Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience that can leave individuals feeling overwhelmed, isolated, and confused. Survivors of sexual abuse often have deep emotional wounds that result in unhealthy coping mechanisms. These harmful coping mechanisms may impact every aspect of an individual’s life, making it difficult to accomplish daily tasks or find hope for the future.
Talking to a therapist can help survivors of sexual abuse deconstruct these unhealthy coping mechanisms and identify their specific triggers. Even more, therapy provides the resources that survivors of sexual abuse will need to process their trauma, learn healthy coping mechanisms, and regain their power.
Finding hope for the future doesn’t have to take a lifetime! Begin the healing process today.
How Can Therapy Benefit Survivors of Sexual Abuse?
Therapy allows survivors an alternative story of growth, autonomy, and self-worth. If you have experienced any kind of sexual trauma– including rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse– you may benefit from talking to a licensed therapist. For many survivors of sexual abuse, the hope for healing comes from sharing their stories. Trauma specialist Shari Botwin stresses the importance of therapy, saying, “Recovering from this type of trauma is about facing it and knowing you’re not defined by what happened to you.”
Read on to learn more about how therapy can provide a safe space for you to process your trauma, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and reclaim your personal power.
Therapy provides a safe space for you to process trauma.
Firstly– and perhaps most importantly– therapy provides a safe space for survivors of sexual abuse to process and release their trauma. With a trauma-informed care therapist, individuals are encouraged to explore their experiences without the judgment of others or fear of retribution. In therapy, survivors of sexual abuse can share their stories and be truly heard. And only in this safe space can survivors begin to dismantle those unwanted feelings of guilt, shame, anger, and hopelessness. Other normal reactions to sexual trauma include:
- Feelings of helplessness
- Blaming self
- Suicidal ideation
- Low self-esteem
- Fear of intimacy
During the healing process, it’s important to remember that a survivor cannot be at fault for the abuse suffered! The negative thoughts and feelings are a symptom of your trauma, and not a real indicator of your capability or self-worth.
Therapy introduces healthy coping mechanisms.
You probably know that sexual abuse and trauma can result in unhealthy coping mechanisms like substance abuse, reckless or compulsive behavior, and avoidance. But when left unaddressed, these unhealthy coping mechanisms can snowball into debilitating lifelong habits that keep you trapped in a cycle of trauma.
Therapy, on the other hand, works to stop the cycle by introducing healthy coping mechanisms. Many survivors of sexual abuse experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. By employing healthy coping mechanisms like mindfulness, self-care, or behavioral activation, you learn to better understand your triggers, manage your symptoms, and finally reclaim what was lost– your joy, your autonomy, and your power.
Therapy gives you the power to reframe your narrative.
Last, but not certainly not least….While sexual trauma can leave survivors feeling ashamed or hopeless, therapy empowers individuals to reframe their narrative. The processes learned in therapy can help you reclaim your sense of power, identity, and self-worth. Talking to a licensed therapist can help transform your understanding of yourself from a victim to a survivor. You have the strength to overcome your trauma – so let’s uncover it together!
Find Hope for Healing After Sexual Abuse with New Hope Counseling
Counseling and therapy play an important role in the healing process for survivors of sexual abuse. Although processing sexual trauma can be complicated and challenging, therapy can be an empowering and cathartic experience for survivors of sexual abuse. Further, therapy can provide the tools, resources, and support you need to move on and build the life you want.
Find hope for healing with New Hope Counseling and Wellness. By processing trauma and learning healthy coping strategies in a safe space, survivors can start the healing process and rediscover their personal power. If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse, start the healing process today by talking to one of our licensed therapists.