Skip to content
Paperback Fire of the Five Hearts: A Memoir of Treating Incest Book

ISBN: 1583913548

ISBN13: 9781583913543

Fire of the Five Hearts: A Memoir of Treating Incest

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Paperback

Condition: Very Good

Save $36.86!
List Price $42.95

2 Available

Book Overview

This book is about the influence of twenty years of work in the field of incest on a therapist's professional and personal life. It is comprised of individual cases, and touches upon topics including spirituality, sex between siblings, counter-transference, and incest teams. The author shares, in unadulterated prose, her experience as an incest therapist. This important, courageous work touches upon issues important to and resonant for mental health...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Always and Never Surprised

I met Holly prior to her book being published at a retreat and in an instant was intrigued by her. Having only spent 3 days with her at the retreat, this book is true to her character of compassion, dedication, and role model. As an advocate for 7 years I found it difficult to read this book for all the emotions I was experiencing. I think Holly has found a true balance in her writing of head and heart - with an overtone of soul. In which I view as a reflection of the personal growth she has done within her job and for her job.I felt the book held integrity for those who are survivors and those who are humbled by survivors. I would recommend this book especially for those who work in this field where our response to trauma is often taboo. She says what so many of us feel.

A very relevant and important book with heart

As a person who has just started to deal with my own sexual abuse history, I was both cautious and overwhelmingly curious to find out what the author had to say. In many ways reading this book was like revisiting my own past. However, although I was anxious that it would be too hard to read a book on this subject matter, I was pleasantly surprised. Holly has an extraordinary gift to write of such tragic and disturbing experiences and yet overall I found the book comforting and inspiring. Throughout the book, Holly refrains from intellectualizing too much so that the story stays human, and keeps its heart. The book is able to raise many interesting ideas without being cold and clinical because this story never stops being about people instead of psychological theory. The reader thus never loses the feeling of personal connection and so is able to relate and feel the message of the book that much more. This is an immensely important book, which hopefully will encourage discussion and understanding on the topic of incest. For no matter how "distasteful" the subject is, it is a reality and must addressed. The silence surrounding the subject both discourages disclosure of sexually abused individuals (especially children), as well as ostracizing survivors and those who work as professionals in this field. This is one of the best books I have ever read. It is beautifully written. It is sensitive. It is compassionate. And it is *relevant.* Holly, I have an enormous amount of respect for you.


The above question is one that, I'm sure, many a potential reader will ask upon seeing this book. The question is a single - seemingly simple - one, but the answers are many. Incest is a subject that makes a lot of people uncomfortable - it's something that unfortunately exists in our society (sadly, incest touches one in five children), but it's something that too many people choose to ignore, thinking that it will `go away'. It won't - at least not without the dedication of caregivers and clinicians like Holly Smith. The services they provide are invaluable ones - they root out this evil when it occurs; they give everything they have to reach out to its victims, giving them the care, attention and tools they need to begin the healing process; and they educate the population at large. These are the necessary steps to rid us of this atrocity.There have many books published on the subject, addressing it from various angles - I've read many of them, and most are well-intentioned, informed and well-written. Containing many heart-wrenching, graphically detailed case histories, FIRE OF THE FIVE HEARTS, touches the heart and soul of the reader very deeply. The author at one point asks the question that should burn in the hearts of us all in relation to these unspeakable crimes: `Who would hurt these babies?' In her attempts to awaken the reader to the horrors of incest, Ms. Smith has been very successful here. Over and above this, her book is the first one I've seen that attempts to gift to the reader the understanding of the effect this sort of work has on the therapist - she's done this work for twenty years, and the cumulative affects have been devastating for her. Imagine spending 8-12 hours a day working with cases like these, then going home to your husband and children - that's a shifting of gears that will wreak havoc on your emotional transmission.As sad as many of the cases are to read, I found the book to be one that generates hope, that uplifts. The gratitude that I feel in my heart and soul for dedicated people like Holly Smith is endless. The author gives the reader repeated invaluable insights into the pain, depression, shame, guilt, and other emotional weights that she found herself bearing, inherited from her clients - and she gives us an inspiring glimpse at her repeated efforts to reach down, deep within herself, to find the strength and fortitude to go on.The book is therefore useful to many - and many things may be gained from it. The more people are enlightened as to the existence and incidence of incest in our society, the more they understand of its effects on its victims and survivors, the greater chance we stand of eliminating this unspeakable blight. FIRE OF THE FIVE HEARTS should become `required reading' for professionals as well - emotional burnout is a real danger in their work, and Ms. Smith gives some personal and inspiring tips on dealing with it.


This is by far, the best book i have ever read. It was so truthful and im possitive it opened the eyes off all the sheltered people out there. I read a review from a women on here about "FIRE OF FIVE HEARTS" and she said that the author, holly smith, had no place to write it because she had never been incested. But just because she has never been incested doesnt mean she cant help people with it. Do people who help depression need to be depressed? or do people who treat alcoholism need to be alcoholics? absolutley not. Therefore, i think its a wonderful book to read, and it will open your eyes to a part of the world you will never know. And for Holly Smith, keep writing your books, because people out there need you to survive.

Fire of the Five Hearts

I am a social worker, treating families who have experienced incest of some kind or another. I read Ms. Smith's book and found it to be an amazing account of what most, if not all of us have experienced at one time or another in our careers. She dares to say what we all may think and feel, but are never allowed to utter. The topic of incest and the pain of others is not something one tends to discuss at cocktail parties or our children's sporting events. The mere mention of incest often sends people into a panic and certainly is not conducive of casual conversation. However, incest is real and it does exist among us. We can choose to be afraid of the topic or embrace it, wrestle with it and come out on the other side knowing that we have dared to walk where few others will venture. As for Ms. Smith not being a survivor, thereby unable to accurately write about her treatment of incest, it is my experience that being an incest survivor is not an essential criteria for treating and healing patients. If that were true, therapists, treatment providers and caseworkers would need to have all experienced a myriad of maladies to faciliate healing. Being a survivor does not make one an expert in the art of healing. Being open to possibilities, learning, listening and delivering hope are the essential ingredients needed in my opinion. I would recommend this book to anyone who is not afraid to look at what others feel must be hidden. It is a courageous account that should not be ignored. Read the book and find out for yourself.
Copyright © 2022 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Personal Information | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured