Counselling for sexual abuse and rape
If you have been raped or sexually abused you are likely to have some complicated emotions about what happened. Counselling provides you with the safe space you need to explore and understand those feelings. There may be times when you dissociate (mentally tune out of a situation or conversation). You may also have flashbacks and nightmares, and feelings of anxiety or anger at unexpected times. These are all symptoms of the trauma you have experienced.
You may have experienced the abuse or rape recently and feel that you need to talk about the thoughts and feelings that can overwhelm you, and impact on your life. You may have been abused some time ago, and feel that now is the time to explore emotions and life choices that you have not looked at for years. We can use our time together to work through and past these experiences. When counselling survivors of sexual abuse I use our growing knowledge of the human brain, how it is affected by abuse and trauma, and how therapy can help with this.
Other forms of abuse
You may have been subjected to other, less obvious types of abuse like domestic violence, psychological and emotional abuse, financial abuse, gaslighting, or controlling and coercive behaviour.
Gaslighting is a form of control in which one person consistently and deliberately makes one person feel that they are constantly in the wrong, and imagining or exaggerating things. Coercive and controlling behaviour is linked to this.
Coercive behaviour is described as 'an act or a pattern of acts of assault, threats, humiliation and intimidation or other abuse that is used to harm, punish, or frighten their victim', and controlling behaviour as 'a range of acts designed to make a person subordinate and/or dependent by isolating them from sources of support, exploiting their resources and capacities for personal gain, depriving them of the means needed for independence, resistance and escape and regulating their everyday behaviour' (CPS website)