About the Book

Seduced into Darkness:

Transcending My Psychiatrist’s Sexual Abuse


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Seduced into Darkness: Transcending My Psychiatrist’s Sexual Abuse is a vivid and captivating story of hope for survivors of abuse as well as a case study in a skilled manipulator’s tragic exploitation of his professional power. 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 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 bring awareness to 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, self-care, and boundaries for mental health professionals.

"The Truth"- created 10/26/84

–This image poured out of me in a matter of minutes and spoke more clearly than words could ever convey. It not only broke through my denial, it began my healing journey, and was the impetus for me to eventually become an art therapist. I now help others access their creativity and the healing power of images.

Endorsements for "Seduced into Darkness"

In Seduced into Darkness: Transcending My Psychiatrist's Sexual Abuse, Carrie Ishee gives us a moving and powerful account of sexual abuse by her “healer," as well as a psychologically astute description of her own process of fighting back and recovering. In her willingness to speak out, she offers a gift of compassion and hope to all who suffer from authority abuse.

—Peter Rutter, MD Psychiatrist, and Author of "Sex in the Forbidden Zone"

A beautiful and evocative account of how a client feels on the other end of the so-called slippery slope, the receiving end of egregious sexual exploitation. In this book, Carrie Ishee makes the path intelligible and sympathetic without recourse to angry polemics or victimology. You will hand your heart over to her and thank her for your deepened understanding of this terrain and for the knowledge that there but for the grace ….

—Andrea Celenza, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School, Author, Sexual Boundary Violations: Therapeutic, Supervisory, & Academic Contexts

As Earle Plumhoff and I walked out of our initial meeting with Carrie, I voiced what we were both thinking: How are we ever going to get her through the rigors of litigation? She seemed so fragile, and a lawsuit would involve divulging the most intimate secrets of her life in a public setting. Carrie had suffered a terrible wrong that deserved to be rectified so she could live the life she deserved. Getting through the litigation would allow her to triumph in taking back the power that had been taken from her. Carrie persevered, and through her strength, justice was done.

—Robert Hanley Attorney at Nolan, Plumhoff, & Williams Representing Carrie in litigation against her psychiatrist

Kudos to Carrie Ishee for writing this book to help others realize that victimhood is not the end-all but can be the beginning of the Hero’s Journey to become a Survivor, and—as Carrie demonstrates—a Thriver!

—Charles L Whitfield, M.D., Author of "Healing the Wounded Child"

Carrie Ishee has shared a physical, emotional, and psychological journey showing us how in her words, “Trauma recovery is a spirit path toward wholeness and wisdom.” Her courage to speak truth to power shines a bright light on abuse, and we are better for it. Her book should be required reading for any Ethics classes for health professionals.

—Ann Filemyr, Ph.D. President, Southwestern College, Santa Fe, N.M.

I was stunned when Carrie—one of the most positive, optimistic, and creative people I’ve known—shared this dark and twisted story of her past with me. It is a testament to her intelligence and resilience that she not only pursued justice but also used this searing life experience for her own and others’ positive growth.

—Valerie Plame, Author of "Fair Game"

Carrie Ishee’s compelling true story of her psychotherapist’s exploitation, betrayal, and abuse follows her journey from depression and attempted suicide through survival to strength and a fulfilling life of meaning and value. The story resonates in today's environment, documenting the real-life impact of the betrayal and exploitation of patients.

—Gerald S. Smith Former Counsel to the Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine

Carrie beautifully shares the moment of deep healing through art therapy when her image revealed with painful honesty what words hadn’t been able to. What began as a lighthearted abstract led to the opening within her psyche of the harshest painful truth about what had actually happened to her. It is no surprise that she became the gifted professional art therapist that she is, now offering important healing opportunities to others.

—Deborah Schroder, ATR-BC, LPAT Chairperson, Art Therapy/Counseling Southwestern College, Santa Fe, N.M.

In Seduced into Darkness, Carrie Tansey Ishee shares her harrowing experiences sinking into the depths of despair and suicidal depression as a result of emotional and sexual exploitation by her psychiatrist. The book also documents Carrie’s inspiring healing and transformation: Carrie not only recovers from such a life-altering trauma, but allows it to become an initiation into a greater level of consciousness and self-compassion. Carrie’s personal narrative demonstrates her amazing resilience – not only to survive, but to live beyond the trauma and tap into deep healing through the arts--especially music, visual art and writing. Her masterful weaving of her story on many levels—psychodynamic, interpersonal, sociocultural and archetypal—makes this a standout among personal narratives and memoirs. Seduced into Darkness provides a compelling and instructive read, and a helpful model for others on a healing journey.

Catherine D. Nugent, LCPC, TEP
Executive Director & Principal Trainer
Laurel Psychodrama Training Institute
Former Chair, Committee to Implement the Recommendations of the Maryland Sexual Exploitation Task Force
Former Vice-Chair, Maryland Task Force to Study Health Professional-Patient Sexual Exploitation

This book is a wonderful contribution and will be useful not only to helping professionals who are interested in learning more about professional-client boundaries, but to all helping professionals. All of us are susceptible to being seduced into a serious boundary crossing, not so much by our patients, but by our own neediness, isolation, and life stresses that may lead us to deny the reality of what we are doing.