This is a summary of my PhD research “Balancing Recognition and Disrespect: Recovery as the Process of Identity Formation. A New Zealand Study of How Services Shape Recovery from Sexual Abuse. I have presented these findings at the 15th Australasian Conference on Traumatic Stress, Melbourne, earlier in September 2008. The study looked at the experiences sexual abuse survivors had with a wide range of services, such as hospital, mental health services, crisis services, A&E services, GP, police, social worker, counsellors, and teachers.
Although sexual abuse is a huge problem that affects one out of four females and one out of six males, less than 10% of survivors contact services for help. Some may not need help, some may not want help. Others may not know how to go about getting help or they don’t feel able to go and see a therapist. Lots of people battle in isolation with the impact of their past.
You don’t have to do it alone!
Do you struggle with
- Low Self-Confidence
- Sleep Problems
- Depression, Anxiety, Phobias
- Dissociation, Derealisation
- Lack of Trust
- Relationship Problems?
- Is you answer YES to the above questions?
- Then Sexual Abuse Help is just right for you!
Don’t struggle in isolation searching for answers, wishing for someone … anyone to come along who understands you. Join the Sexual Abuse Help community today! Here you don’t have to explain yourself, hide parts of yourself, or convince us of anything. We know where you are coming from. Relax and enjoy the support of fellow survivors!
How I Came To Know About Recovery From Sexual Abuse?
Being a survivor myself and having had progressed well in my own recovery, I became very interested in understanding sexual abuse during my training as a psychotherapist. It was to my great surprise that very little information and training about sexual abuse was available for budding therapists.
Living far away in New Zealand did make access to training even more difficult. I took every opportunity to study the masters in trauma-therapy and sexual abuse. I went to their workshops, read their books, and watched their videos. Bessel van der Kolk, John Briere, Collin Ross, Charlotte Dallenberg, Judith Herman, Richard Dr. Gudrun Frerichs Kluft, Putname, and James Chu became my teachers and inspiration.
In my almost 20 years of experience as psychotherapist in private practice I have assisted many survivors of sexual abuse on their journey towards recovery. For many, therapy became the safe haven where they felt safe enough to talk about their past experiences of sexual abuse. Here they shared their hurt feelings from not being loved and cared for in the way they needed, about being betrayed and losing trust in people, and about feeling responsible for the abuse. They talked about feeling out of control and not trusting themselves, about their shame and guilt, about their hopelessness, and about their sense of powerlessness and victimisation.
I did not have to think long when I had to choose research topics for my degrees. Of course I was going to focus on sexual abuse. It has always surprised me that a large amount of literature describes the recovery from sexual abuse from the health professional’s perspective.
My interest has always been to give survivors a voice. Surely, they would have to be the experts when it comes to describing what works and what didn’t! Hence my first research has uncovered how clients with dissociative disorders handle therapy, what works for them and what didn’t. Most of the body of this research can be found on my blog Multiple Voices
My second research revealed how services shape the recovery from sexual abuse, outlining clearly what hindered recovery and what was helpful. That knowledge combined with my personal experiences and my experiences from my clinical practice will be shown here on the Sexual Abuse Help Site.
From surveys and encouraging responses to my Multiple Voices Blog I know that survivors have been looking out for information that reflects their lived experiences, and for opportunities of networking with each other in a safe environment. The Sexual Abuse Help Blog is the product of survivors’ feedback, survivors responses, survivors needs, and knowledge accumulated over 2 decades of study and practice.
Do you want to
Have support in putting the abusive past behind you?
- Have self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-respect?
- Know that you are not going crazy?
- Have meaningful relationships?
- Feel being part of your community?
- Step out of the shadows of the past?
- Build a bright future?
Imagine how great you will feel when you see that you are on the pathway of recovery and that your dreams can come true? Think about all the things you will be able to do when you learn in the company of other survivors how to develop the skills and the confidence to succeed in your recovery.
Get Support, Community, Inspiration, Knowledge, and Skills.
Become a Partner in Recovery!
At Sexual Abuse Help you get each month new information, hot tips, interesting videos, and proven steps for your recovery. These will come in the form of new pages or posts that you can access as often and for as long as you wish or need to.
You will learn how to create emotional safety
- You will discover easy techniques to keep healthy boundaries
- Develop strategies for distress tolerance
- Understand how sexual abuse has impacted on you
- Learn four effective steps for conflict management
- Discover how to communicate effectively
- Understand the need to stretch outside your comfort zone
- Develop skills for successful relationships
- Learn how to build a positive mindset
- Learn skills that increase your resilience to stress
- Discover an easy model to understand your reaction to others
- Find out how you can accurately determine how others treat you
- Develop your ability to identity dysfunctional dynamics
- Learn effective ways to stay out of dysfunctional dynamics
- Discover proven ways to increase your self-confidence
- Find ways of nurturing your creativity
- Connect with other survivors to give and receive support
- Learn about skills that help you with assertiveness
- Discover how to ask for your needs
- Find out that you are valued and appreciated by others
But we don’t just stop there. In Addition to all the resources listed above – and you can be sure to get access to plenty of material, self-help exercises, and lots of eye-opening reading material – we have looked for other ways readers can connect with each other to give and get support.
Check out what we have in store:
- We have set up a secret facebook group for a membership forum. It called secret group because the group is not mentioned on people’s profile and membership is only possible through invitation by me. If you would like to become a member, you have to have a facebook profile … it doesn’t have to have any information about you that would compromise your confidentiality … and then you must invite me to be your friend mentioning that you would like to join the sexual abuse help membership group. I will then be able to sign you in. People can join anytime and if they don’t want to be a member any longer, un-join with the click of a button. No hassle at all! At the moment membership is free. This might change in the future and depends on the amount of work involved. I might charge a small fee – in that case I will give people ample warning.
- Every month you will have the opportunity to receive a new episode of an audio-recovery-seminar with Dr. Gudrun Frerichs where we address a particular recovery issue and answer your burning questions about abuse and recovery that you can submit prior to recording. These seminars are recorded and you can download the MP3 file. These seminars start in October 2008.
- We will set up an art gallery. Our vision is that members use this feature to share and exhibit their artwork.
- We will also set up a video gallery that features material from leading trauma specialists, selected videos from the internet, and videos produced by our very own members.
One caution here: We will not ‘Do Therapy’.
This site is purely for support, help, information, and developing community.
That doesn’t mean being a part of the community and enjoying the connections and the benefits is not therapeutic. I guarantee it is!
Sign up here NOW to express your interest in becoming part of the SEXUAL ABUSE HELP SUPPORTIVE COMMUNITY!
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