Overcoming sexual abuse may take time, and healing can be difficult. Sexual trauma therapy helps you cope effectively, allowing you to regain self-esteem and reconnect to your body and emotions.
Sexual trauma could result from exposure to any profoundly distressing or disturbing sexual behavior. These traumatic events could be physical, such as being touched without consent; verbal, such as being the subject of humiliation; or visual, such as being forced to watch sexual acts.
On average, there are more than 400,000 rape and sexual assault victims each year in the United States. Sexual abuse could happen to anyone, regardless of gender, and it may not always be physically violent.
Examples of events that lead to trauma include rape, stalking, sexual harassment, child pornography, incest, sex trafficking, and sexual violence in relationships.
Victims of sexual abuse often develop a negative self-image. They may also feel shame, guilt, and high levels of stress and fear.
Given the trauma and negative emotions caused by the molestation, victims are likely to experience mental health problems. It makes them more vulnerable to addiction or self-harm.
To support your sexual trauma recovery, it would help if you undergo psychotherapy following an abuse. It can fix your maladaptive or problematic thoughts and reduce the emotional effects of distressing memories. Some types of psychotherapy include:
- Cognitive processing therapy
- Prolonged-exposure therapy
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy
How Sexual Trauma Therapy Can Help You Heal
Seeking treatment sooner rather than later can lead to quicker recovery. Let’s find out how sexual assault trauma therapy can help patients move forward in life.
1. Addresses Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition caused by a terrifying event. Individuals may develop this when they witness or experience serious sexual violations. Although not all victims of non-consensual acts go through this, most do.
Some of the common PTSD symptoms are:
- Having flashbacks of the traumatic event
- The urge to avoid anything that reminds you of the trauma
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Sexual abuse may result in severe physical and emotional effects. Along with PTSD, you may also suffer from depression, anxiety, and impaired social functioning.
Studies show that survivors of sexual assault can achieve optimal patient outcomes from personalized psychotherapeutic treatments. It includes trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. If you believe you have PTSD, consider seeing a therapist to help manage symptoms.
2. Restores Your Mental Well-being
Survivors typically go through difficult and painful emotions after experiencing sexual abuse. They may feel a myriad of psychological responses, such as emotional detachment, acute stress reactions, and sleep disturbances.
Talking to a therapist helps you understand your mental health problems, manage emotional challenges, and make positive changes in your life.
While you may feel ashamed at first but therapists can make you feel at ease – they offer a safe space where you can say the things you’re struggling with.
By telling your story, you’ll better understand the root causes of your trauma and receive an accurate diagnosis of your condition. You’ll also be able to have medication, if necessary, for instance, to improve your sleep and regulate your mood.
The goal of getting sexual trauma therapy is to feel better, live a full life, and leave your past trauma.
3. Increases Self-Esteem
Trauma can provoke feelings of aggression and anxiety in individuals who experienced abuse. It also attacks one’s confidence and self-worth. If you’re unable to regulate these difficult emotions, you’ll have a hard time trusting people and maintaining healthy relationships.
Going to sexual trauma therapy enables you to understand not only the conscious effects of your trauma but also what you don’t know about yourself. Therapists can help you build trust in people by freely exploring and working out feelings of shame, guilt, and fear.
This treatment can make you feel much better about yourself, reclaiming your sense of confidence.
4. Regains Quality of Life
When we face traumatic experiences, a sense of fear becomes trapped in our bodies. The brain thinks that something terrible will happen, constantly watching for danger and preparing the body for a fight or flight response.
Healing from sexual trauma can be a long process, but it’s possible. Through counseling, therapists can guide the patient in reprocessing bad memories and developing healthy coping mechanisms during panic attacks. It helps improve the way you function in your everyday life.
5. Helps You Have Healthy Relationships
Abuse may result in avoidance behavior, lack of communication, and increased hostility. In a study published by the University of New Hampshire, more than one-third of the participants said they got into an unhealthy relationship at some point after the sexual assault.
Sexual abuse survivors usually carry a deeply ingrained idea that you can’t trust anyone and that a genuine loving relationship is impossible for them. They feel as though they are irreparably flawed, not good enough, and unworthy of love. These kinds of thoughts can destroy relationships.
Building an intimate, lasting relationship can be difficult when past abuses have not been handled or treated effectively. Adult survivors are more likely to be isolated and dissatisfied with their relationships than people who have never been abused.
Sexual trauma therapy enables counselors to provide specific insights regarding their past issues, well-being, and current relationships. Through this, survivors can process thoughts and emotions in healthier ways and improve the quality of their relationships.
Sexual abuse is a pervasive problem in our society today. It causes a wide range of physical and psychological impacts to the survivor, leaving them feeling helpless and inadequate.
Through therapy, coping skills, and social support, survivors can manage triggers and heal their emotional scars. Modern sexual trauma recovery focuses on equipping individuals with practical techniques to process what has happened, strengthen their resilience, repair their self-esteem, improve coping mechanisms, and enhance their general well-being.
Start your recovery journey by attending therapy for sexual trauma. Roots Through Recovery offer various treatment programs to support you in overcoming the feelings of shame and powerlessness. Our therapist will find the right approach for your needs. You may call us at 562-249-5731 to schedule a consultation.