April 7 program on Emotional Abuse

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Paula WheelerPhone: 610-639-2857

Program Examines Dictators and Their Domination

April 1, 2003, PHILADELPHIA, Pa.- As the world political climate continues to heat up, a program at the Free Library of Philadelphia will examine how dictators develop and are able to gain power over the realms they control.

At 6:30 p.m. on Monday, April 7, a program led by local marriage and family therapist and author SaraKay Smullens will explore the effects of emotional abuse on society. A panel of noted experts from academia, the media and the social service sector will draw from their work experience to discuss Smullens’ theories concerning emotional abuse. The program will be held in the auditorium of the Free Library, 1901 Vine Street.

Smullens defines the perpetuating cycles of emotional abuse and illustrates how these cycles invade all aspects of family, love, friendship and work in her latest book, Setting YourSelf Free: Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Abuse in Family, Friendships, Work and Love. The book describes how these cycles destroy communities and societies, making life perilous for the entire world. “Tyrants and dictators are bred, not born,” Smullens said. “A true leader of a family, work setting, community or society leads through calm, rational, thoughtful, studied explanation and an awareness of the pain and loss involved in some necessary decisions. Leaders confer with others, knowledge is shared and opinions are open to revision on both sides.”

Emotional abuse causes both victims and dictators, Smullens points out. Victims in a familiar and repetitive cycle or setting often do not realize the domination imposed on them. They want to make the situation better, but cannot, because the power source they choose will not let this happen. This dynamic occurs in family, friendship, work settings, community, and society.

Smullens’ book is especially relevant in these days of political unrest when war is seemingly inevitable. Reviewers have called Setting YourSelf Free a “definitive work,” and “required reading” in understanding friends, family, co-workers and employees.Smullens worked for 20 years to collect data for Setting YourSelf Free. Her goal was to define the cycles of emotional abuse and how they invade all aspects of life, but she also wanted to show how these cycles destroy communities and societies, threatening world stability. Her life and work have taught her that emotional abuse is at the heart of physical and sexual violence, but can exist independently. It passes from generation to generation, intensifying in power, destroying love relationships, families, friendships, work settings and communities, with disastrous societal consequences. Panelists for the April 7 program include: John Timpane, Editor-Commentary Page, The Philadelphia Inquirer; Michael Schefer, Editor-Commentary Page, Philadelphia Daily News; Dom Giordano, Teacher and Radio Host; Frank P. Cervone, Esq., Executive Director, Support Center for Child Advocates; Richard J. Gelles, PhD, Dean-School of Social Work, University of Pennsylvania; Bonnie Strauss, Television Journalist/Documentary Film Maker; Betty Jean Wolfe, President, Urban Family Council; Mimi Rose, Esq. , School District Attorney & Former Chief Assistant DA; Carole Johnson, Executive Director-Women Organized Against Rape; and Moderator Mary Amoroso, Host, Real Life with Mary Amoroso, CN8.-30-