Counseling for Sexual Trauma Victims

Counseling for Sexual Trauma VictimsCounseling is crucial for survivors of sexual trauma, and it is an important step in helping people process emotions from abuse. Sexual trauma is any sexual act performed on a person that creates significant distress. Unfortunately, many victims of sexual abuse avoid help for years, and many may never get help. The therapeutic steps offered during counseling help survivors of trauma handle the painful emotions that may surface at any point during day-to-day living.

Adults and Sexual Trauma Therapy

Adults who experience sexual trauma also commonly suffer with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). There are many ways to address sexual trauma and co-occurring PTSD, according to the National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center. Cognitive and behavioral treatments for sexual trauma are well researched and effective, according to the research center. The following four methods are options for survivors of sexual abuse:

  • Stress inoculation training—This method has three phases: education, skill building and application. It teaches patients the reasons behind fear and offers self-help strategies for managing negative emotions.
  • Prolonged exposure—This treatment reduces fear related to sexual trauma by exposing the victim to traumatic memories over and over. Eventually, these memories frighten survivors less and less, thereby weakening their power over the patients.
  • Cognitive processing therapy—In this treatment, counselors address trauma-related feelings through discussion and by offering techniques for developing healthy emotions
  • Multiple channel exposure therapy—This method teaches survivors how to identify panic symptoms, encourages them to discuss sexual trauma and then teaches that panic symptoms are not harmful.

In short, you can address your traumatic experience if you find the right kind of help.

Children and Sexual Trauma Therapy

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT) is a well-studied therapy that helps children, adolescents and caretakers deal with the effects of sexual trauma. The therapy works by giving survivors the ability to overcome negative thoughts and behavioral responses. TF-CBT uses scientific research about learning and the brain to alter feelings associated with trauma. Sexually abused children aged 3 to 18 and caretakers who did not participate in the abuse benefit most from this therapy. According to the Gateway, this treatment method strives to accomplish the four following goals:

  • Alleviate a child’s negative emotional and behavioral response to the sexual abuse
  • Change erroneous and unhelpful beliefs related to the abuse, such as believing that the survivor caused the abuse
  • Offer coping skills to parents not involved in the abuse
  • Give non-offending parents tools to support their children

Regardless of the age of the survivor, treatment is available to heal these patients.

Help Finding Counseling for Sexual Trauma

It is important to get the right help after suffering from sexual trauma. If you need advice on the best treatment, call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to share information and treatment options. Take the next step to a healthy, productive life, and call us today.