Therapy for Sexual Abuse Survivors and Sexual Trauma Survivors
At Denver Colorado Counseling, Alexandra Leaderman LPC specializes in the treatment of childhood sexual abuse / sexual trauma.
- Are you feeling sad, anxious or depressed?
- Are you struggling with feelings of self-doubt, inadequacy, poor self-esteem or feeling that you may harm yourself?
- Do you feel that others feelings are more important than your own?
- Do your relationships lack the depth, length and intimacy that you desire?
- Is it difficult to trust yourself and others?
- Are you not achieving the success both personally and professionally that you want in life?
These are just some of the characteristics that survivors of sexual abuse often feel. For many years Alexandra has helped people who are struggling with their life issues. By giving them the necessary support in the safety of the therapeutic relationship, she helps them get past their self-limiting beliefs, so that they can enjoy the life they so richly deserve.
Alexandra has a great deal of experience working with the LGBT population and understand the unique challenges that they face, and have helped them live happy and rewarding lives.
She offers a free 30 minute consultation either by phone or in person at my office. During this time you will get a good idea if I am a good match for you.
Want to connect? Use the form below and message me today!
Effects of Sexual Abuse in Adults
The long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse are varied, complex and often devastating. As an adult who was sexually abused as a child, you may feel depressed, anxious and angry. Often people feel shame, powerlessness, shame, guilt, self-hatred, lack of trust, and have an inability to bond with others and have long-term relationships.
Most sexual abuse occurs within families by siblings, parents, stepparents, aunts, uncles and grandparents. Often the abuser is a friend, neighbor, baby sitter or teacher. Least often the abuser is a stranger. What determines the importance of sexual abuse in childhood is not the specific abuse that occurred, more so it depends on the impact the abuse had on the child and what feelings the child developed about the abuse.
If you were sexually abused as a child, there may be times when you have trouble being in touch with your bodily feelings. You may not know when you are hungry or feel sexual, or are tired. You may hate your body and not have good self-care skills. You may not eat well or get enough sleep, or abuse drugs, alcohol, food, sex or overwork in order to numb your emotional pain.
You may have trouble forming close relationships with others because trust is often a big issue because your trust was betrayed when you were a child. As an adult you may have trouble receiving affection without being suspicious that others are using you or will abandon you. Also, it may be difficult to say no to unwanted sexual contact or feel guilty about your sexual feelings.
The most painful effects of sexual abuse come from the damage done to self-esteem. Many children believe the abuse was their fault, and often some people end up hating themselves. You may fear that you will harm or sexually abuse your own children and you may be convinced that there is something different or wrong about you. You may be convinced that there is something different about you and the abuse you suffered as a child is often kept a secret and never discussed with anyone.
Many adults who experienced repeated painful sexual abuse remember that it happened, but feel it didn’t really affect them and try to live life by rationalizing that it could have been worse. You may forget how powerless and desperate you felt as a child to make the abuse stop and how you longed to feel safe, secure and loved.
Sometimes the feelings have been so separated from the abuse that remembering it is like watching a movie of someone else’s life or seeing a black and white picture. Only certain images may remain.
Healing from Sexual Abuse
This problem is extremely difficult to work on alone. It is important to seek therapy with a therapist who has the training and expertise in this area.
Some treatment goals for addressing this issue in individual therapy involve understanding your anger you may have at your parents because they were not the parents you wanted them to be; learning to manage your anger in healthy ways; learning better self-care; giving up older, destructive ways of coping and developing newer and more empowering ways of coping. You can become aware of your own power as an adult and your ability to change.
Even learning to trust a therapist is a major accomplishment and a big part of healing. You can benefit most from therapy when you can trust your therapist. Are you comfortable with your therapist? Do you feel heard; does your therapist follow your lead? Do you feel your therapist is strong enough to hold your intense emotions?
What is domestic violence?
Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control another person.
Examples of domestic violence include:
Isolating a partner from family and friends
Actual or threat to harm
Withholding money or stopping a partner from getting a job
Name calling, insults and put downs
Domestic violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or just once in a while. Victims can be any age, sex, race, culture, education, religion or marital status. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about the violence, and even if the child is not being physically harmed, they often will develop emotional and behavior problems.