Psychotherapy Services in South West London

Resilience in trauma

Sexual abuse victims are almost always burdened with the shame of having let it happen. Such feelings are irrational and very hard to overcome. It seems difficult for adult clients to make allowances for the fact that they were small dependent children. Some more recent writers point to the need – as early in the treatment as possible – to address the ways in which the client resisted the abuse, to offset the feelings of shame. It is suggest that, alongside each history of violence, abuse and oppression, there runs a parallel history of prudent, creative and determined resistance. When clients are questioned about what their bodies did, what their minds did at the time of abuse, one learns about all sorts of ingenious things, both physical and behavioural, that young children engaged in, in order to expose or prevent the abuse from continuing. Recognising these ways of “fighting back” can restore some self respect to the shamed client.

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