What to Expect During Therapy for Sexual Abuse
As you begin your therapy journey, search for a counselor who specializes in therapy for sexual abuse. While all licensed therapists are knowledgeable about trauma, some are more experienced than others when it comes to addressing abuse and assault.
It might take a few tries to find a counselor who’s the right fit for you. This is normal, so try not to feel guilty or frustrated if you meet with several therapists before sticking with one. Speaking about your abuse can make you feel very vulnerable, so it’s important that you work with someone you feel comfortable with.
Therapy can help you release bottled-up thoughts and feelings regarding your traumatic experiences. Your therapist will encourage you to express any emotions you have felt or are currently feeling. You can speak about the abuse as openly as you think is helpful. Your counselor may ask questions about the events so that they can better support and understand you. However, they won’t force you to disclose anything that you’re not ready to speak about.
Your therapist may recommend techniques that you can use outside of the counseling session to express your emotions. This could include journaling, drawing, exercising, or any other healthy activities that provide a release from difficult thoughts or feelings.
Therapy is more than just an opportunity to purge your emotions, though. The other major component of therapy for sexual abuse is developing coping skills that help you manage the day-to-day challenges that may arise. You and your therapist will identify triggers that spark anxiety, anger, or other negative emotions. Then, you’ll work together to find the best ways to handle those triggers when you encounter them.
Sexual abuse treatment can take a long time, but counseling is highly effective. The trauma may always be a part of your life, but you can learn how to keep the painful emotions at bay. The abuse you experienced was out of your control, but now, you have the power to take back that control and find peace and happiness.