313 – The Dark Secret of Incest

How to Help Our Clients Heal
Mary Jo Barrett

Exposing the family secret of incest is a transgression that makes everyone deeply uncomfortable, both in the families in which it occurs and for the mental health professionals who try to help them. One reflection of this discomfort is the avoidance of even using the term itself in favor of the less threatening, more generic trauma. But at least 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 7 boys are sexually abused before they turn 18, and the overwhelming incidence of it occurs within the family. This workshop will explore our current understanding of both the family dynamics of incest and the tools needed to help the vast number of trauma clients who are incest victims. You’ll discover:

  • How to work with clients who are bystanders, victims, or perpetrators of incest
  • Techniques for building safety and addressing deep attachment wounds
  • Which family treatment approaches to use when the sexual abuse is current or when doing family of origin work with adult clients


Mary Jo Barrett, MSW, is the founder and director of the Center for Contextual Change and the coauthor of Treating Complex Trauma: A Relational Blueprint for Collaboration and Change and The Systemic Treatment of Incest.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Mary Jo Barrett is the executive director and co-founder of The Center for Contextual Change, Ltd.
Non-financial: Mary Jo Barrett has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

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