Abuse: Sexual, Physical and Emotional
If you or someone you love is being abused or has been abused psychotherapy is a safe space to begin to heal and empower yourself. Fear is often a dominating factor and there is often understandable difficulty in learning to trust people again. Clients may suffer from flash backs and nightmares, some times leading to post traumatic stress and exhaustion.
Everyone is unique and has unique experiences. The most important thing I do is to listen to you and your experience and from this we then build a way to work together. We are likely to make use of some of the following :
- a practical behavioural approach (teaching relaxation techniques such as deep muscle relaxation and breathing retraining). For example, I explore with the client how they have been coping with the trauma of abuse and if they have been avoiding certain situations, memories, thoughts and feelings. I will explain to them why, in the short term this will have helped them survive, but how in the long term it actually prevents people from getting over the consequences of abuse.If a person is thinking of leaving an abusive partner, safety is paramount in the discussion of how this is to be done, and making sure that there is a safe home for the victim to move to. This is often the most dangerous period of the unhealthy relationship.
- Cognitive work. Abuse usually results in low self-esteem and depression. Together, my client and I explore the thoughts they have that trigger these issues and relate them to the abuse. We would work to alter the negative inner dialogue. I make use of Transactional Analysis concepts and visual models.
- My approach is compassionate and non judgemental. Unfortunately many people who are abused feel shame and often blame themselves for the abuse; one example of this could be to find it hard to leave the abusive partner.
- I also work in a psychodynamic way. The therapeutic relationship is very important here and, in part, enables me to explore with the client, unconscious processes related to the interaction of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. These unconscious thoughts, feelings, and memories shape our present mental state, sense of self and behaviour. Again I use transactional analysis concepts and diagrams to explore these processes with clients to help create positive change.
- Our cultural backgrounds play a huge role in the healing of abuse. Family, friends, those (healthy) customs and values we hold that form a part of our identities, all play a significant role in our empowerment. I work with the awareness that we come from different cultural perspectives, sometimes these may contain large differences, sometimes relatively less so, and encourage clients to make use and articulate those areas they value.
For more information on any of the above, if you would like to talk further about some of these issues or make an appointment feel free to contact Nell Thompson via phone or email.