If you are considering having counselling or psychotherapy for childhood abuse or trauma it is possible that you have never spoken to anyone about it before. Many people keep childhood abuse or trauma a secret and only take action to find support when the effects and consequences can no longer be ignored. Painful thoughts, memories or dreams can be ongoing, bringing about depression, low self-esteem and confidence. In order to try to block out the abuse or trauma, people sometimes turn to alcohol or drugs, self-harming or eating disorders to ‘cope’. Some people find difficulty in forming or maintaining intimate and/or trusting relationships in their adult lives. Often people need to talk through their thoughts and feelings in order to try to make some sense of what happened to them and to try to reduce the pain of the past. Sometimes, it is to consider making a decision about seeking justice or to safeguard others. Sometimes when people who have been abused earlier in life go on to have children themselves, it can bring back painful memories. Counselling can assist those who have been abused or traumatised by exploring how to incorporate these experiences into contemporary life in a more tolerable way.
The damaging effects of childhood sexual abuse can last for many years and in some cases can even get worse. It’s never too late to address these issues and to get help.
The long term emotional effects of childhood sexual abuse can include;
How psychotherapy can help
Psychotherapy can help you build on your feelings of self-worth and self-esteem; help you to acknowledge your emotions and feelings so that you do not feel so helpless and powerless any more. Acknowledging any feelings of anger towards others often leads the abused person to be more caring about themselves rather than continuing to punish themselves for something that was never their fault.
Psychotherapists can model a new way of relating by carefully and compassionately building a trusting relationship. Psychotherapy offers a safe time and place just for you, where your individuality is appreciated and together with your therapist you can develop your own sense of who you are – to feel, not like an object anymore but a whole person.