I help sexual abuse survivors feel unburdened by their past trauma and have more peace and joy in their lives.
You are a survivor! There is strength in this word, knowing that you have overcome obstacles and you are still here standing. Yet, you may also feel like a victim. During the day you put on a brave face at work, with your family, and in your relationships but inside you suffer in silence. You feel like something is wrong with you. “Bad things” seem to always happen to you and you rarely feel joy or happiness. When you look at others lives you see how full they are and you want this for yourself. You feel like there is something in your way and you do not know how to move past that block.
In your relationships you struggle with feeling worthy. You question why someone would want to be with you. Despite your partner's reassurances you don't believe them. When you look in the mirror all you see is your flaws and your painful past. You have a wall up and no matter how long the relationship lasts the wall stays up. In the past this has ended your relationships, but you want to stop this. You're currently dating someone you really like and you don't want your wall to be the reason it ends.
This is where therapy can help you!
I know it sounds cliche or maybe you worry that your problems are too big, therefore you are doomed, but therapy can help you. I have spent years working with people from all walks of life and I have seen the benefits of therapy. Yes, it’s scary to put yourself out there, to open up in hopes of having something better. But I believe in you. I believe that together we can help you alleviate the pain from experiencing sexual abuse, from feeling like you’ve never belonged anywhere, and that you’re not good enough.
So here’s some of the things we will do together to get you on the right path.
#1 We move at your pace. Therapy is about building our relationship. This means building trust, which is earned slowly. It will feel scary to open up and share with me but remember that I am here for you. What we discuss is private and stays between us. I am not judging you and there is nothing you could share with me that would shock me.
#2 I will ask you questions. Some of these questions will be used for me to get to know you and your past, so I can better understand the dynamics at play. Other questions will be to used to encourage you to reflect. To think about the patterns you’re engaging in and how they both help and harm you. The goal is to help you break the cycle that is keeping you stuck
#3 We will feel together. The biggest part of healing will be to connect the parts of yourself that you are disconnected from, because of the past abuse. The disconnection helped you in the past because it allowed you to function and survivor the trauma. But now that you’re an adult, out of the environment, the disconnection is keeping you from experiencing love and joy. It will be a scary and uncomfortable feeling at first, but we are going to retrain your sensitized brain to essentially override your instincts to flee, freeze, or fight when it’s triggered (trauma response). At the present moment, anything that reminds your brain of that early trauma will send it in a tailspin to protect itself, so we will be adjusting this thermostat.
We will also laugh and smile together. You will share your wins and successes and together we will celebrate them because you deserve it. I may even say a word wrong or forget a word and together we will laugh at this mistake. Remember it’s about feelings a wide range of emotions, this is what makes us human, and this is what allows you to feel connected.
#4 We will do more than talk. I know when you think about working online you picture only sitting on your computer or tablet and talking. But in order to help you reconnect with all parts of yourself we have to move. There will be times that we drop the computer and talk on the phone and go for a walk. The beauty of walking is that it regulates the body and emotions. Also since sexual abuse and other complex traumas occur as a result of horrible interpersonal experiences your brain will feel less threatened as we talk about those things that trigger you because you don’t have to look at me. (It’s true and it works!) By walking we get to discharge that pennant up unresolved trauma energy, which is stored in the body. It’s often stored in the legs, arms, chest, and also groan area (especially with sexual abuse). We wont only be talking about trauma but also positive memories and experiences. By doing this you’re creating new associations in your body that are more positive not just the pain of trauma.
#4A) Other types of movement that we can do, and it’s again based on your preferences: yoga, self massage, dance, going to the park and swinging on a swing, stretching, and even acting. I am not a certified trauma sensitive yoga instructor, and I would be happy to put you in touch with someone who is because I think they are crucial to helping survivors heal, but we can do some basic movements during our sessions.
#5 Homework. Even though we dive deep in session the work happens outside of session. This is why I will often give you things to do. They will be related to things we discussed in session, and the hope is that you practice trying new things that will help you feel more connected to yourself and others. I often assign journaling, affiirmations, gratitudes, helping you identify and practice using boundaries (including saying no), exercise, etc. These things will help boost your self-esteem and self worth, which is part of self love and self care. The sky’s the limit and it’s all based on what is right for you. Some things will work, and some things wont. That’s ok it’s all part of the process.
I hope what I listed gives you a little glimmer into what we will do together in session. I am looking forward to connecting with you and helping you on your path to healing, because you deserve to feel happy, loved, and at peace.
Trigger warning: This article contains very sensitive topics discussing sexual abuse. Please read at your own discretion. I have been…
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