is a vivid and captivating story of hope for survivors of abuse as well as a case study of a skilled manipulator’s tragic exploitation of his professional power.
This award winning 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 found her voice through art, music, myth, social advocacy, and the force of the law to reclaim her power, heal her trauma, and hold her abusive doctor accountable.
Her mission is to inform the public of such abuses of power, share how our deepest traumas can initiate us into accelerated growth, meaning, and purpose, and inspire others to embark on the healing journey and become their best selves.
As Carrie tells her tale, her journey parallels that of the mythical archetype Persephone, the naive innocent who was abducted into darkness, re-emerged and regenerated herself, then fearlessly returned to the prison she had fled, this time to help free others.
First Place, Non-fiction Book for Adult Readers- Memoir - National Federation of Press Women
First Place, Non-fiction Book for Adult Readers- Memoir - New Mexico Press Women
Carrie’s experience of healing from soul shattering trauma is documented in her award winning memoir “Seduced into Darkness: Transcending My Psychiatrist’s Sexual Abuse.” Her book won first place in the 2021 New Mexico Press Women Communications Contest for Best Memoir, and first place in the 2021 National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest for Best Memoir.
Relying on the journals she began keeping at age 21, it took nearly four decades for Carrie to write her story.. She needed time to understand what had happened to her, heal her soul of the trauma, shake off the shame of ever being so vulnerable, and claim her voice as one who can inspire others on underworld journeys.
Carrie is currently working on her second book, in which she illuminates the ways in which our deepest traumas may awaken us to the potentials of our soul.
When not engaged in writing and her profession as an art therapist, Carrie enjoys mothering, creating abstract images, singing with her husband, high desert gardening, hiking with her miniature dachshunds, and immersing herself in the beauty of nature.
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
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”
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
“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”
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”
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.
S. Michael Plaut. Ph.D.
Former Chair, Maryland Task Force to Study Health Professional-Client Sexual Exploitation
Psychologist, teacher, consultant, and author of numerous papers about professional-client boundaries
Former Associate Professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine
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
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.
“Under the guise of putting healing first, Carrie is actually guided to a dark place where healing is last. Readers follow her into this rabbit hole of abuse and control, absorb the techniques that lead her to feel powerless and mentally ill, and learn how this man led her to feel both special and vulnerable as she tries to please him and earn his respect.”
-Midwest Book Review
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.