Can I ever get over what happened to me?
- Do you have nightmares keep you awake at night; Reliving the past?
- Has worrying about safety cause you to check on your kids?
- Have you beat yourself up about getting angry at work or with your kids?
- Do you wish you could erase these memories and take back your body?
It can feel like your mind and body are betraying you when you suffer from the lasting effects of physical and sexual abuse. The physical pain you feel in your body and your mind racing, chest pounding, lying in bed, eyes open, staring at the ceiling.
When the past does not want to stay in the past and it feels like the same crap that happened to you in your childhood are still going on today. You may want the pain to end and try to pretend like it did not happen. You could be throwing yourself into family, work or relationships, trying to keep yourself busy so you do not have to think about it. This can cause anxiety and pressure that exhausts you till you crash or sink into depression. Between your life and mind, you may not even know how to calm down or think you don’t deserve it. Over time you may feel like you’re running on a hamster wheel and although around people and family, feel all alone. Your body is a stranger and your mind is the enemy.
Child Sexual Abuse is the Most Common Health Problem
Although you feel alone, you are not alone. According to Dark to Light and their 20 years of service to preventing child abuse, about one in seven girls will be sexually abused before they turn 18. Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under. Youths have higher rates of sexual assault victimization than do adults. Hearing these statistics might cause some fear but it can also validate you.
These facts also state that this abuse commonly leads to substance abuse. Female adult survivors of child sexual abuse are nearly three times more likely to report substance use problems (40.5% versus 14% in general population). We don’t want to feel it, we don’t want to think about it. It makes sense that you would seek something to take the pain away.
Your mind can feel like a war zone. Mental health problems are a common long-term consequence of child sexual abuse. Adult women who were sexually abused as a child are more than twice as likely to suffer from depression as women who were not sexually abused. Adults with a history of child sexual abuse are more than twice as likely to report a suicide attempt. Females who are sexually abused are three times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders than females who are not sexually abused. You may have previously seen someone about this and were met with many different disorders. They may have constantly changed what they told you was wrong with you, never fitting what you though or felt.
Your body is also struggling, maybe from multiple health issues you are trying to manage. Adult victims of child sexual abuse have higher rates of health care utilization and report significantly more health complaints compared to adults without a child sexual abuse history. These include fibromyalgia, severe premenstrual syndrome, chronic headaches, irritable bowel syndrome and a wide range of reproductive and sexual health complaints, including excessive bleeding, amenorrhea, pain during intercourse and menstrual irregularity. Adults with a history of child sexual abuse are 30% more likely than their non-abused peers to have a serious medical condition such as diabetes, cancer, heart problems, stroke or hypertension. You might miss work or important events because of your health or just exhaustion from surviving day to day.
Your past is costing you mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. We can work together to help you reclaim your thoughts, feelings, and body.
Trauma Therapy Can Help You Heal Your Past
Most therapies try to change how you think so that you won’t feel so anxious or depressed anymore. When I was learning these techniques, it didn’t seem to fit for me because I believe it, so how are they going to change it. It really seems like “fake it till you make it.” As a client in treatment, it made me feel like I was invalidated. For example, I don’t feel safe because of what happened to me and you’re telling me that I should feel safe and I should tell myself that I feel safe even though I’m not. That was not going to work for me and probably not you either.
EMDR is a different kind of therapy where the experiences that you have had take the spotlight. The things that we’ve been through create how we see everything else. I feel unsafe because I’ve been through things that hurt me. So we look at those times that you have been hurt and use the whole body to digest these memories so that they feel like they’re no longer happening right now
Emdr Stands for Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.
So let break that down.
- Eye Movement – if I hand you a crying baby what’s the first thing you start to do? Normally we rock back-and-forth putting them on the back, telling them it’s OK. Much like REM sleep the back-and-forth movement that our eyes do is something that our brain really likes when digesting the day during sleep. We do it a lot with music and dancing. Eyes are only one back-and-forth motion that we use in this therapy but it used to be the primary one. We also use our body and tapping back-and-forth. So tapping slow, slows us down and fast tapping speeds us up
- Desensitization- This is more of a side effect of this therapy not the way it works. We bring up a memory and you rate it 0-10, usually between 8-10/10 and by working on it we are going to get it to a 0/10. Reducing the sensitivity to that memory/target.
- Reprocessing- We are digesting this memory again to different parts of the brain to be stored in its correct position in the timeline. Making it not feel like it’s still happening. It will be a thing that happen to you a long time ago, rather than something still happening to you.
In our sessions, we’ll address your needs, worries, and wishes. We will then work on helping you handle what is already coming up. We will learn skills, tricks and tips to outsmart the struggles. Once we are confident that you can calm down in session, even a little, we will doing some work on the memories that do not stay in a container. Together we will make a plan, target and zero in on the specific events and then bring it all back down to neutral or calm. No two sessions or plans look a like, this is all about your needs and wishes.
Clients have told me in the past that with “regular” therapists, meaning talk therapy, they were asked to word vomit their entire distressful experiences. Then what? We’re expected to just stuff it all down and leave. I don’t want you to ever leave feeling worse than when you came in, or logged on. We feel trauma, so if we bring things up, we will bring them back down, using the same skills we learned to help with the day-to-day.
But You May Still Have Questions About Trauma Therapy…
What If Trauma Counseling will make it works.
So you’re not thinking about it at all? You don’t already think about every time you were hurt when you are hurting today? We think It will bring up the memories more but the truth is we are already overflowing with the memories. Bringing it out in the open validates the pain and the hurt that you are feeling in a whole new way. It’s true that trauma counseling may tribal issues that are buried deep. And you are considering trauma treatment because you need help healing from abuse you already think about. Trauma therapy can give you back control over your mind and body.
Is this like hypnosis?
There are two main differences between hypnosis and EMDR. When someone tries to hypnotize you they are trying to get you to a very relaxed state. In Emdr we work you up a little bit with focusing on distressing memories and then after we have gone as far as you can or time allows, then we use the skills that we know calm you down. Skills you can and should do on your own between sessions. Second, in Emdr we are keeping one foot firmly grounded in the present and one in the past, we are not going anywhere, just looking back. You will be awake and aware of everything and full in control of your body.
Sounds too good to be true
You’ll believe it when you see it. That’s the short answer. AND it’s a lot of work. You’re not looking for a quick fix, because we know that quick fixes don’t work and make things worse. You’ve tried that. You’re ready to dig deep and put in the work to get the great benefits out of this healing journey. If you read the above link for more information and research on this therapy, then you already read some of the studies show that 84%-90% of single-trauma victims no longer have post-traumatic stress disorder after only three 90-minute sessions. That is 3 sessions 90 minutes each for a single trauma. I do not know if I have met someone that only has one trauma but it’s proof that we can and do heal. I know this therapy works, because it worked for me, and it continues to work for me. I would never ask a client to do something that I am not willing to do myself.
You Can Heal From Trauma Too
If you would like to schedule an appointment or discuss any questions you may have regarding Trauma Therapy, I am available at (234) 600-8200. I try to get back to all voicemails and email within 24-hours.