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7 Ways To Heal From Sexual Trauma

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7 Tips For Healing from Sexual Trauma
Self

You can heal from sexual trauma.

Many clients come to see me because of symptoms due to molestation, rape, or any other sexual trauma. In previous articles, I've talked about the types of sexual trauma and how these traumas can affect sexuality.  

This article, though brief, will succinctly describe some of the things I do and recommend to help people heal from sexual trauma.  

Here are 7 keys to healing from sexual abuse and trauma:

1. Talk to people you trust.

Relationships are very important. Having loved ones or a friend or two to talk about the sexual trauma is a big part of healing. Talking gives the sexual trauma victim a chance to process the emotions and other parts of the memory but in addition, just the sense of feeling loved is very important for recovery.  

Therapists such as myself also know that we need to develop a deep and trusting relationship with the client. The client needs to feel safe and as long as the client feels safe, the foundation is being laid for therapeutic healing.

2. Try EMDR Therapy.

EMDR is amazingly effective and a relatively painless process to help sexual trauma victims get past their past. 

As a psychotherapist, I have been utilizing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to help clients with sexual trauma process the traumatic memory quickly, live in the present moment, and connect with their positive internal resources and strengths.  

I highly recommend EMDR for anyone who has experienced sexual trauma or trauma of any kind.

3. Do yoga and meditate. 

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Yoga and meditation are so helpful as it helps the trauma victim reconnect with his or her body and be in the present moment.  

In his classic book on trauma, The Body Keeps the Score, Bessel Van Der Kolk says that in addition to EMDR, yoga and meditation can help people heal from trauma and feel good in their bodies.  

I recommend a consistent yoga and meditation practice to my sexually traumatized clients.

4. Confront the perpetrator.

If possible and with the appropriate support in place, confront the perpetrator, if you haven’t already. The sense of powerlessness of being a victim can transform when the person who was victimized feels the sense of empowerment of taking care of themselves when confronting the perpetrator.  

I cannot emphasize enough that there needs to be good interpersonal support and the client needs to be in an emotionally stable place. If it is not possible to confront the perpetrator, whether it is because of death, distance, or some other reason, confront the perpetrator in your imagination.  

The benefits can sometimes be just as much than if done in the external world.

5. Find support groups.   

There are many groups that help adults molested as children, rape victims, and other victims of sexual trauma. These can be short-term groups or ongoing groups.

6. Get a qualified therapist to help you through this.  

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A therapist who is trained in this area will help you navigate through the challenges and help you heal utilizing all the 5 points made above as well as the 7th one below.

7. Involve your partner.

If you are in an intimate relationship, have the partner get involved in your healing. A loving, supportive, and mature partner can accelerate your healing by being a good listener; reassuring you and helping you associate touch and physical connection with positive feelings (with the help of a therapist). 

 

This article was originally published at Todd Creager's website. Reprinted with permission from the author.

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