The Benefits of Therapy
As the long-term consequences for victims of childhood sexual abuse come to light, there is new understanding of the potential benefits of therapeutic help.These include:
Reclaiming a sense of trust
Often those who have experienced the pain, confusion and overwhelming effects of sexual abuse are living only with coping strategies.
Therapy begins with connection: The connection with an individual therapist or other group members initiates a journey to reclaim the underlying sense of trust and safety lost through abuse.The relationship of therapy provides an opportunity to form a trusting relationship with a therapist who provides skilled and caring guidance throughout the process of addressing the pain of the past.
Within the safety of therapy, the story of one's abuse may emerge – this time in the presence of a supportive ally, often allowing the survivor the opportunity to explore and express that which was impossible to express in childhood.
Healing begins as the long-held secret of abuse and betrayal is allowed to be spoken and grieved by the survivor – and in turn, heard, believed and validated by the therapist.
Letting go of mistaken beliefs from abuse to claim a new sense of self
Almost universally, the victims of childhood abuse live with the misguided belief that they did something wrong to cause the sexual abuse. They may feel that they do not deserve happiness or success. Brilliant, gifted men and women, whose lives appear on track in every other way, exhibit inexplicable, self-defeating behaviors.
These actions are expressions of underlying wounds that keep personal and professional fulfillment just out of reach. Through the process of therapy, survivors are able to let go of the mistaken beliefs of an abusive childhood and claim a true and authentic sense of self.
Ending the generational cycle of abuse
As individuals come to heal from the effects of abuse, they also become more able to create safety for themselves and for those in their care. Individuals, families and communities become safer and stronger as the effects of abuse decrease. By helping the survivor to become stronger, counseling may also help reveal an abuser within a family system and end the abuser's access to current family members.
Finding hope and fulfillment
Through an intense and gradual process with the trained therapists at Shepherd's, the survivor's world view created as a child, including self blame and shame, can be unraveled to reveal a new framework for understanding themselves, their strengths and their abilities for hope and fulfillment in their lives. Survivors are able to begin to create stability for themselves that in turn allows new possibilities of trusting, respectful, and healthy relationships with others.