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Joining Forces: Empowering male Survivors to Thrive Hardcover – November 5, 2012

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Joining Forces: Empowering male Survivors to Thrive + Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse + Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse
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Editorial Reviews


“As a co-founder of MaleSurvivor and the co-chair of our Weekends of Recovery program, Dr. Fradkin has helped thousands of survivors of sexual abuse put their lives back together. His skill, compassion, and generosity are evident from the very first words of this book. I am both a survivor of sexual abuse and alumnus of the MaleSurvivor Weekends of Recovery, and I can bear witness to the transformative impact of the wisdom contained within this book. Every year, millions of survivors and their loved ones find help for healing through our website and the practices Dr. Fradkin helped put into place. I highly recommend this book to every survivor of sexual abuse and those people who love, care for, or wish to help support them.” 

Christopher M. Anderson, Executive Director, MaleSurvivor (

“Thoughtful . . . thorough . . . a must-read for men who may have had an unwanted or abusive sexual experience in childhood or adulthood and for the people who love those men. Howard Fradkin’s book will be ‘top shelf’ in our lending library.”
Steve LePore, Founder and Executive Director, 1in6 (

“For many years Dr. Howard Fradkin has inspired male survivors of sexual abuse to affirm themselves and move beyond the prisons of their childhood trauma. The Weekends of Recovery program he instituted through MaleSurvivor: The National Organization Against Male Sexual Victimization has brought together men from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences and taught them to help one another heal. Now he has written a book that will bring his wisdom to a much larger audience. Men who read it will find their inner strengths through exercises, storytelling, and a range of empowering affirmations. It will inspire survivors to heal and move on in their lives. His book is a gift to all traumatized men.”
Richard B. Gartner, Ph.D., Training and Supervising Analyst, Faculty, and Founding Director of Sexual Abuse Service and William Alanson White Institute for Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis, and Psychology, New York City; author of Beyond Betrayal: Taking Charge of Your Life after Boyhood Sexual Abuse and Betrayed as Boys: Psychodynamic Treatment of Sexually Abused Men (

“Howard Fradkin is a leader in recovery for male survivors, personally and professionally. From his extensive experience, he has created a recovery workbook that is a positive contribution to the growing body of literature on male sexual victimization and recovery. In an encouraging and affirming tone, Joining Forces offers specific exercises and suggestions of healing activities. Like his workshop leadership, this book will be of great benefit to many men in recovery and those who love them.”
Mike Lew, author of Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse

Joining Forces is a shout-out for those who identify as survivors, for men who wonder about what was done to them and have had no name for it, and for all who love and support them. Dr. Fradkin provides in his writing what he does so beautifully in his life and work: He creates a healing space for men to understand their experience and to remember who they really were from the beginning. Joining Forces not only illuminates one’s particular perceptions of what it means to be a male survivor of sexual abuse, but also provides story after inspiring story of men and their partners: their personal struggles, their inevitable challenges, and their incredible triumphs. It is a powerful template for reclaiming what is most essential to any survivor—being a strong, sensitive man who is capable of connecting with himself and others. In so doing, Joining Forces will challenge those who read it to take the risk to live more honestly, with greater freedom, integrity, and joy. It is a tremendous gift and an invaluable resource to all of us.”

Mikele Rauch, LMFT, author of Healing the Soul after Religious Abuse: The Dark Heaven of Recovery

“The combination of Dr. Fradkin’s years of clinical experience and the personal recoveries of the men and women with whom he collaborated makes for a powerful resource. It provides male survivors and their loved ones with straightforward, practical guidance and inspires hope.

 — Mic Hunter, Psy.D., licensed psychologist and licensed marriage and family therapist, and author of Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse and Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military

“Howard Fradkin has written a practical and useful guide for the healing of male survivors. His compassionate work is not just another book of survivors’ stories or a technical explanation of the process of victimization, but it also incorporates exercises that survivors can use to begin the road to recovery as well as grow to become ‘thrivers.’

“As the mental-health expert on the groundbreaking Oprah Winfrey show that featured 200 male survivors, Dr. Fradkin helped explain the effects of victimization to an audience perhaps unfamiliar with this all-too-common experience that affects one in six men. In leading dozens of healing retreats for men, Dr. Fradkin has the understanding born of decades of practice. He has a clear knowledge of the dynamics and issues for survivors, and provides exercises for men to use in a clear and functional way. 

 “I like this book, and it is a valuable addition to the shelf of any male survivor, loved one, or professional working with this population.”

Ken Singer, MSW, author of Evicting the Perpetrator: A Male Survivor Guide to Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse

“The title of Howard Fradkin’s book, Joining Forces: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive, captures the essence of the healing process for males with a history of trauma: breaking isolation and silence, establishing connection with others, working through shame and developing personal empowerment, and resolving the past in the interest of the future. The use of survivor testimonials is highly effective. The writings of the Silence Breakers are both moving and explanatory; they articulate the struggle but also the gains made in the process of healing. Although this book was written specifically for male survivors to identify their particular issues and needs, female survivors will benefit from it as well. I highly recommend this book for all adult survivors.”

Christine A. Courtois, Ph.D., ABPP, psychologist in private practice, Courtois & Associates, PC, Washington, D.C.; author of Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy (revised edition) and Recollections of Sexual Abuse: Treatment Principles and Guidelines; and co-editor (with Julian Ford) of Treating Complex Traumatic Stress Disorder: An Evidence-Based Guide

“By blending practical clinical experience with the voices of male survivors, Dr. Fradkin has written a supportive and inspirational book. Joining Forces is a timely, hands-on guide for men who seek to heal from sexual victimization. This book articulates and celebrates the amazing resilience of men who are successfully healing from sexual trauma.”

(- Jim Struve, LCSW, co-chair, MaleSurvivor Weekends of Recovery; co-author (with)

“In Joining Forces: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive, Dr. Howard Fradkin has compassionately and clearly outlined how sexually abused men can move forward to heal. Filled with Dr. Fradkin’s wise and insightful guidance and personal stories from Silence Breakers, Joining Forces takes readers on a gentle and reflective journey, moving them from the trauma of their abuse to the power of thriving. This book will be a welcome relief for male survivors who are overwhelmed by their abuse and for professionals who need a clear account of the survivors’ struggles.”
(- Kenneth M. Adams, Ph.D., CSAT, author of Silently Seduced: When Parents Make T)

“Dr. Fradkin’s book is an intensely engaging and practical guide to recovery from sexual abuse and assault. But it is so much more than that. It is a heartfelt and genuinely warm invitation to join a community of human beings who are embracing both the real pain of their wounds and the real hope that comes from breaking through isolation, stepping forward on a path toward openness and connection, joining a common cause, and becoming part of a community built on connection and inspired by hope. It is a book that belongs in your backpack as you set off on your journey.”

(- David Lisak, Ph.D., Forensic Consulting, Boston, Massachusetts)

“Dr. Howard Fradkin’s book, Joining Forces, is a treasure chest overflowing with gems for adult survivors of child sexual abuse who are seeking support to begin and continue the healing process, and for those who are ready to reclaim their lives and thrive. The book, based on the powerful and effective structure of MaleSurvivor’s successful Weekends of Recovery, is actually an adventure for those who want solid and effective tools for healing—not something to fear or dread, as in facing a long-winded, painful process of recovery. Uplifting in a step-by-step way, this book is a golden toolbox of self-reflective and transformative exercises that naturally help garner positive insights and options for realistic and possible change—change that no doubt challenges the seemingly impossible effects of child sexual abuse. 

 “This is more than a book; it’s a journey, with a clear sense that we are not alone. Included are personal stories of alumni from the Weekends of Recovery, known in the book as the Silence Breakers. Their honest and vivid stories of personal transformation and reclaimed lives are testimony to the possibilities that open up when one does the important healing work offered in this book. Moreover, as in any hero’s journey, there’s always a guide to help them on their way. Howard Fradkin, a pioneer and leader in this field, offers his wise and safe counsel, giving thousands of survivors the keys to possibilities ahead. We get the sense that he is one step ahead of us, opening the door to each chapter, where he stands at the threshold, shepherding each reader to a room where sunlight and hope reigns, and ‘Daring to Dream’ becomes a reality step-by-step.”
(- Kathy Barbini and Simon Weinberg, founders of Big Voice Pictures and producers)

About the Author

      Howard Fradkin received his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology in 1980 from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and has been licensed as a psychologist in Ohio since 1982. Dr. Fradkin co-founded Affirmations: A Center for Psychotherapy and Growth in 1984, a private multidisciplinary practice in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Fradkin has counseled more than 1,000 male survivors as individuals, as couples, and in group psychotherapy and weekend workshops over the course of his 30-year career. He was one of the co-founders of the National Organization On Male Sexual Victimization (now known as MaleSurvivor), and has served as an Advisory Board member for MaleSurvivor since 2001.

      In 2001, Dr. Fradkin became the Chairperson of the MaleSurvivor Weekends of Recovery program. In this role, he had the primary responsibility for developing and implementing the weekend experience, supervising staff, and having primary responsibility for overseeing the emotional experiences of all of the male survivors (and sometimes their partners) who participated in the weekend. In 2010, due to the success and growth of the program, it became necessary to share responsibilities for the program, and since that time, he has served as Co-Chairperson.

      Dr. Fradkin has directed 39 Weekends of Recovery since 2001. His expertise was recognized by Oprah Winfrey when she invited him to be her professional guest for two shows, “200 Men” in 2010, focusing on healing for male survivors of sexual abuse. As a male survivor himself, he has learned firsthand about the struggles inherent in achieving recovery, and is able to offer significant hope and encouragement to empower men to thrive in many aspects of their lives.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Hay House (November 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401941346
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401941345
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #358,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Howard Fradkin, Ph.D., LICDC has counseled over 1000 male survivors in individual, couples, group psychotherapy and weekend workshops over the course of his 30 year career as a Psychologist. As Co-Chairperson of the MaleSurvivor Weekends of Recovery, ( Howard has directed 40 Weekends of Recovery since 2001 for over 850 men. MaleSurvivor sponsors 7 weekends per year for men at all stages of recovery, and also has a vibrant website full of information and resources for survivors and their families. Dr. Fradkin has also trained hundreds of professional colleagues on the topic of male survivors of sexual abuse.
Dr. Fradkin was invited and honored to speak as an expert on Oprah Winfrey's historic two shows featuring 200 male survivors gathered together to offer hope and inspiration for the millions of survivors around the world in October, 2010.
Since then, he has also appeared on Dr. Phil, Gayle King, NPR, and various local media stations. He co-trained the Penn State Counseling Services staff in April, 2012, and has led public awareness seminars on male survivors at State College and all over Ohio.
Dr. Fradkin is the co-founder of Affirmations: A Center for Psychotherapy and Growth, in Columbus, OH. His expertise includes trauma recovery for men and women survivors, those struggling with depression and anxiety, alcoholism, drug addiction and sex addiction, sexual orientation confusion and acceptance, people with HIV and AIDS, and group psychotherapy.
Dr. Fradkin was one of the founding board members of MaleSurvivor, and currently serves as an Advisory Board Member. In 2010, Dr. Fradkin delivered the keynote address at the International MaleSurvivor Conference in New York City. He also served as President of MaleSurvivor and served on the Board of Directors for 6 years prior to developing the Weekends of Recovery program. He is the recipient along with the MaleSurvivor Weekends of Recovery Facilitator team of the Faye Honey Knopp award by MaleSurvivor, the highest award given to recognize outstanding service in the field.
Joining Forces: Empowering Male Survivors to Thrive is his first book, and he is excited to share his wisdom, the wisdom of the alumni of the Weekends, and our facilitator team, for all survivors, their allies, families and the healing community.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Louis Castelli on September 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a survivor, I have read many books over the years on this topic. I have always felt Mike Lew's books were the best for those beginning their journey in recovery. I now believe this would be the book to start with, then on to Mike's! This book, with survivor stories told through "Silence Breakers" is compelling and highlights in a sensitive way, the need for one to break the silence if you want to move forward, to thrive. Then the use of his "Red, Yellow and Green Light" philosophy on how to break your silence and, more importantly, to who, gives survivors a path to follow as they begin their journey. Sensitive and emotional and, without overwhelming you, his book will draw you into the mind and feelings of a survivor like none other I have read. There are many great books on this subject but none better to begin with. Peace to all on their journey, dare to thrive!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Christine H. McCoy on August 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have met Howard Fradkin in personal Therapy a number of years ago. I will carry him with me always as he taught me so much. This book for me today is like a breath of fresh air, the window looking over the ocean with the curtains blowing in the breeze! It's just what the doctor ordered for my soul to carry on with healing. I was once told, "it's important to take care of our mind", it opens up our soul and helps our spirit soar. This book helps me today in every healthy way. The new word for me to learn and put into practice is "Thrive". Ahhhh, the missing piece for me. So reading this book is heaven sent, and it's like being right there with Howard in person the way he writes it. Thank God for people like Howard whom pay it forward with such integrity. Today I am grateful I sought out this book, it is enhancing my life already and I'm not even finished. My husband is participating in some of the suggested readings and exercises. IT JUST DOESN'T GET BETTER THAN THIS......A MUST READ! HAPPY WITH MY PURCHASE ! I had purchased two, and so glad I did. Giving this book as a gift to someone I care about. GREAT BOOKFIND!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Christopher R Allen on December 15, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A supportive and informative book that allows anyone, especially focused on males, dealing with the pain of being sexually traumatized. Offers experiences from men survivors, their partners, their significant others and how they've begun to thrive after doing so much hard work to get their lives back.
This book is for survivors, their loved ones, and anyone wanting to understand what happens when someone is abused, either as a child or an adult.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By LaSonya Thompson, Esq. on May 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Fradkin shares an abundant treasure chest of his knowledge and experience on healing and breakthrough for male survivors. He offers a wider perspective for loved ones, spouses and support systems to reflect upon. Joint counseling, communication about physical intimacy, and enduring patience particularly resonated with me. Consider this book as a hopeful reference guide.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Doug on April 6, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the most helpful book that I have found on the subject of male sexual abuse. It was well-written and easily read, but at the same time, it will stir the depths of ones heart, especially if the reader is a sex abuse victim. The book is written in a language that is easy to understand and provides helpful activities at the end of each chapter. The book was written with such compassion and desire to help all victims, especially men who were victimized as a child, teenager, or even as an adult, that it is obvious that Dr. Fradkin is writing from the heart and this is a ministry to him. Also, the chapter for love ones and support people of victims will help a victim's support team understand more about the male victim than previously known. I would say this book is a MUST READ for all male sex abuse victims and would probably be of help for female victims as well. This book gives hope for all male sex abuse victims.
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Format: Hardcover
I got this book hoping it would open up a discussion with two male family members who had been sexually abused by different men, when the family members were boys. Both men were having problems with anger that were ruining their home lives and relationships with their wives and children. We all three read the book together and discussed what the author wrote as it pertained to the two family members. Both men found it very helpful and I learned a great deal about their childhoods that helped me be more understanding when they became angry about things that I didn't think were worth getting that angry about. Both have now sought psychological help, and are working with their families toward healing and understanding. I recommend friends and family of victims as well as the victims read the book. Talking out the problems together I also found helpful.
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