The House That Karen Built:

A True Story of Sex Abuse and Resiliency
by Karen McConnell with Eileen Brand

March 2005 | $19.95 | Hardcover | ISBN: 978-1-56980-283-0

The House That Karen Built is one woman’s shocking yet inspirational story of sexual abuse at the hands of her father and later, at the hands of her foster father. Despite the trauma and anguish Karen suffered as a teenager, she was able to overcome the abuse and endure much more—including a failed marriage, divorce, and life as a single mother—to come out on top and achieve what she calls “life success.” Karen’s story is not one of victimization. It is about preserving the human spirit in the face of trauma. She reveals the secrets of her own resiliency and that of the foster-care youth she has worked with, outlining seven powerful steps for the positive reframing of one’s thoughts, attitude, and actions. Karen’s indefatigable spirit and ability to approach life with a positive outlook guided her through tragedy, loss, and a struggle to success as a social worker counseling runaway, homeless, and abused youth. The highlight of Karen’s career as a social worker was when Tennessee Valley Family Services dedicated her home in Guntersville, Alabama, with a plaque declaring it “The House That Karen Built,” a safe haven for troubled youth. The House That Karen Built is rich with revealing case histories. As both a social worker and a victim of abuse herself, Karen brings an unusual perspective to the issues of sexual abuse, abandonment, and resiliency. Her story is intended to give those who have experienced similar trauma permission to revisit and confront their abuse and pain without shame or anger. Karen’s story is one of survival. She refused to remain a victim and now shares what she has learned as both a victim and a social worker with others who have suffered sexual abuse and with those who work with troubled youth, including social workers, foster and adoptive parents, school psychologists, and educators.

Karen McConnell

Karen McConnell earned a B.A. from the University of Toledo and her M.S.W. from the University of Alabama. She developed and coordinated a therapeutic foster-care program and was executive director of a community-based agency providing services for runaway and homeless youth. Eileen Brand was coeditor of Twenty Years of Rational Therapy. She authored articles for numerous newspapers and journals and worked as a book editor for many years.