Abuse and subsequent or resultant trauma can be experienced in a variety of ways - physically, emotionally, sexually, verbally or a combination of these.
Therapy for abuse-related trauma is usually a long-term commitment. The first abuse you may have experienced could have been in your childhood. With or without your awareness, you may have spent many years trying to deal with the pain of an abusive experience.
People who have been abused will have great difficulty trusting and so it is important to gently and carefully build a safe connection. In the early stages it is necessary to look at boundary setting and identifying ways and means that you can feel safe. A sense of self care and respect must also be established.
A traumatic event can involve a single experience, or can be an enduring or repeated event(s) that overwhelm your ability to cope or integrate the ideas and emotions involved. The sense of being overwhelmed can sometimes be delayed by weeks or years – or even decades – as you struggle to cope with more immediate circumstances in your life. Trauma can change the way a person develops, emotionally, psychologically and physically. Traumatic events can disrupt your memory, emotions, consciousness and and how you view yourself and your relationships. It can change how your brain, your mind and your body work.
In working with abuse and trauma, I believe it is vital to develop a safe, supportive, respectful and trusting relationship between the therapist and the client before exploring the issues relating to abuse and/or trauma.