If you have been sexually abused, you are not alone. Most people who have gone through abuse don’t often speak of it, and few people are aware of how widespread the problem really is. The stigma and fear of talking about it makes it hard to reach out for help. You might not be sure if what happened to you “counts” as sexual abuse, so it’s important to know that there are many ways to be hurt sexually. Everything from rape and sexual assault, to harassment in the workplace or anywhere else. People can be hurt by being groped on a subway, or by being kissed inappropriately by a friend or acquaintance.
If it happened when you were a child, you were even more vulnerable to being hurt. Maybe you experienced incest or were molested, or you were taken advantage of when you were too young to have given meaningful consent.
Having been abused, you know that the pain of sexual abuse is different than other kinds of harm people inflict on each other. It feels different. It hurts different. It has a different meaning. It is more misunderstood. It is a lonelier trauma to go through.
Your sexuality is a deeply personal, private, and even spiritual part of who you are. Sexual abuse hurts you in a deeply personal, private, and spiritual way. It can feel like you have been hurt in the core of who you are. If you were a child when it happened, your innocence was stolen from you.
You are a unique person, and sexual trauma effects people differently. Sexual trauma can cause a variety of common symptoms including:
- Overwhelming emotions like anger, guilt, fear, shame, or depression.
- Anxiety, phobias, or panic attacks, sometimes triggered by specific people, places, or memories.
- Flashbacks, nightmares, and insomnia.
- Relationship problems, family conflicts, or problems trusting others.
- Difficulties with intimacy, love, and sex.
- Unhealthy behaviors like addictions, self-harm, or self-endangering.
- Periods of dissociation including blacking out, foggy memories, or blocked ability to feel anything about the abuse.
There is hope – Sexual Abuse Therapy can help you heal.
You need to know that you are not alone. Sexual abuse therapy has helped thousands of people just like you heal and go on to live happy and meaningful lives. In sexual abuse therapy you will learn to face the reality of your past trauma without getting stuck in it. You will be able to reduce or eliminate your symptoms of trauma. Survivors of sexual abuse and sexual trauma struggle to feel whole and to feel that they are so much more than their abuse. Sexual abuse therapy will help you develop your inner resilience, reclaim your personal power and uncover and embrace your authentic self. The memories and intense feelings of victimization can keep you stuck in a cycle of shame and loneliness, mistrust and helplessness. Developing a safe relationship with a therapist in which you can feel heard, understood and validated, will help you break free from the tyranny of this cycle, so you can connect to the sense of yourself that cannot be changed by what happened to you. Your true self.
Deciding to go for Sexual Abuse Therapy
It can be scary to reach out for help and overwhelming to look back at what happened to you with a therapist. Just by researching and learning about therapy you are taking a courageous first step. When you went through the abuse, you were alone in your pain. Most people would be afraid. In sexual abuse therapy you will have the support of a caring and accepting therapist, committed to helping you tell your story and being with you each step of the way.
I will make sure that you understand that safety is an important factor in each of your sessions. Therapy is a process that will take time. We will start by finding ways together for you to feel some control over the process and timing of how you share and express your memories. You will need to learn skills to cope with the intense feelings the memories bring up. We will work together to find the right pace for you to share your memories as you start to feel safer and more supported.
Even if you feel ready to talk about your trauma from the get-go, we will need to make sure that you have adequate supports in place before you do. That might be a list of coping skills you can use if you feel triggered during sessions (or after them), and a network of family, friends, and outside resources you can reach out to for help in moments of crisis. I will also structure sessions in ways that protect you in moments when you get overwhelmed. This will help you pace yourself in recounting your memories of abuse and your feelings about it. Having a safe place to find your voice, will teach you to trust yourself as you get in touch with your inner strength. Together we will discover a path that is right for you to express and share your feelings, and I will listen with respect and compassion.
Sexual abuse therapy will help you understand and come to terms with your complicated feelings. You will find answers to questions that confuse you, and you will develop a narrative life story that makes some sense of what happened to you and how you have survived. You will learn to understand how your symptoms developed and find new alternative ways of dealing with the trauma, helping you alleviate your symptoms. Gaining perspective will allow you to free yourself from feelings of guilt, self-blame, or shame you may be carrying about the sexual abuse. Many survivors are then able to find meaning in what they went through and in surviving and overcoming what happened to them. Integrating the trauma you suffered into the bigger story of your life will break the hold it has on you and how you feel about yourself. This can help you heal the deep spiritual pain the abuse can cause. You will begin to imagine a future in which your trauma doesn’t define you or dictate the choices you make moving forward, freeing you to grow and find the love and happiness you strive for.
Heal and thrive in sexual abuse therapy
You cannot change the terrible thing that happened to you. Sexual abuse treatment will empower you by helping you discover and develop your own inner resources to create safety security love and happiness in your life. What was taken from you is not what you are. You are so much more. In sexual abuse therapy, you will discover and develop your own inner resources to create safety, security, love and happiness in your life.
You went through the abuse alone. With sexual abuse treatment you do not have to go through recovery alone. Call now to schedule an appointment. If you want to find out more about the process or about how I work, I offer a free telephone consultation to answer any questions you may have.
Reading this page was a step towards reaching out for help in your healing. Take the next step and call now.