What is meant by the term abuse and how do we know if we have suffered it? The types of abuse that might first come to mind are sexual abuse and childhood sexual or physical abuse. However abuse covers a wide spectrum of psychologically detrimental experiences and can occur on a sexual, physical, emotional or mental level at any age. Some types of abuse are easily identifiable or are widely known and spoken about in society, receiving media coverage. Other forms of abuse are less spoken of and can consequently be less easily identified by the sufferer or those around them. This means that individuals can struggle on for long periods in an abusive situation before realising that something is not right and seeking help. Alternatively they may only realise in hindsight or by talking to others that what they thought was a normal situation was actually not at all healthy for them.
Abuse leads to lowered self-esteem and can be accompanied by feelings of embarrassment and shame. Anger and even rage are also very common feelings as well as a sense of isolation and helplessness. It is common for the person being abused to blame him or herself or become highly self-critical which leads to a vicious circle of negative thoughts. This in turn can lead to self-destructive behaviours such as self-harming or coping mechanisms to numb pain such as alcohol and substance abuse. Often those who have suffered abuse, especially on a long-term basis in childhood have learned that others are not to be trusted and this can lead to difficulties in seeking support from professionals or even reaching out to friends and family. It can also lead to panic attacks, OCD or anxiety disorders including isolating from others and fear of leaving the house. Sometimes abuse can lead to mixed and paradoxical feelings especially if an individual suffered abuse at the hands of a loved one. They may feel protective towards them or fearful of losing them despite the abuse.
By calling 0207 118 0407 on of our clinical care-coordinator will get in touch at a time that suits you. They will listen to you carefully in order to understand your situation and advise you on the most suitable treatment approach. Everything you say to them will remain strictly confidential and they will only call you when it is convenient for you. Should you prefer only email contact then they will respect that. They will ask you how long the abuse has been going on for and if it is recent or in the past. They will be interested to know how it is impacting you now and what support you have in place. They will also enquire what you hope to get from therapy and the resources that you have available. With this information they will make an informed decision based on your needs and the skill sets of our many highly expert and recommended practitioners as to whom could work with you best. Each of our select practitioners has been trained to identify and treat different forms of abuse in a caring and sensitive way. We recognise that some of you may have experienced a mixture of different types of abuse. We are also aware that you may have mixed feelings about undertaking treatment. Our role is not to tell you what to do or judge you but rather to provide the support that is so crucial and often very lacking in those who have bravely carried on while experiencing abuse. As well as providing a safe and secure place, a warm and empathic practitioner will aid you to achieve greater awareness of your situation, to gain a more informed perspective and to develop your self-esteem. They may also work with you to resolve the impact of the abuse on your day-to-day life and sense of wellbeing. Most importantly they will adapt the therapy to suit your needs and your pace. This is essential since with every form of abuse there has been a subtle or not so subtle erosion of power. Therefore we regard therapy as taking an important and courageous step towards empowering yourself and regaining control over your life.