Adult & Adolescent Survivors of Incest & Sexual Abuse
It is estimated that 1 in 4 women and 1 in
7 men were sexually abused as children prior to their eighteenth birthday.
Left untreated, the wounds of incest/sexual abuse can permeate every area of the
adult survivorís life. He or she may suffer from any number of residual
symptoms including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, extreme trust issues,
chronic physiological symptoms and somatic complaints, a history of
pseudo neurological problems, obsessive/compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder
including flashbacks and/or nightmares of the abuse, dissociative disorders, anger issues, addictions, codependency, sexual
dysfunction, and relationship issues. These are only a few of the numerous
symptoms that survivors often develop and silently struggle with as adults, the
same way many of them silently struggled from the abuse they endured as
children. Adolescents who have been sexually abused often present with any
or all of the above symptoms along with age specific acting out such as running
away, substance abuse, gang involvement, oppositional defiant behavior, conduct
disorders, truancy, and juvenile delinquency.
Because incest and sexual abuse in childhood most often
happens at the hands of a trusted adult, the child is left with an inability to
make sense of the events. Children are not yet capable of abstract thought and
do not have the ability to understand that good and bad can happen at the same
time. As a result, they often internalize the shame and blame for the abuse
because they see the trusted adult caretaker as good and are forced to see
themselves as somehow bad. Children are never at fault. They are victims of
adults who take advantage of their innocence and prey upon their vulnerability.
It is not uncommon for survivors to have had more than one perpetrator, or to
have been a victim of rape in their adulthood. Adult rape victims are also
never at fault. Sexual assault, regardless of the age of the victim, is a crime
of power that takes the form of a sexual violation.
Childhood sexual abuse is not always violent and may be
coupled with nurturing and playful games or seductive grooming activities that
any child would take interest in. This becomes further confusing for the
child. Some children are threatened and warned not to tell. Others just
automatically keep the secret. Some try to tell and are not believed or
misunderstood. Some are able to tell and experience the result of telling as
chaotic when they are thrown into the legal and therapeutic systems designed to
protect them. These kids are then made to tell their story over and over and
may be shuffled around in foster care and may have to witness the arrest of
their perpetrator. Regardless of the individual circumstances, survivors of
incest/sexual abuse often carry scars into their adulthood that can affect every
area of their lives. They are wounded physically, emotionally, socially,
mentally, and spiritually. Healing from childhood sexual trauma needs to occur
on all these levels for the adult to be able to let go of the past and move
forward in his/her life.
If you were sexually abused as a child, it is never too late
to seek help. You deserve to heal and live a happy and fulfilling adult
life free from the traumas of your history. At Veritas Counseling Center,
the therapist has over 30 years of experience and is highly skilled at creating
a safe and nurturing environment that allows clients to heal from childhood
sexual abuse and move forward in their adult lives. The therapist is also
a survivor herself, and as a result of her own healing, she gently and
appropriately blends together her personal recovery with her professional
training and skill in a way that allows clients to safely and effectively heal
and move beyond survival mode.
Individual, group, couplesí and family
therapy are all available as appropriate in each individual case. In
addition, occasional weekend intensive workshops and retreats are offered for
survivors. To be added to the mailing list for information about upcoming
weekend workshops and retreats or for notice of openings for group therapy
A women's sexual abuse recovery therapy group is being formed now.
Find out more. Space is limited. Call today.
Treatment includes psycho-educational techniques designed to teach
clients about specific symptoms and strategies for dealing with triggers,
flashbacks, dissociation, emotional flooding, emotional numbing, etc., and also
knowledge and tools for developing healthy coping skills, healthy sexuality, and healthy
relationships. Various treatment methods utilized may include cognitive therapy
techniques, imagery, inner child work, gestalt parts work and empty chair work,
psychodrama techniques, transactional analysis education and skill building, art
therapy, EMDR, Thought Field Therapy (TFT), various methods from DBT, and
other trauma resolution techniques. When appropriate, adjunctive
Assisted Psychotherapy is also available.
The therapist at Veritas Counseling Center is also an author
and offers free recovery tips for survivors as well as messages of hope from
recovering survivors. For this month's tips, or to post your own message of