Sexual Abuse and Trauma Counseling – Are You Ready to Let Go of Past Pain and Live an Empowered, Connected Life?
Were you sexually abused as a child and find yourself struggling to let go of fears, process the trauma, and live a fulfilling life? Has a past or recent unwanted sexual encounter given rise to anxiety, depression, flashbacks, nightmares, or trust issues–impacting your ability to form healthy relationships? Perhaps you are confused about sex and intimacy and want to let go of shame, blame, and anger in order to engage in a healthy sexual relationship. Or, maybe you are struggling with attachment issues, especially if the person who abused you was someone who was supposed to take care of you. Do you struggle with low self-esteem, deflated confidence, or unexplained fears and anxiety? Have you turned to potentially harmful ways of coping to numb the pain, feel something different, or feel anything at all? Do you wish you could stop fearing intimacy and have a healthy, satisfying, emotional, and sexual relationship?
The impact of sexual trauma–including sexual abuse, incest, rape, and other unwanted sexual encounters–can last long after the threat has ended, and it is frequently the underlying cause of anxiety, depression, addiction, and other unhealthy compulsive behavior. You may be living life in a very limiting way. It may be extremely difficult for you to find love, engage in healthy sex, and trust others–and even yourself. And, if a member of the same sex assaulted you, you may struggle with questions concerning your sexual orientation. Regardless of the type of abuse you suffered or how long ago it occurred, feeling broken or damaged in some way is a common response. You may have wondered if the abuse was in some way your fault, which can significantly impact self-esteem and the ability to trust while creating questions about what healthy sex really is.
You Are Joined by Many Survivors of Sexual Abuse and Trauma
If you have experienced sexual abuse, you are not alone. Some studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18 and that there are 60 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse in the United States today. Other studies suggest that only 30% of sexual abuse is reported and that numbers may be three to four times higher than what most studies show. Sexual abuse often goes unreported and kept secret because it is an uncomfortable topic to address. Many families refuse to discuss the issue and even go so far as to scapegoat the victim. Most people who were abused as children did not receive support and help during childhood, and symptoms often emerge in adulthood. Many also keep the abuse they suffered a secret for decades, especially if they were afraid of the perpetrator or confused about the abuse.
The good news is that regardless of whether you were abused 15 days or 15 years ago, there is help and hope for healing. A skilled and compassionate therapist who specializes in sexual abuse and sexual trauma can help you rediscover your voice, work through difficult symptoms and find relief.
Sexual Abuse Counseling Through Somatic Experiencing (SE) Can Help You Heal and Move Forward
Counseling for sexual abuse and sexual trauma can be extremely effective. Often, having a safe space to name your experience and share your story can be empowering. By speaking openly, you can bring clarity and insights to how what happened in your past is playing out in your life today. Developing an awareness about your thinking and behaving in regards to relationships and sexuality can be a powerful experience. Once you understand and bring compassion to these patterns and what they stem from, making different choices becomes possible.
In a safe, non-judgmental, and compassionate sessions, we can help you regain your voice, bring awareness to your body, and make a lasting, healing shift. Naming your experience can be empowering, and in working together, you will realize that you are not alone. You can also begin to realize that you are not defined by your experience–it is something that happened to you and is not who you are. As you start to accept yourself and your history, you can shift your perspective about yourself and the trauma, and begin to heal.
While telling your story can be empowering, sexual abuse trauma happens to the body and must be released through the body. In sessions, we can use Somatic Experiencing (SE) to let your body tell your story and let go of the trauma. Somatic Experiencing (SE) is a way of working together in which we bring awareness to your body. This approach calls attention to the level of activation and deactivation of the nervous system, where trauma is stored, rather than solely focusing on the narrative or content of the story. We have worked with many clients who spent years in talk-based therapy without experiencing lasting relief. Using Somatic Experiencing (SE), however, survivors of sexual abuse are able increase their resiliency, expand their capacity to tolerate the experience, and integrate trauma in a positive way. Once the experience is integrated in a positive way, it loses its impact.
With the help of a supportive, compassionate Somatic Experiencing (SE) therapist and a mind-body approach, you can heal the wounds and effects of trauma. It is possible to experience life more fully, with a renewed ability to sexually and emotionally connect with a partner in ways that feel nourishing and positive. You can clear through your history, stop blaming yourself, feel more willing to connect meaningfully with others, and take healthy risks. Life can feel lighter. And while you may never forget your experience, you can come to peace with it, accept that it is part of your past, and move forward into a fulfilling and satisfying life.
Although you may see the benefits of sexual abuse counseling, you still may have questions or concerns about the process…
I am afraid that bringing memories to the surface will make the trauma feel really alive again.
In all honesty, the healing process can be painful, and embarking upon it is a brave thing to do. However, by going through your experience in a safe, very different way, you can finally process the trauma fully and have a corrective experience. We know from both personal and professional experience the power of this work. While it is not easy, it is effective and transformative. And, you are not alone in this. We will be there to support and guide you, meet you where you are emotionally and pace sessions based on your comfort level.
I have tried therapy in the past and it did not work. How will this be different?
If you tried therapy and saw no results, chances are you were engaged in therapy that was only talk-based. While talking can be empowering, trauma lives in the body and we believe no amount of talk-based therapy will provide lasting results. You need to have a somatic experience to discharge the trauma from the body.
I am afraid that nothing will help–even therapy. It feels like there is nothing out there that can help me feel whole again.
Your abuse is something that happened to you. It is not who you are. We firmly believe that we are all intrinsically healthy. And, although you may feel like you are beyond help now, wellness and the capacity for healing resides within you. Throughout our sessions, we can help you reconnect with that wellness and heal.
FROM THE BLOG
You can integrate trauma and live your life with greater ease. Healing is possible. We provide sexual abuse and trauma counseling in Broomfield, Colorado. We invite you to email us to discuss how we could best work together and answer any questions you have about our counseling services.
-Scott Church, MA, LPC, NCC, CST
-Caroline Leach, MA, LPC