story. Persephone begins as the innocent maiden, unconscious, naïve, and trusting who is abducted by Hades, God of the Underworld. She is raped and held captive in his underworld realm. There she is lost to all she knew before, but slowly begins to grow eyes in the dark. She is rescued by her parents, and as she resurfaces above ground, the earth blooms again with the renewal of springtime. Before she leaves the Underworld, however, Hades tricks her by giving her a taste of a pomegranate that binds her to spend time each year, again as his Queen. I believe this myth illustrates that after we experience soul shattering trauma, we are forever changed and at times are pulled back into the underworld. With time however, we can become travelers in both realms, above and below, and can become guides for lost souls as they take their own journeys through darkness.
In the end, Persephone serves a dual role as Goddess of Spring, and Queen of the Underworld, a woman of wisdom of both light and dark. My journey has enriched my life by allowing me to no longer be afraid of the dark. In fact, I can now hold a lantern of awareness and hope for others as they navigate trauma and loss. The archetype of Persephone portends the opportunity for renewal and rebirth that awaits us as we embrace our own hero’s journey.
"I pounded out the rough draft in 4 months, often writing for 6 hours a day. I experienced a sense of wonder and inspiration thinking that perhaps my life was indeed connected to a larger picture and the myth of Persephone."
WOW: I love that! So, in your epilogue, you talk about how healing must be holistic, including mind, body, and soul. Why is it so important for all three to be present to experience healing?
Carrie: It has only been in the last few decades that psychological treatment modalities have included the somatic experience of the body as part of the journey towards healing. For too long, people have been given anti-anxiety and pain medications to quell symptoms that, if embraced and explored could lead people to a deeper wisdom. The medical model often directs people to seek outside solutions for sickness rather than take the deep journeys that await them when sickness calls for more life balance and self-care.
In my case, I had been on tetracycline for four years for adolescent acne starting at age 17. At the time, I did not know that this medicine was disrupting my internal balance and doing more harm than good. It was not until I began suffering from chronic sinus infections and fatigue, followed by the psychiatric symptoms of panic and depression, that my gut issues started to run the show. Sadly, the blood work at the time did not test for chronic candida – a yeast that had overtaken my body from the onslaught of antibiotics, and the course of treatment for me became purely psychiatric. As I became sicker and sicker, I was easy to manipulate and my doctor dominated me with his interpretations, his wants, his needs.
It was not until many years later, after enduring nearly 7 years of physical, emotional, and spiritual symptoms, that a holistic physician got to the original root of the problem. From there it took me many more years to get my full health back, but by this time I also had PTSD from the dark and twisted journey I took with my therapist.
We are one organism, our bodies, minds, and spirits all connected. Anytime we have a symptom, ideally, it is viewed in terms of what is going on emotionally, spiritually, and physically. Very often our illnesses can be iatrogenic – or medically induced – opiate addictions from prescription meds being one example of this imbalance.
Often with illness it is our soul’s call letting us know if we are off course from our life purpose and the wisdom of our hearts. If we are too easily medicated and sent back to work we may miss the subtle calls of the soul that could prevent a later, more catastrophic, wake up from occurring.
"Living in a patriarchal world, most of us have been trained to give power away to the males in our lives ... my story speaks to the power of accessing body wisdom for healing and empowerment. As women gain their authentic power, men are challenged to take a deeper journey within to find their own vulnerability ..."
WOW: That's so incredibly interesting and thought-provoking. Who do you think should read this book and what do you hope they gain from reading it?
Carrie: First, of all, I think my memoir is a book for all women. Living in a patriarchal world, most of us have been trained to give power away to the males in our lives. Many of us have experienced abusive relationships making us doubt ourselves, deny the reality of what was happening, or justify the mistreatment out of fear of hurting the other. Many of us have experienced assaults to our body image and our sexuality, and my story speaks to the power of accessing body wisdom for healing and empowerment. If women can begin to claim their body wisdom and live from the inside out rather than based on what others think of us and our bodies, the world will be a much more balanced, compassionate, and joyful place. As women gain their authentic power, men are challenged to take a deeper journey within to find their own vulnerability, their own feelings, their own divine selves.
I believe my book will inspire people to never give up on themselves and motivate people to take the hero’s journey back to self. It also illustrates the power of creating from within to access inner wisdom and resources.
My book will also serve as an instructive and inspirational text in ethics classes for mental health and other health professionals about the dangers of the “slippery slope” and the need for boundaries, self-care, and balanced lives. I hope it challenges mental health professionals to forever be on a journey of personal development, healing, and awareness. The medical model has set up a paradigm where the doctor is the authority, but all true healing comes when one embraces one’s own inner authority, one’s own light. I hope to inspire doctors of all kinds to delve deeper within themselves so they are strong enough to empower their clients to take the inner journeys of healing, not just rely on superficial, symptom suppressing solutions such as medication. A true healer allows for others to claim their own wisdom, perspective, and insight for the journey, not just tell people what to do. If doctors could become healers and embrace their own health, then the transformation of consciousness would expand exponentially and our culture could be stronger, deeper, and more compassionate.
WOW: Thank you so much Carrie and best of luck to you on your book and the blog tour!
-- Blog Tour Dates
March 23rd @ The Muffin
What goes better in the morning than a muffin? Stop by the Women on Writing blog The Muffin as well celebrate the launch of the Seduced Into Darkness blog tour. Read an interview with author Carrie T. Ishee and enter to win a copy of the book.
March 25th @ The New England Book Critic
Visit Victoria over at The New England Book Critic and read her review of Carrie T. Ishee's powerful book Seduced Into Darkness.
March 25th @ Choices
Visit Madeline's blog today and read a poignant guest post by author Carrie T. Ishee. She talks about the signs of a healthy relationship versus a toxic relationship and how to set boundaries to see if a person is safe for you.
March 27th @ Writings and Reviewings
Visit Judith's blog today where you can read her review of Carrie T. Ishee's book Seduced Into Darkness.
March 30th @ Dog-Eared Days of Summer
Stop by Courtney's blog and you can read her review of Carrie T. Ishee's book Seduced Into Darkness.
April 2nd @ Coffee with Lacey
Grab your coffee and join Lacey as she reviews Carrie T. Ishee's book Seduced Into Darkness.
April 6th @ Writing Through Life
Visit Amber's blog today and you can read author Carrie T. Ishee's guest post. She talks about women's intuition and paying attention to cues that arise from within. You can also enter to win a copy of the book Seduced Into Darkness.
April 11th @ Bookworm Blog
Visit Anjanette's blog today and read her review of Carrie T. Ishee's book Seduced Into Darkness.
April 13th @ World Of My Imagination
Visit Nicole's blog today and read Carrie T. Ishee's guest post talks about the power of art as medicine.
April 15th @ A Storybook World
Stop by Dierdra's blog and read author Carrie T. Ishee's guest post about the personal growth and transformation that happens as a result of trauma. A powerful post you don't want to miss!
April 17th @ Lukten Av Trykksverte Blog
Make sure you stop by this bilingual blog and read Kristin's review of Carrie T. Ishee's book Seduced Into Darkness.
April 18th @ Books, Beans and Botany
Visit Ashley's blog today and read her review of Carrie T. Ishee's book Seduced Into Darkness.
April 20th @ Teatime and Books
Visit Janet's blog today and read Carrie T. Ishee's guest post about the journey of healing and how creating art helps this process.
April 22nd @ My Bookish Banner
Make sure you stop by Aayushi's blog today and read her review of Carrie T. Ishee's book Seduced Into Darkness.
April 24th @ Angie Mangino Looks at Books
Stop by Angie's blog today and you can read her review of Carrie T. Ishee's book Seduced Into Darkness.
April 25th @ Teatime and Books
Visit Janet's blog today and you can read her review of Carrie T. Ishee's book Seduced Into Darkness.
***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****
To win a copy of the book Seduced Into Darknesss by Carrie T. Ishee, please enter using Rafflecopter below. Giveaway ends on March 29th at 11:59 PM EST. We will announce the winner the next day on the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
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