Psychology Blog & News

How Does Therapy Start the Path in Healing From Sexual Abuse?

How does therapy start the path in healing from sexual abuse

Getting therapy can be a crucial step in healing from sexual abuse. Here are some things to think about as you get started.

Emotional patterns

Having an understanding of emotional patterns associated with sexual abuse can help survivors and their loved ones on their path towards healing. These patterns can include sexual promiscuity, feelings of worthlessness, depression, and difficulty trusting others.

Whether sexual abuse was physical or sexually verbal, it’s important to have a safe, nonjudgmental place to explore these feelings. Therapists can help by guiding clients to explore their emotions.

Survivors often need multiple sessions per week. They may also need a support group or a trusted friend.

In order to make a lasting healing, a client needs to understand why they were abused. Educating the client about the experience will help them to connect with their feelings and release their shame.

Abuse bonding occurs when a person forms an unhealthy attachment to a person who abused them. In some cases, this bond can remain even after the person leaves the harmful situation. In other cases, the bond is broken. During this process, the abused person may rationalize the abuser’s actions and even feel loyalty to the abuser.

Survivors may feel anger, sadness, and fear. These emotions can be difficult to deal with. However, they are a natural reaction to losses. They may also bring deep appreciation for the suffering.

Disturbing memories may also need to be addressed. These memories may be associated with fear, retaliation, or safety. They can be difficult to process and may prevent a person from taking care of themselves.

Therapists can help clients recognize their habitual behaviors and beliefs. These patterns are often attempts to repair abuse and reconcile the experience. They may also lead to further psychological damage.

Therapists can also help clients overcome their fear of therapy. Having a safe environment to share their story with a therapist can be a daunting experience.


Among the most common symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is self-blame. Self-blame can cause recovering victims to harm themselves. Fortunately, there are several steps that victims can take towards healing. These steps include cognitive restructuring, which can help victims to reduce their guilt and shame.

Behavioral self-blame is a psychological model that describes a tendency to blame oneself for a situational behavior. It implies that a victim retains some control over the risk of experiencing a future assault.

However, no studies have examined the impact of post-assault recovery on self-blame. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationships between four blame attributions (perpetrator’s responsibility, personal responsibility, cognitive restructuring, and avoidance coping) and the associated psychological outcomes.

The attributions are associated with different effects on psychological and health outcomes. The best-fitting model was not fully cognitively mediated. However, it provided a better fit for the data than the other three models.

Compared with other types of self-blame, characterological self-blame was the most effective at predicting symptomatology. This type of self-blame involves demeaning one’s own personality traits and blaming one’s own behaviors for sexual assault. It can lead to low self-esteem and low self-worth.

On the other hand, the least-effective attribution was the “maladaptive belief about others.” It had the least-significant effect on psychological distress.

There were two primary reasons for this finding. One, the “best-fitting model” did not have a logical explanation, and two, the real reason behind trauma is not always obvious. The real reason for the existence of self-blame does not always involve the abuser. Instead, it can be due to a lack of motivation or a lack of control.

The study also identified a significant correlation between attributions of personal responsibility and the impact on self-blame. This correlation is not only a good predictor of self-blame, it also suggests a connection between responsibility and symptomatology.

Finding an outlet for your emotions

Whether you are recovering from sexual assault or simply coping with stress, finding an outlet for your emotions is a critical part of the healing process. While recovery takes time, there are a number of ways to get your emotions out, including art therapy, journaling, and writing.

Trauma is stored in the brain in feelings, pictures, smells, and touch. The brain has been found to process information through several adaptive strategies, such as breathing, which changes the way we feel and experience things.

Art therapy is an effective and healing way for survivors to process emotions. The process of creating art releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine, which produce feelings of happiness. Survivors can also use music to help them release emotional energy.

Writing is a powerful way to express emotions. Survivors can write in a variety of ways, including fiction writing, poetry, and even creating original music. Incorporating flashbacks into your writing can be overwhelming, but it can also be an effective way to process emotions.

Art journaling is a great way to collect meaningful images and words. Art journaling can be done as a daily activity or as part of a healing ritual. Survivors can also participate in an art therapy group to process feelings.

Art therapy can be an effective way for survivors to work through complex emotions, like fear and grief. It is also an effective way for survivors to gain a deeper understanding of what happened.

Art therapy may also help survivors develop confidence in their emotions. Survivors will learn to feel their feelings without judgment.

Survivors may also benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches survivors to let go of dysfunctional thinking patterns. This type of therapy also helps survivors develop mindfulness, which can reduce anxiety and depression.


EMDR therapy is a powerful tool for helping victims of sexual abuse. This form of therapy can help reduce the intensity of a traumatic memory, and allow the survivor to move on with her life.

The EMDR treatment method uses a variety of techniques to change the way the brain processes traumatic memories. These techniques include a combination of bilateral brain stimulation and positive and negative cognitions.

In the first session, the psychotherapist asked Mary to recall her worst memory. She felt complete terror, and choking. She also had a hard time sleeping since the incident.

The psychotherapist asked Mary to keep a log of her thoughts and feelings between sessions. She also warned her that she might have disturbing dreams or thoughts between sessions. She also told her she was in the midst of learning to process her memories.

During the EMDR phase, Mary held the image of the traumatic event in her consciousness. She also learned to perform relaxation techniques.

While there is no hard and fast rule that EMDR is the best treatment for sexual violence, it can be very helpful. The psychotherapist will determine which method is best for the client, based on her unique situation.

An ideal client for EMDR has a positive rapport with the therapist, is willing to commit to the treatment, and is not undergoing other medical treatments, including chronic pain, current or past sedation with medications, or a history of drug abuse. She should also have no competing concerns or significant social network issues, such as desire to maintain a strong identity with other sexual violence survivors.

Although EMDR may be effective for women suffering from sexual violence-induced PTSD, many women are not candidates for EMDR. Women with PTSD may need more than one therapy to address their symptoms.

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Survivors of sexual abuse need to know that they can heal from trauma. There are many types of therapy available to help them recover. Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of them.

This therapy can help survivors to change distorted thinking patterns and learn how to abandon unhealthy behaviors. It can also help them develop new skills. Survivors can learn to develop coping skills, assertiveness, and problem-solving skills.

CBT can help survivors deal with anxiety and depression. It can also help them develop new skills and change dysfunctional thinking patterns.

Survivors of sexual abuse need to be aware that healing from trauma will take time. Survivors may have a hard time relating to friends and family, or they may have difficulty dealing with everyday tasks. They may also feel guilty about the sexual abuse. This may cause them to have disruptive behaviors.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has proven to be effective for patients with complex PTSD symptoms. It can also be combined with medication. Some of the therapies used include CPT, EMDR, and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy.

The TF-CBT model has been proven effective for treating children who have been abused. The protocol uses a psychosocial model and gradual exposure. It teaches children to talk about their trauma, and teaches coping skills. It can also be used to help children overcome the effects of sexual abuse.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can be effective for children who have been sexually abused. It can be administered online or in an office setting.

Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy is an evidence-based treatment for children with sexual abuse histories. It can also reduce the risk of relapse.

Survivors of sexual abuse need a compassionate therapist. They can be hesitant to share their story. They may feel ashamed or fear retaliation from the offender. They may also feel ostracized by those who don’t understand them. They may also feel guilty and blame themselves for the abuse.


Check out our monthly newsletter and subscribe to your topics!

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Ready to get started, Get our Newsletter and join the Community!

Psychology Articles & News

Other Psychology articles that may be of interest