Are You Struggling With The Pain Of Sexual Trauma?
Has sexual violence disrupted your ability to feel confident, safe and like yourself? Do you consistently feel down or blame yourself for what happened? Are there places you now avoid because they remind you too much of your assault? Are you struggling to trust everyone around you, including those closest to you and perhaps even yourself? Maybe you wish you could find a way to move on, but steady cycles of flashbacks, fear, depression or anxiety torment you. Do you wish you could process what happened, regain your sense of self, honor your inherent strength and resilience and feel whole again?
The impact of sexual assault has lasting effects. Feelings, sensations and memories about what happened may continue to test and disturb your ability to feel balanced and impactful in your work and relationships. You may go through your day feeling fearful and unsafe in your surroundings. You may also be experiencing feelings of isolation, helplessness and hopelessness and like nothing you do makes a difference. Perhaps you feel like what happened is somehow your fault and/or that it now defines who you are. It’s important to understand that while these thoughts and feelings are common, the sexual assault was not your fault, and it does not have to define who you are.
You Are Among Many Survivors Of Sexual Assault
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, you are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that nearly one in four women and one in six men in the United States experience sexual assault during their lifetime. Because perpetrators are usually acquaintances, reporting assaults can be incredibly difficult, which is why only 30 percent of sexual assault cases are reported to authorities.
The media still generalizes masculinity with qualities like dominance and coercion and femininity with qualities like submissiveness and frailty. When these stereotypes play out in real life, the perpetuation of them through the media can have dangerous effects. A lot of popular movies, TV shows and music lyrics suggest that pushing someone beyond their comfort zone is exciting rather than injurious. There’s also an education gap between the media and schools. Most people are not taught how to talk about sexual assault – what it is, who it can happen to and where to find help. There is often a lack of empathy regarding sexual assault victims and rape often becomes the punch line of a joke. When people are not aware of the severity of this problem or can’t imagine it actually happening, they tend to blame the victim. If this is something you’re struggling with, it’s not your fault and help is available. With the help of an experienced, compassionate therapist, you can work through trauma and experience the safety and empowerment needed to heal.
Sexual Assault Counseling Can Help You Find Relief, Healing And An Empowered Path Forward
No one is born knowing how to deal with unexpected trauma, especially sexual violence, and therapy offers that education. Sexual assault counseling can help you better understand trauma and managing overwhelming feelings of fear and pain so that you can get through each day with more sureness and ease. In sessions, you can learn how the brain processes trauma and the ways in which trauma can impact your mind, body and spirit. We will practice relaxation techniques that you can use when you experience flashbacks, panic attacks or consistent sadness or dread. You can also learn to re-contextualize your memories so that you can focus on the present moment and continue to move forward.
We provide a safe, empathetic, open environment for you to explore and reconnect with the strength and resilience that was taken away during the assault. We will work collaboratively to establish healthy boundaries and move a pace that is comfortable for you. We will meet you where you are emotionally. Ultimately, you will decide how you want to heal and grow from your trauma, and we have the experience and education to support you through that process.
Our trauma therapists are experienced in working with survivors of sexual assault. For instance, Becky Carter have 15 years of experience working with a variety of different populations, including individual adults, college students, high school students and families, and working with trauma has been her primary focus of continuing education and advanced training. Our therapists have completed specialized training in sexual assault crises, dissociation and grief. I persistently advocate for sexual assault prevention programs in high schools, colleges and summer camps.
We know from years of experience that healing is possible. If you are willing to engage in the therapeutic process and build a safe and trusting relationship with me, it is possible to process what happened, learn healthy ways to cope and build the resiliency needed to move forward. Therapy can help lead you in many positive directions. We hold hope for in your ability to heal, and we can provide the support and guidance to help get you there.
Although you may understand the benefits of sexual assault counseling, you may still have some questions or concerns.
I doubt that therapy will help me.
It is very common for survivors of sexual assault to resist opening up about trauma and seeking out help. Your injury happened in the context of a relationship, so we understand why you’re distrusting of starting another relationship even though it could be helpful. Risking new relationships of any kind can be very scary, and processing fear will be a large part of our work.
We do wonder if you ever tried therapy before. If not, we encourage you to at least give it a try and see. The pace and topics of our sessions will be directed by you. It’s about telling your story so that we can create goals specific to what you want and collaboratively work toward reaching them.
Why should I trust you or anyone else?
Given what you’ve been through, there’s no reason you should trust anyone else. However, our experienced therapists have the sensitivity and training to address what you’ve been through. We move at your pace, and over time, you can learn what to expect in session and how to reestablish trust and a sense of safety.
I tried therapy in the past and it didn’t work.
There are a number of reasons therapy may not have worked before, and we will try our best not to recreate your previous experience. Maybe you saw someone who didn’t have the proper training or experience to help you through these issues. Or, maybe the therapist you saw had all the right training, but the relationship just wasn’t the right fit and didn’t feel right. Healing is not possible unless we’re able to form a trusting relationship, and sometimes, we’re just not ready. Trauma work can be exhausting, overwhelming and scary, and it takes strength and readiness to seek help. If you’re ready to do this work, we want to hear your story and support you through the healing process.
Sexual Assault Counseling Can Help
If you are a survivor of sexual assault, please call 847-240-5080 to make an appointment. We offer individual therapy and facilitate a sexual assault survivors group for women, a sexual survivors group for men and a group for male survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Call to learn more about sexual assault therapy and Core Psychotherapy Center’s services.