Sexual abuse is a particularly sinister type of trauma because of its interpersonal nature and the shame it instils in the person who survives the trauma. Trauma impacts the whole person – their emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual functioning. Interpersonal trauma from sexual abuse is particularly damaging because it shapes relational patterns throughout life. For survivors of sexual abuse, engaging in any intimate relationship can be a triggering experience as it brings us closer to our vulnerabilities and sexual shame. Studies have shown that approximately half of people who experience sexual trauma will experience sexual difficulties related to a fear of sex or a lack of desire.
Sexual trauma impacts emotional health and can leave a person susceptible to feelings of depression, anxiety, suicide, mood swings, sleep disorders, poor coping or self-regulation skills. The build up of stress, emotional blocks and tension in the body can also lead to physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal and digestive issues, headaches/migraines, and muscular tension. Sexual abuse can also result in feelings of isolation and self-blame, which can leave a person susceptible to substance abuse and eating disorders.
As a Gestalt trained therapist, I provide the necessary therapeutic support to help survivors of trauma once again enjoy sexually intimate relationships. My therapeutic approach has a strong focus on safety, awareness and embodiment, which is seen as essential for good trauma therapy. Trauma survivors often become disconnected from the bodies in the trauma process. When we become disconnected from our bodies we loose our power, our solidness, which can leave us feeling fragile and guarded. Through self-awareness practices, therapeutic support and self-support exercises, we can learn to stay grounded, embodied and present in the moment. With the right therapeutic support and guidance, survivors of trauma can become thrivers