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Getting Therapy for Your Sexual Trauma

If you're reading this, it's likely that you or someone you know has experienced sexual trauma. I want to start by acknowledging the courage it takes to seek help and to begin the healing journey. Sexual trauma can have a profound impact on every aspect of a person's life, from physical and emotional health to relationships and sense of self. It is not something that should ever be minimized or dismissed, and I want to assure you that there is hope for healing and reclaiming your life. There are many different types of therapies available, and finding the right one can be a crucial step in the healing process. In this article, we will explore some of the best therapies for sexual trauma and how they can help you on your path to recovery.

The Impact of Sexual Trauma: Understanding the Physical and Emotional Symptoms

Sexual trauma can have a significant impact on a person's physical and emotional well-being. The experience of sexual trauma can leave a lasting imprint on the body and mind, leading to a range of symptoms such as chronic pain, fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, and emotional dysregulation. These symptoms can be the result of the body's response to the trauma and can be triggered by reminders or memories of the traumatic event. It is important to understand and address these symptoms in order to begin the healing process and move towards a sense of safety and well-being. For a comprehensive list of symptoms and indicators please read this blog post: Signs that your body is holding unconscious childhood sexual abuse.

Breaking the Silence: Why Seeking Therapy for Sexual Trauma Can Be the Key to Healing and Empowerment

  1. Overwhelming emotions: Survivors of sexual trauma often experience intense emotional responses, such as fear, anxiety, depression, anger, shame, and guilt, that can interfere with daily life and relationships.

  2. Physical symptoms: Sexual trauma can lead to physical symptoms, such as chronic pain, digestive issues, headaches, sleep disturbances, sexual dysfunction, and autoimmune disorders.

  3. Negative self-image: Survivors of sexual trauma may struggle with feelings of worthlessness, self-blame, and negative body image, leading to low self-esteem and difficulties in forming healthy relationships.

  4. Trauma triggers: Survivors of sexual trauma may experience triggers that bring back memories and feelings associated with the trauma, leading to avoidance behaviors, hypervigilance, and panic attacks.

  5. Relationship issues: Survivors of sexual trauma may struggle with intimacy, trust, and communication in their relationships, leading to conflict, isolation, and feelings of loneliness.

  6. Substance abuse: Survivors of sexual trauma may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with overwhelming emotions and memories associated with the trauma, leading to addiction and other negative consequences.

  7. Negative coping mechanisms: Survivors of sexual trauma may develop negative coping mechanisms, such as self-harm, disordered eating, and compulsive behaviors, as a way to numb their pain and regain control.

Seeking therapy for sexual trauma can help survivors address these issues, heal from the trauma, and empower themselves to live a more fulfilling and meaningful life. Therapy can provide a safe and supportive environment for survivors to process their emotions, learn coping skills, and develop a sense of self-worth and agency. It can also help survivors navigate the challenges of relationships, triggers, and negative coping mechanisms, and work towards building a brighter future.

Silent Pain: Why Speaking Out About Sexual Trauma can be so Challenging

It is common for individuals who have experienced sexual trauma to find it difficult to talk about their experiences. This can be due to a variety of factors, including feelings of shame, fear of judgment or not being believed, and a lack of understanding and support from others.

One example of this difficulty can be seen in the phenomenon of delayed disclosure. Delayed disclosure occurs when a survivor of sexual trauma waits a significant amount of time before telling anyone about their experience. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as fear of not being believed, fear of retribution from the perpetrator, or feelings of shame and guilt.

Research has shown that societal attitudes towards sexual trauma can also contribute to the difficulty in speaking out about these experiences. The pervasive victim-blaming culture often places the burden of responsibility on the survivor, rather than the perpetrator. This can lead to survivors feeling as though they are somehow to blame for what happened to them, or that they will not be taken seriously if they come forward.

Furthermore, sexual trauma can often result in complex feelings and emotions, which can be difficult to articulate to others. Survivors may struggle with feelings of shame, guilt, anger, fear, and confusion, which can all contribute to a sense of isolation and difficulty in opening up to others.

Overall, it is important to recognize that the difficulty in talking about sexual trauma is a common experience for survivors. By acknowledging and validating the complex emotions and societal factors that contribute to this difficulty, we can work towards creating a more supportive and understanding environment for survivors to come forward and receive the help they need.

You might like to explore:

Why childhood sexual abuse is so hard to talk about How to reconnect with your womb after trauma

Unveiling the Crucial Role of the Sacrum in Sexual Healing and Function

Book a consultation call with me for a personalised treatment plan and guidance on your healing path forward.

Somatic Healing for Sexual Trauma

People often try many different approaches before they arrive ready to do somatic healing work because sexual trauma can manifest in various ways and affect different aspects of a person's life, such as physical health, emotional well-being, and relationships.

People may initially try traditional talk therapy, which can be helpful in processing emotions and thoughts related to trauma. However, some individuals may find that talk therapy alone does not provide enough relief for their symptoms, and they may begin to explore other modalities such as medication, self-help techniques, or alternative therapies like acupuncture or massage.

While these approaches can be helpful, they may not address the root cause of the trauma, which is often held in the body. Somatic healing work, on the other hand, focuses on the physical sensations and emotions held in the body as a result of the trauma. It involves working with a therapist who is trained in somatic techniques to help release the held energy and promote healing.

It's also important to note that individuals may not feel ready or safe enough to explore the physical sensations associated with their trauma until they have built a strong therapeutic relationship and feel supported and understood by their therapist.

Additionally, cultural and societal norms around discussing sexual trauma can contribute to shame and reluctance to seek help. It's important for therapists to create a safe and compassionate space for their clients to explore these sensitive topics. Research shows that somatic therapies, such as Somatic Experiencing and Sensorimotor Psychotherapy, can be effective in treating the symptoms of sexual trauma by helping individuals to reconnect with their bodies and process the held energy in a safe and supportive environment.

You might like to explore:

Somatic Integration: The Key to Healing Sexual Trauma

When a person experiences sexual trauma, their nervous system goes into "fight or flight" mode. This triggers the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, which can have a profound effect on the body. These hormones prepare the body to either fight the threat or run away from it. However, in the case of sexual trauma, neither option is possible. This can result in the body being stuck in a state of heightened arousal for an extended period of time.

Additionally, sexual trauma can also impact the functioning of the reproductive system. The uterus and cervix, in particular, can become tense and constricted in response to trauma. This can cause pain, discomfort, and difficulty with sexual activity.

Over time, the trauma can become "stored" in the body, affecting both the physical and emotional health of the person. This can result in a range of symptoms, including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and chronic pain.

While the exact mechanisms behind how trauma is held in the body are not yet fully understood, there is evidence to suggest that trauma can alter the way that the brain and body communicate with each other. This can result in a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, as the body attempts to process and cope with the trauma.

You might like to explore:

Healing from Sexual Trauma: Your Next Steps

If you have experienced sexual trauma, you know how deeply it can impact your physical and emotional wellbeing. At times, it may feel like healing is out of reach. However, through somatic integration, it is possible to reclaim your body and restore a sense of safety and wholeness.

As a practitioner specialising in somatic integration, I offer both courses and a personalised 1-1 healing program designed to support you.

Are You Ready To Discover Your Inner Alchemist?

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