Film: The Tale

Clinical Title: From a Fairy Tale Past to a Disturbing Present: A Survivor Confronts the Truth Of Her Childhood Sexual Abuse

Presenters: Shari Botwin, LCSW and Joan F. Pollak, LCSW

Date: Saturday, January 12, 2019
(Inclement weather date, Saturday, February 2, 2019)
Time: 1 pm -5 pm | 2 CE's
Location: Elkins Park, PA
(Exact location will be emailed to you once you RSVP.)

The film "The Tale", which was presented by HBO in August of 2018, is directed by Philadelphia native Jennifer Fox. It is based on Jennifer's true story of being molested by a male coach enabled by his female assistant. In the film Jennifer, a journalist, is called by her mother after discovering an old story of Jennifer's written in childhood which describes her relationship with a predatory coach and his assistant in the guise of a fairy tale romance. Jennifer's mother insists that she investigate the truth of her abuse, precipitating Jennifer to face her fragmented memories, interview those present at the time of the molestation, reevaulate past and present relationships, and ultimately confront her abuser.

The film depicts specific examples of how abusers groom a vulnerable child, and embed themselves as "love objects" in the child's psyche. It exposes how enablers aid in perpetuating abuse, and how denial in the child's family creates further dissociation. The film demonstrates how children survive traumatic experiences that have no meaningful context in their lives, and how decades later as adults they begin to put together and confront undigested memories of such experiences.

Following the two-hour showing the film, and a 15 minute break, the presenters will lead a discussion focusing on the clinical objectives. The presenters will help attendees process their feelings about this powerful story and apply lessons of the film to their clinical work with abuse survivors. They will create a safe, contained environment to discuss topics that may be triggering for some of the attendees.

Rationale for Presentation: Social Workers working with clients from all socioeconomic, cultural, and gender variant backgrounds will encounter survivors of sexual abuse who have been exposed to the grooming behaviors of a sexual predator, and the enabling and denial of significant others. This program will enhance understanding of the internal experience of survivors of abuse.


  1. Attendees will be able to identify at least three patterns of grooming during sexual molestation.
  2. Attendees will be able to name at least three ways people aware of abuse enable the abuser.
  3. Attendees will discuss the process of creating a "trauma bond" between victim and abuser, in which the abuser becomes a "love object" for a child victim.
  4. Attendees will discuss when or if it is appropriate for a victim to confront an abuser, and when or if confrontation is helpful to therapeutic growth.

Trigger Warning: This movie includes graphic scenes of the sexual abuse of a child.

About the Presenters:
Shari Botwin, LCSW graduated with her Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University in 1996. For over twenty years she has been providing individual, group and family therapy with a specialization in treating trauma, abuse, eating disorders, depression and anxiety. During the last year Shari has presented keynote presentations for Monte Nido and The International Association of Eating Disorder Professionals on the role of an eating disorder in staying stuck in trauma and abuse. She is a freelance writer for Authority Magazine and covers breaking stories related to sexual assault and childhood abuse. Shari has been interviewed by numerous media outlets and published feature opinion articles after attending both Cosby trials. Shari is under contract with Rowman and Littlefield publishers for her second book, Full Lives: Thriving After Trauma. (Release date fall 2019).

Joan F. Pollak, LCSW graduated from the Columbia University School of Social Work in 1977. She has a private practice in Wynnewood, Pa., where she specializes in treating survivors of sexual abuse and complex trauma and consulting on these issues. Her clinical experience encompasses work with individuals diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder; survivors of sex trafficking and organized abuse, and survivors of clerical abuse. Joan is a member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation. She is a past president of PSCSW, and a frequent presenter at PSCSW continuing education programs on topics related to trauma.

Participants who attend this program must be present for its entirety in order to get the continuing education credits.

Cancellation Policy:
PSCSW Members: There is a $5 non refundable administrative fee for any cancellation up to 48 hours prior to this program.
No refund will be issued if less than 48 hours notice is given for this program.

This program is presented and hosted by PSCSW members. Both the presenter and host put a lot of time and preparation to make sure that attendees are receiving a wonderful program and feel welcome at the program. Just as in your professional life when someone cancels last minute, it has an impact on you. Please be cognizant of this when you register for this program.

Continuing Education Credits:
FOR PENNSYLVANIA SOCIAL WORKERS, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS, AND PROFESSIONAL COUNSELORS: This program is approved for credits for professional workshops sponsored by the Pennsylvania Society for Clinical Social Work, a state affiliate of the Clinical Social Work Association listed in Section 47.36 of Title 49, Chapter 47 of the PA Code, State Board of Social Work Examiners. This program is also approved for credits for professional workshops for marriage & family therapists (Section 48.36) and professional counselors (Section 49.36).
FOR NEW JERSEY SOCIAL WORKERS: This program is approved for clinical credits. Attendance at programs or courses given at state and national social work association conferences, where the criteria for membership is an academic degree in social work, are a valid source of continuing education credit (N.J.A.C. 13:44G-6.4(c)4).

PSCSW Members - Before you begin any registration, you must log in to the website to pay the member rate. If you register without logging in, you will pay at the nonmember rate. If you need assistance logging in, please contact the PSCSW office at:

  • January 12, 2019
    1:00 pm - 5:00 pm