Domestic and Sexual Abuse
4th November, 2009
This takes many forms including physical violence, threatening behaviour, verbal and sexual abuse and all forms of bullying. Levels of anxiety are heightened and a disposition towards anxiety and depression is common.
When counselling adult survivors, many feelings that were never processed in childhood have to be dealt with and an atmosphere of trust and absolute confidentiality is essential. As children (with one in three girls and one in seven boys being sexually abused by the age of eighteen), survivors have to defend themselves so much on a daily basis that they frequently have difficulty with trusting others in their adult lives.
Ways of dealing with the difficult feelings – whether conscious or unconscious – can result in behaviours such as eating disorders, self-harm, addictions and problems with anger. Understanding how the past affects the present is an essential part of the therapeutic work, with counselling offering emotional support to those wanting to stop the cycle of unhelpful ways of coping with the trauma.
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