The Trauma Beat – #5 – Jan Canty


“As a psychologist, author, and host of a podcast called Domino Effect of Murder, it goes without saying that Jan Canty knows a thing or two about trauma. But her expertise in the area of surviving traumatic events is also rooted in her own journey: In the 1980s, her husband, Alan Canty, was murdered.

Jan’s first contact with the media came when her husband was still considered missing, not murdered, when she reached out to a local Detroit radio station in an effort to find him. When Alan’s death was confirmed days later, the media attention exploded to a sensational level.

In this episode, Jan speaks with host Tamara Cherry about the long-lasting impact of that sensational media coverage. “It was more harmful than helpful,” she says.

Jan speaks of the fear the media invoked in her, and the frustration she felt from misinformation being reported. She recalls feeling exploited as she was faced with a television camera just moments after identifying her husband’s mutilated remains.

Jan discusses the impact of trauma on the brain, including how it can impact a survivor’s ability to tell their story. She also describes the impact of perpetrators being described in a “positive” light and how that can pressure otherwise reluctant survivors to speak publicly.

Jan Canty is the author of A Life Divided: A psychologist’s memoir about the double life and murder of her husband – and her road to recovery and What Now?: Navigating the Aftermath of Homicide & Suicide. Her podcast is Domino Effect of Murder.”