In the recent years, there has been a rise in the media of the child sexual abuse reporting. The child sexual abuse news reports have been disseminating into the public eye the shocking reality behind the abuse of power by people in authority as depicted in the film Spotlight, The Savile Scandal that exploded in 2012 or the most recent news report on the football sex abuse victims. These reports meant that the child sex abuse culmination in the media gave the victims a voice, recognition, and public support. It is unclear whether it has been the information technology boom that enhanced our communication strategies or the development of the psychology and psychotherapy that contributed to normalizing of sharing, healing, empowerment of the child sexual abuse victims to take courage, speak out and have their voices heard. For me as a practitioner, it has been an enormous relief to watch the victims of the child sexual abuse to receive the recognition, respect, and support from the public and in the media. My huge relief comes from and I am confident that the majority of practitioners will empathize with my frustration to maintain our confidentiality on issues that are of a controversial nature and deserve updated ethical guidelines on confidentiality concerning a greater support to victims that are being blackmailed and their lives threatened.
Whilst the recent news reports on the child sexual abuse shook the World and the reports are shocking and upsetting, for practitioners of counseling, counseling psychology, psychotherapy or psychiatry the task is to help these victims to recover and restore their lives. I have seen over the years a number of different child sexual abuse victims and I assisted my clients in restoring their lives. Some of the victims or targets of the child sexual abuse that came to see me had experiences that were unique and many shared some similarities. To start off with the client usually arrives feeling ashamed, traumatized, angry, or will complain about substance abuse that helps to numb the unwanted symptoms and disturbing memories of the past trauma. I have seen many such traumatized clients over the years going from feeling destroyed and struggling to make the most out of their lives and not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel to recovering, looking more positive, confident and in charge of our sessions. The recovery is the end result of anything from three months to six months of psychotherapy sessions but before that yes we will have to go over the unpleasant parts of the child sexual abuse and sometimes revisiting those unpleasant and disturbing traumatic memories and this is so that the client can retell the story in a controlled and safe therapeutic environment so we can resolve or update anything that maintains the current raw traumatic memories that interfere with the client’s life. The therapy is conducted and adjusted to client’s needs and pacing and traumatized victims should never be re-traumatised or forced to talk about issues they don’t want to or are not ready to talk about. It isn’t unusual for the traumatized clients that are targets or victims of the child sexual abuse to self-refer with outbursts of anger, substance misuse, shame, nightmares, confusion, guilt, chronic depression, high anxiety, issues with relationships, dissociation or experiences of not knowing who I really am. The counseling or psychotherapy of the trauma involves providing the client with a support in resolving the unresolved conflicts the client has with the traumatic material and building up their confidence. The therapy also involves some self-care skills and stress management, because the trauma is essentially stress- related disorder. The client could be also recommended conflict resolution skills and this is because many traumatized clients arrive into my practice with over-compensatory outbursts of anger strategies or with repressed anger and could be passive aggressive, which are counterproductive communication styles but of course, the personalised treatment plan will vary from client to client, because my counselling approach isn’t prescriptive but tailored to suit clients’ individual needs.
This short article provided my opinion and described some of my clinical experiences on the treatment of child sexual abuse and some symptoms that will drive clients to seek support. If you have been a victim of a child sexual abuse and if you suffer from depression, substance abuse, outbursts of anger, shame, guilt, high anxiety, relationship and trust issues that interfere either with your personal or professional life and if you would like to try to resolve it and work with me, please do not hesitate to enquire about a possible appointment directly on my number Leona Sears 07 505 124 933.