Healing from Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault
Sexual abuse can change how you see yourself and others. Survivors of sexual abuse often struggle with self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and PTSD symptoms, as well as not being able to trust others.
When I say sexual abuse or sexual assault, I'm including any type of sexual abuse, sexual assault, or rape. Whether it was a one-time experience or chronic abuse, it is significant and has long-lasting effects. It's common that people minimize the severity of what they went through. I think minimizing traumatic experiences is a way of trying to protect ourselves so that we can function day to day.
Knowing You Are Not at Fault
Often, sexual abuse survivors feel at fault. Perhaps, that is a way to feel some sense of control, because not being in control is so terrifying. Perpetrators also often say or imply that the victim is at fault. Of course, there is no way that a survivor could be at fault for the sexual abuse. Even if someone enjoyed part of the touch or wanted attention, kids and adults deserve safe and appropriate attention and safe touch.
Sexual Abuse by a Family Member or Trusted Friend
If someone is sexually abused by a family member or trusted friend, that can be so confusing and painful. The intense betrayal can bring up many emotions.
Unfortunately, the survivor can also feel like they are betraying a loyalty when they reach out for help.
Ways to Heal from Sexual Abuse/Assault
There are many ways to heal from sexual assault or rape. I primarily use EMDR therapy and mindfulness skills. I also use cognitive behavioral therapy. All three of these approaches are evidence-based.
Using EMDR Therapy to Heal from Sexual Assault
EMDR therapy can help you heal from sexual assault and other traumas. Often people have not heard of EMDR, but it is gaining in popularity. EMDR can help people heal more quickly compared to traditional talk therapy.
Using Mindfulness to Heal from Sexual Assault
Mindfulness skills can help you feel calmer and more in control of your emotional reactions.
Using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Heal from Sexual Abuse
Cognitive behavioral therapy can allow you to challenge the beliefs that you formed as a child or during the abuse. Common beliefs are "I am not good", "The abuse ruined me", "All people are untrustworthy", "I cannot protect myself", "I am not safe", etc. It can be so freeing to work through those beliefs and realize that you are good and that you can protect yourself now.
You Can Heal
I know it can feel very difficult, but you can heal and recover. I encourage you to find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and who has an approach that you think might work well for you. You are welcome to call me and ask any questions.
My Other Pages about Trauma and Sexual Abuse
Healing from Date Rape or Acquaintance Rape (my webpage)
Healing from Trauma (my webpage on healing from all types of trauma)
Healing from PTSD (my webpage)
Healing from Sexual Abuse (a blog post)
Healing from Trauma (blog posts about healing from all types of trauma)
Therapy Office in Sunnyvale
My office is in Sunnyvale, California on Wolfe Rd., near El Camino Real (also close to Santa Clara, Cupertino, and Mountain View). Parking is easy; there is a large parking lot.
1021 S. Wolfe Rd., Suite 255
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
I am a therapist/counselor in Sunnyvale, California. I work with adults, teenagers, and children. (LMFT Lic. # LMFT40414)
Please visit my therapy home page for more information about me.