Sexual abuse is a trauma that greatly affects your life on many levels, but the extent of its impact depends upon your coping tools. Regardless of how long you have been battling with the terrible ordeal you suffered, a licensed, extensively trained and significantly experienced trauma counselor can guide you to a safe place of healing. You may feel that because you are still dealing with the trauma months or years after it occurred that you’ll never been free of the hold it has on your life. It’s never too late to move forward from sexual abuse and Jan Rakoff, LCSW, can help.
The Effects of Sexual Abuse on Your Life
A few months to years after the sexual abuse occurred, you may find that you are still dealing with its negative effects. In the months following the trauma, you may experience the 5 Stages of Grief and, at any time, you may begin to suffer from the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
● 5 Stages of Grief: When you experience sexual abuse, it can provoke feelings of grief at the loss of your sense of safety and trust and propel you into the 5 stages of grief, which are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. You may also experience the stages of grief if the attacker was someone close to you with whom you shared a bond. It can be particularly difficult to deal with these 5 stages of grief when you are also experiencing memories of the trauma, which is why effective coping skills and a reliable, trustworthy counselor are beneficial to the healing process.
● PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is typically known as the collection of symptoms soldiers experience when returning home after war-time duty. However, PTSD is very commonly experienced by survivors of sexual abuse. It is characterized by the following: an exaggerated startle response; intrusive thoughts about the trauma; reliving of the trauma by way of thoughts, flashbacks and/or physical discomfort; mild to severe anxiety; emotional outbursts that may or may not include aggression; avoidance of anything that may remind you of the trauma; insomnia; recurrent nightmares; lack of self-esteem; feelings of hopelessness; guilt that results in blaming yourself for the trauma; avoidance of intimate relationships; problems with memory; engaging in destructive behaviors; and lack of meaningful participation in life. PTSD can last a significant period of time and its effects may feel unbearable, but professional counseling can lessen its impact on your life.
An expert trauma counselor, like Jan Rakoff, LCSW, can provide you with a safe environment in which you can explore your thoughts and feelings surrounding the sexual abuse and teach you the coping tools that will allow you to live a more fulfilling life despite the trauma. If you are in the San Diego area, call Jan Rakoff, LCSW, today at 858-481-0425 to begin the process of healing.