Child sexual abuse-Healing and Recovery program
For adults who were abused in childhood
This healing and recovery program consists of "one to one" Skype or telephone sessions and personalised recorded audio support as required. You can be based anywhere and still benefit from this specialised service with someone who really understands, cares and knows first hand how difficult your life is now even though you are an adult. If the abuse happened all that time ago in your childhood, you perhaps think you should be over it or others think you should be over it. If you read on you will understand why and how you are still being impacted, that it is not your fault that your life is still problematic. Find out how you can be helped, how you can heal from the inside out and have a life worth living.
Sessions with me are usually 1 hour. You can book and pay for individual sessions or prepay for 5 hours of sessions at a discounted rate. All major debit and credit cards and PayPal are accepted.
Contacting me, scheduling
- UK mobile: +44 (0)7973 780 852
- Skype: louisesmart123
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Landline: available for scheduled appointments only
Regrettably my available time means I am unable to reply to peoples' introductory emails recounting personal stories of abuse. So I welcome and encourage you to call or text me directly or email to set up a time to have an initial chat and explore how I can help you. We can discuss your queries and how to set up an appointment and go from there.
I do understand - it happened to me too
I personally experienced this type of abuse and have in depth practical knowledge of what is needed to recover and heal. So I am someone you can hopefully relate to and gain comfort and strength from my sharing of what has worked to help me and my clients. I use a multi faceted approach drawing from 21 years experience as a successful holistic practitioner working with the mind, body, emotions and energy systems. I also have clinical experience from working in a stress management unit at London Bridge Hospital and have worked in the corporate arena consulting at all levels of seniority. Consequently I am experienced at relating well to a broad range of people with differing backgrounds.
What the program does
The program is intended to help you in any way that is relevant to you to:
- get clear about what childhood sexual abuse is
- understand the extent of what happened to you and its ongoing impact
- understand and recover from stress, trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- understand why people remember or block out or minimise aspects of abuse
- unravel physical numbness, emotional numbness and confusion
- pacify, self soothe, reduce emotional neediness and insecurity
- manage panic attack, insomnia and debilitating painful symptoms
- understand how children assume responsibility - but are never responsible for abuse. Reverse and heal the effects from this assumption
- deal with problematic family members and those connected or directly responsible for the abuse
- reconnect to your INNER CHILD and reclaim your innocence and personal power
- unravel the hidden pattern of shame, guilt, self sabotage and self harm
- understand how strong feelings and sensations can be a constant discomfort or can be triggered and how to safely release them - anger, terror, helplessness, abandonment, immobility shame and self blame
- address unhealthy reactive patterns of behaviour, coping mechanisms, escapism and self medicating
- optimise holistic health – body and nutritional awareness and sexuality
- understand why you provoke or have been drawn into high risk situations i.e. - abusive relationships, work environments in adulthood and how to break the cycle of re-enactment or revictimisation
- build healthy relationships
- be self assertive, set boundaries, say what you mean and mean what you say
- learn to love yourself unconditionally from the inside out
- build self esteem and self worth
- unblock your creative power
- move from living out of threat into trusting life, others, yourself, your body and instincts to support you
A program that works with your uniqueness
This specialised program has evolved from my own tried and tested strategies and techniques. It is structured around your needs which reflect your uniquely personal experience and reactions to sexual abuse, the severity of it and how you have coped and adapted. There are similarities between people who have survived sexual abuse and trauma - especially with regard to emotional reactivity, however you, your body, particularly your nervous system will have been affected in a way that only you can know as a reality. So we always work and review progress taking your very personal story into account so that you know what to expect from yourself. There is no right or wrong pace for recovery as everyone’s circumstances and background are so different. Continued therapy and preferred intervals between sessions are always your choice.
How and where we work
We work by Skype (or phone if you prefer) so that you have the comfort of connecting with me from an environment that feels right for you wherever you are. I am highly skilled and experienced at tuning in and responding to clients and their needs and getting results without having to be in the same room. You will also have personalised audio recordings created for extra support. We always work at a pace that is gentle and respectful of any trauma so that you are not overwhelmed. As well as working to heal from abuse in your past we address any current, work, relationship challenges or stress. We do this because unmanaged present stressors can complicate healing from sexual abuse. It is important you feel in control of your healing journey and can take the attitude that there is no right or wrong way to progress because you are unique.
Without question this is a “heavy” life experience to recover from so I bring as much joy, laughter and hope to sessions as I can because it really helps keep things in a positive perspective.
More than a talking cure – this healing program is energetic and works with the “felt sense” and not just words.
My personal and professional experience has taught me that the “talking cure” alone is not always enough to heal from childhood sexual abuse. Reading up about it - will certainly help you understand yourself and may bring some temporary relief but it won’t heal trauma, the nervous system or transform deeply entrenched negative self beliefs or physical pain. Talking and reading about abuse can make some people actually feel worse if it triggers buried feelings and memories to the surface. You may already be aware of daily occurrences of anger, shame or fear being somehow linked to your abuse. This can be more than enough to cope with without the added intensity of reactions triggered by talking about the abuse. It can be overwhelming and counter-productive to progress if there is no way to resolve emotional reactivity as it arises.
Men and Women
Men in particular find talking about their problems can deplete their personal power because it can cause a testosterone dip. So any talking in sessions has to be highly constructive for men so that this aspect of therapy is productive. Women in general are more comfortable about opening up.
To heal the ongoing effects off abuse, I teach both men and women to understand themselves, to feel safe and to handle their reactivity both in and outside therapy sessions.
I have evolved a set of highly effective techniques to work with your energy and “felt senses” to resolve any emotional, physical or mental reactivity or trauma. The techniques will help you recover along with practical guidance to support you in daily life as you move forward and heal. Audio support carries the same holistic intent - to help you heal energetically at all levels, physically, mentally emotionally and spiritually.
The onion of discovery and wholeness
This program works a bit like taking the layers off an onion. Taken gradually and carefully, each layer takes you on an inward discovery and closer to your core wholeness. You will discover how each layer reveals more of your innocence, spontaneity, creativity and your real self. As you shed your layers you let go of the old you, the person who habitually or unknowingly reacts to the abuse, who constantly struggles with personal and professional problems. It is a liberating process that helps you feel a good deal calmer and worthy of a life that works for you rather than against you. You have a right to fulfilment like everyone else and this program is structured to empower you to claim that fulfilment.
Responsibility for healing
Healing from sexual abuse is not a predictable journey because everyone is different and responds in their unique way. My role is to guide, advise and support you in your healing and help you get back in touch with your instinct and power. But from the onset YOU must be the one to take responsibility for yourself and let your choices be guided by what feels right for you. I will always ask if you are comfortable with anything we do in sessions and respect your choices. It is your choice to heal and once you have set this intention, the impulses of your body and instinct will become your best guide above everything and everyone else’s perspective.
The way I work
I will always be upfront and open with you about what you can expect from me as a therapist. I reserve the right to stop therapy if I feel it is no longer helpful.
If you choose to report the abuse to the police and take legal action – please know that I support all positive assertive action. However I do not get professionally involved with legalities and no aspect of therapy with me can be referenced in any criminal or legal procedure.
It is not helpful to overload you here with information on childhood sexual abuse- so may I suggest you read it in intervals and take breaks. The following may be useful to give you some clarity and help you decide if you would like to work with me.
You don’t just get over it
People don’t just get over childhood sexual abuse because they become an adult. Trauma or stress can take hold in our nervous system and this is really the undischarged energy of overwhelming emotions – typically anger, terror, helplessness, abandonment and shame from the time of the abuse. These powerful emotions get bound up with our instinctual but thwarted survival impulse to fight or flee or freeze. Undischarged energy of strong emotions bound up with these thwarted survival impulses result in an incomplete response to arousal from threat. As a result, powerful pent up energy remains in our body’s neurobiology – typically anger, terror, panic, helplessness and shame. The trauma, this undischarged energy can stay locked in your nervous system for a long time – years - decades even. So as a result feeling constantly or frequently angry, frustrated, fearful or guilty, whilst uncomfortable becomes “normal”. On the other hand you may have suppressed things so successfully that you are numb to yourself, yet have a gnawing sense that something inside is not right. Unresolved, undischarged stress from trauma is what keeps people in a heightened state of alert and anxiety because the brain thinks there is still a threat to overcome. When emotions become particularly intense for no apparent reason, something, often a memory, or something similar to how you felt when a child has triggered and unleashed the undischarged emotions. Even though this is actually normal, people find it inconvenient and uncomfortable and often try to suppress the release all over again. Over time unresolved trauma creates a lot of problems and disappointments in daily life because the power of suppressed energy typically implodes as helplessness or depression or energy leaks out in the form of volcanic anger, rage, resentment or a desire for revenge. Without meaning to we can hurt those we love or work with which hurts and sabotages us in turn.
Safely resolving trauma
I teach clients how to use the “felt sense” in a controlled safe way to release strong feelings,energies or numbness from the body. This will significantly reduce the chance of a big emotional meltdown at the wrong time.
Unresolved trauma, being on heightened arousal can be why we experience insomnia, disturbed sleep, an inability to switch off and relax at will. It is why we can feel tired much of the time and experience burnout quicker and more frequently than others.
How we feel and act as a result and the pattern of shame
Where childhood sexual abuse is concerned, shame and self blame is not so much a choice, but a neurobiological reaction that bypasses logical or rational functions of the brain. Shame often stems from the assumption of failure and helplessness to follow though on instinctual urges to self protect or escape the abuse when you were a child. The brain is still developing and particularly vulnerable up until about 18 years meaning that the overwhelm of helplessness and failure leads to ongoing low self worth, weakened assertiveness, self doubt,guilt and failure to self protect in adulthood. The early presumption of failure can create a sense of dread that nothing in life will ever work. It can create a cycle of re-enactment like a self fulfilling prophesy, compelling you into threatening personal and professional situations or relationships that make you feel immobilised, helpless, a failure, guilty and victimised all over again. The effect of shame is not easy to shake because people can carry it in their system without knowing, if it started early in development. This shame is often accompanied by the shame carried from feeling responsible for the abuse even though it is never a child’s fault - ever. Abusers are skilled at shifting the blame and responsibility – so that you don’t expose or tell on them. Abusers know children fear punishment as much as they love attention and affection. Abusers provide both attention and threat as a way of manipulating innocent vulnerable children to get what they want. If you feel shame or guilt it is very difficult to feel deserving of the good things in life. Shame causes us to self punish by sabotaging our relationships, careers and health because we don’t feel worthy to have them. We don’t self sabotage on purpose – it is an unconscious deeply buried impulse. This recovery program will help you let go of shame, restore your innocence and self worth through the transformative power of unconditional self love. This transformation leads to a sense of entitlement to the fulfilment in life that you unconditionally deserve. Nicely sounding self affirmations and words will not diffuse shame or most of the reactions to abuse. The process of unravelling the pattern of shame and replacing it with healthy entitlement has to be internally “felt”- there has to be a tangibly felt energy shift. The felt sense can bring a deep inner knowledge of innocence and entitlement that is profound and unshakeable once it is claimed.
Breaking the silence and secrecy
Many of us never tell on our abuser or ask for help because we were and are still too intimidated or stuck in shame or feel somehow responsible. Logically we know that telling the truth might threaten the family unit if the abuser is a relation or close family friend. Telling your family can prove to be very distressing for a number of complex reasons particularly if what happened to you is minimised or not believed. Protecting your parents’ or others’ feelings with silence and secrecy, carrying shame and feeling responsible for what is not our responsibility becomes a habituated response that we project onto all areas of our life. We don’t feel good about ourselves and have gnawing self doubt, difficulty setting boundaries, being heard and respected or expecting to get what we want or ask for. As children we have taken responsibility for something that we are not equipped to understand or deal with. The resulting overwhelm and prolonged secrecy produces the feeling that we are not enough; we can’t cope or it is unsafe to speak our truth. Life’s disappointments and ups and downs are viewed from a distorted perspective that is rooted in the reactions of overwhelm that are residual from the time of the abuse. We might habitually respond to everyday challenges, disappointments and stress with fear, immobility and helplessness – or we overreact by over-giving to get approval or extreme anger, resentment and seek revenge. The past is impacting the present until the undischarged energy in our nervous system is released. This brings a whole new feeling of courage and power to speak your truth and to defend your boundaries appropriately so that you are no longer ignored, disrespected or silenced.
We block our responses
When animals in the wild are threatened they instinctively run or flee or play dead (freeze) to protect themselves. Afterwards they automatically throw off any excess charged up energy from these responses by shaking or retaliating or thrashing about till the arousal energy is fully discharged. They don’t feel shame, or wrong or socially inappropriate about doing what comes naturally by angrily reasserting themselves! Animals complete the natural cycle of arousal and discharge from threat and don’t suffer ongoing trauma. But humans are more complex. We typically let logic override instinct. Frequently we stop the instinctual urge to discharge this pent up energy and reassert our power. We do this because it is too threatening to escape, retaliate or shake or express our angry feelings or speak up. We cope by suppressing the feelings, by minimising and often denying how bad things were and this sets a precedent in adulthood for denying our needs for nurturing and protection and speaking up or asserting ourselves. This is why sexually abused children often become adults who withstand injustices and ongoing abuses by habitually suppressing their feelings. With time they become increasingly numbed to their emotional pain. Suppression and denial can also result in physical pain and fatigue. Numbed suppression builds in pressure and can explode in frustration and anger when the denial of needs or ignoring of pain can no longer be tolerated by the body’s instinct for health, balance and survival.
Healing and reclaiming your instinct
Your primary needs, especially protective love were critically absent at the time of the abuse. Healing means reclaiming for yourself what you were denied so that you value who you are with a right to your needs and feelings and personal boundaries no matter what. We use the “felt sense” to rebuild inner security, support and self preservatory instincts. We embolden the child within you with courage and strength and self love and free expression. The upside of this is that your creativity will blossom too because the flow of creativity comes from the uninhibited child in us all that remains unbound and free.
A gentle programme
This programme will show you how to carefully unravel the layers of emotion, reactivity and behaviours that are linked to the trauma. I will teach you to understand and use your energy, how to relate to your body and how to soothe and nurture yourself so that you feel very different inside. Feeling different is what makes you think, act and experience life differently.
How you may have coped so far
Trauma – can be very well hidden by our coping mechanisms. Coping for instance can mean avoiding stressful situations and anything that reminds you of the abuse or the abuser in case it triggers the old feelings or memories and overwhelms you. Avoidance can be extremely limiting because all of us meet stressful challenges that we need to overcome to keep growing and evolve. But more challenges on top of trauma can defeat you more easily making you more vulnerable and very tired too. With a nervous system that is in constant arousal our ability to cope with daily stress, to switch off and relax and sleep when we need to is impaired. So living with fatigue or tiring easily or burning out, is normal but certainly not natural.
Coping for a lot of people can mean escapism with drugs, alcohol, food, and assorted intoxicants and stimulants. This is a completely understandable attempt to stabilise emotions and a way to zone out and get some respite. Despite any temporary relief we know the downside can be addiction and dependence, health and body issues which further complicate healing and impact life and relationships. Stimulants and intoxicants also make the body acidic which actually increases the feeling of stress. It is not the solution in the longer term.
Re-enactment and revictimisation
Many people – unconsciously re-enact, by this I mean they repeatedly provoke threat to themselves or get into threatening, abusive and all manner of risky personal or professional situations and feel victimised all over again. From the outside re-enactment looks like stupidy, self abuse or self sabotage but this is a superficial assumption. Re-enactment is actually the body asserting its instinctive intelligence and intention to heal the past, by provoking stress reactions that potentially trigger the release of stored trauma from childhood abuse. New threat always holds potential for successful escape, which eclipses the feelings of helplessness from failure to escape when the abuse happened in childhood. Successful escape from new threat and completion of the arousal cycle results in empowerment and healing.
However the healing potential in any new threat is rarely fulfilled because the rational mind will do what it did before and override the urge to discharge painful feelings because of fear. Without awareness of potential healing, re-enactment just makes life even more unworkable, painful and disappointing. The threatening feelings of vulnerability linked to abandonment for instance can be repeatedly provoked and re-enacted in adult relationships and this can be devastating. Only by resolving the trauma through understanding, by intentionally releasing the undischarged energies can there be healing. Then re-enactment won’t be unconsciously repeated and life can finally start to work as a result of healing from the inside out.
The body, mind,emotions and spirit work together as a highly intelligent organism. We need to work with our phenomenal instinct for wholeness and with our self preservatory senses to really know who we are as powerful beings who can heal and transform.
How to start
If you would like to find out more about how I can help, please contact me to arrange a time to talk and I can explain or clarify anything written here, answer your queries and schedule appointments.
My warmest wishes