Therapy Approaches for Abuse Survivors
Abuse can affect virtually anybody, from all walks of life, both genders, and all ages. Abuse shows its ugly face in many forms as well from physical to emotional battery to sexual abuse and neglect. It has been estimated that as high as two-thirds of substance abuse clients in therapy have suffered some form of abuse during childhood; 80% of individuals that have been referred to mental health providers had backgrounds that included experiencing childhood abuse. Regardless of the situation, abuse survivors don’t need to live in fear and pain because there is help available. By finding out more about the various types of abuse and what can be done to prevent or stop it, you can make a huge difference in either your own or someone else’s life.
Abuse can leave psychological scars that are more difficult to heal than physical injuries. People who have gone through abusive experiences struggle with distressing emotions, terrifying memories and often a sensation of constantly being in danger, often feeling disconnected, numb and unable to trust. Distressing memories, depression, and anxiety end up causing intimacy problems and often lead to self-destructive behavior and anger issues. When abusive things happen, it can take a long time to get over the suffering and feel safe again. Fortunately, with the right treatment and support, you can speed up the recovery process and whether the abuse happened yesterday or years ago, it’s possible to heal and live a healthy, happy life.
In order to heal from psychological and emotional abuse, you first need to face and deal with the intolerable memories and feelings you’ve more than likely been avoiding, burying deep inside; if you don’t, they’ll crop up over and over again. Therapy can help abuse survivors express as well as process the difficult emotions that are associated with the abuse, develop compassion, learn self-care strategies that can help them manage emotions when they’re overwhelmed, and eventually learn to trust again. There are several therapeutic approaches that have been highly effective including everything from eye movement desensitization to narrative therapy and the use of mindfulness techniques like meditation. Equine assisted therapy has also been shown to have a substantial impact when it comes to treating both the physiological and psychological aspects of abuse related problems. Some of the benefits of Equine assisted therapy include the reduction in stress, better social interactions, improved self-esteem and patience, and self-empowerment.
Group therapy has been proven to be effective when it comes to social support that helps abuse survivors cope their feelings of guilt, shame, and alienation from others (common side effects of abuse). Group therapy provides a safe place to interact and connect with other individuals who have lived through similar experiences. For individuals who aren’t ready to deal with their feelings of vulnerability and fear in a group setting, working with a therapist one on one is the best option and it is a good starting point for treatment.