Abuse

Do you know you were abused, but are afraid to seek help?
Do you often tell yourself, “I should be over this by now?”
Do you feel like you had to be the adult in your family?
Do you think you did something to deserve the way you were treated in your family?
Do you wonder about sexual abuse?
Do you wonder how to protect your child from sexual abuse?

There are reasons for your concerns! Physical, sexual and emotional abuse or neglect * cause deep wounds that can last a lifetime! The effects can negatively impact every aspect of life. Luckily, a person can heal from these experiences. In my practice, I have helped hundreds of people recover from abusive situations. As people recover, they begin to enjoy life and experience more pleasure.

There are many reasons that people are afraid to seek help. In the case of abuse, trust in authority has been damaged. I believe that abuse survivors need to learn to trust me in their own time. It might help you feel more courageous to reach out to a therapist if you get a personal recommendation from a trusted friend or if you make sure that the therapist is experienced with the kind of abuse you suffered. Of course, trusting your own instincts about choosing a therapist is most important. With two colleagues, I have developed a Consumers guide, The Counseling Process.

“I should be over this by now” is a very common “mantra” for survivors of abuse. You can feel deeply ashamed that you have not put the experiences behind you, not realizing how deeply traumatized you have been, and how normal it is for the effects of any kind of abuse to linger. If this is happening for you, you deserve to have help from someone who knows how to help you truly recover.

Victims of abuse often become overly responsible within the family, frequently trying to parent their own parent, taking over for the parent’s inadequacies. This creates its own set of problems, which I can help you to undo.

It is never OK to physically, emotionally or sexually violate a child. Children often make mistakes, but they never deserve physical abuse, ridicule or humiliation of any kind. A child is never responsible for sexual abuse, even if there was enjoyment or awareness that it was not right. A grownup has responsibility to set appropriate sexual boundaries for children. Abuse happens because a parent or grownup is unable to handle or manage his/her own feelings or, in some cases, because the parents are severely disturbed.

If you have questions about sexual abuse, you deserve an opportunity to explore this with a seasoned and trained therapist, who can help you decipher your own experience, without leading you to premature conclusions. Not all people who wonder if they were sexually abused find that they were. However, something is causing this concern and I can help you get to the bottom of it.

Since it was discovered how prevalent sexual abuse is, parents are very fearful this might happen to their children. This is understandable! Unfortunately, the media has generated a lot of unnecessary fear by focusing on the sensational, often ignoring the facts and allowing misunderstandings about sexual abuse to flourish. I have helped many parents, individually and in groups, sort through their confusion and fears, to learn what is most important in protecting their children and to learn how to talk to their children, in age appropriate ways. In addition, I can help a parent learn how to become sensitive to warning signs or symptoms of abuse.

*An often unrecognized form of childhood abuse is neglect. Neglect of a child can be more destructive to a child than abuse. In the case of neglect, a child has to grow up fast, thus becoming a pseudo grown-up. Often s/he has no idea what “parenting” s/he missed; have no internalized parental voices to help them through life or have made up internal voices which are often harsh, critical and faulty.