Are You Struggling to Overcome the Pain of Childhood Sexual Abuse?
Were you sexually abused as a child and find yourself overwhelmed by shame, sadness and fear? Do you have frequent nightmares? Do you dread being reminded of your abuse? Are you unable to form trusting, healthy relationships with others? Perhaps you have seen therapists, tried self-help books, but nothing works. Or, maybe you haven’t fully considered the ways in which your trauma has manifested in or affected your life, but know that something is not right. Do you wish you could just feel good and in control and live a balanced, fulfilling life?
The impact of childhood sexual abuse can have lasting effects, and is frequently the underlying cause of anxiety, depression, addiction and other compulsive behavior. You may continually have difficulties in relationships by being a people pleaser or by isolating yourself because you don’t feel deserving of love. If you blame yourself for the abuse, consistently feel down and unable to trust others, we encourage you to take the step toward care and treatment. Although it can be difficult to understand how challenging feelings relate to your trauma, therapy for sexual abuse can help you can learn how your experiences influence who you are and how you function.
You Are Among Many Survivors of Sexual Trauma
If you experienced sexual abuse, you are not alone. The United States Department of Justice reports that nearly 18 percent of women in the United States have been raped during their lifetime and that 35.8 percent of all sexual assaults occur when the victim is between the ages of 12 and 17. Sexual abuse often goes unreported (only 30 percent of sexual assault cases are reported to authorities) because this can be an extremely painful topic to address. Many families and friends refuse to discuss the issue and may even shame the victim. If you were abused during childhood, you likely didn’t receive the support and help you needed then. It’s also likely that the aftereffects of your trauma have manifested as unhealthy patterns in adulthood.
Talking about trauma can be incredibly painful, but speaking with someone who believes you and wants to know and support you can help you understand the meanings tied to your trauma, regulate emotions and help strengthen your relationship with yourself and others.
Childhood Sexual Abuse Therapy Can Help You Understand the Impact of Your Trauma and Move Forward
Walking through the door to receive therapy demonstrates strength and resiliency. As the therapy relationship develops, trust increasingly emerges. Together, we can explore the meanings tied to your trauma and process how it affects your ability to function in the world and how you see yourself.
In therapy, we will focus on your relationship with yourself and others, managing your emotions, and exploring the meanings tied to your trauma. You will begin to learn what an abusive relationship looks like, and how to set and maintain healthy boundaries. Because abuse is often characterized by a lack of boundaries, in the beginning we will establish boundaries so that you can begin to feel safe.
It’s very common for people with a history of childhood sexual abuse to engage in unhealthy behavior, such as substance abuse, eating disorders, and other self-injurious patterns. In therapy, you will learn how these behaviors serve as protective strategies and how you can manage and overcome them moving forward. We can also explore the meanings attached to your experience, such as your identity—how you see yourself and how you believe others see you.
This work is multi-layered and complex. People who were victimized as children are often also victimized as adults. Core Psychotherapy Center has experienced and knowledgeable therapists who work with survivors of sexual and physical abuse, neglect, sexual assault, domestic violence, sex trafficking, and torture. Over time with collaborative work, you can begin to trust and heal.
Although you may see the benefits of childhood sexual abuse therapy, you may still have questions and concerns…
I am afraid that revisiting this topic will cause me to fall apart.
Talking about abuse so painful that it can be very difficult to deal, but together we will develop coping mechanisms. Your narrative will be met with empathetic understanding. There will be times when you’ll be overwhelmed in session, but you’ll increasingly learn how to effectively manage. You may leave the session someday thinking that you won’t be able to return, but we will do our best to find ways to move forward.
How will I alleviate the painful effects of talking about my abuse?
This work is often long-term, and at first you may feel like you need something to numb the anticipated emotions such as shame or fear. In sessions we will explore responses and you will increasingly learn how to manage.
I tried therapy in the past and it didn’t help. How would working with you be different?
Many of our patients are referred to us by other therapists. If you’ve seen other therapists in the past, we will discuss why and how the relationship ended—what worked and didn’t work—as we begin to move forward. Know that continuing to seek help shows strength.
Therapy for Sexual Abuse Survivors Can Help You Cope and Heal
If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, we invite you to call 847-240-5080 to make an appointment. We offer individual therapy and also run a group for women survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Call to learn more about therapy to address childhood sexual abuse and Core Psychotherapy Center’s services.