EMDR Can Help Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse

 

EMDR Can Help Adult Survivors of  Childhood Sexual Abuse

 

Carol Boulware, Ph.D., is extensively trained in EMDR techniques. As an EMDRIA Certified Therapist, she has successfully treated adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse with EMDR for more than 25 + years.

sexual-trauma-abuse-childs

 

One of three females and one of five males are victims of sexual abuse before the age of 18 years old, according to childtrauma.org. In addition, the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (AAETS) reports that 40 percent of female children, and 30% of male children are molested in some way during their childhood.

 

If you experienced sexual abuse as a child, you are far from being alone.  Sexual abusers are often people who are trusted, such as a provider of the child’s care, a teacher, coach, or a member of the family.

 

Trauma from childhood sexual abuse can show up in adults in a number of ways – as depression, insomnia, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and drug or alcohol abuse. They may not be able to truly enjoy sex; or may become over-active sexually, or may shut down their sexuality completely.

 

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse often feel as though they are “stuck,” or feel hopeless. They are usually unaware of the connection between their feelings as an adult and their childhood experiences. Often, the hidden trauma of sexual abuse sabotages the adult survivor’s relationships.

 

 

Every individual reacts to childhood sexual abuse in ways that are unique to them. However, here are some of the experiences that many survivors share:

  • Sadness, fear and anger that sometimes seem unmanageable or overwhelming.
  • “Flashbacks” of what occurred at the time of the sexual abuse; usually with flashing mental images of the abuse. These memories are usually triggered by and an event, sound, smells or action that is reminiscent of the abuse or abuser.
  • Sleep disturbances and nightmares. Possibly because children are frequently abused in their rooms or beds.
  • Dependency on alcohol or drugs, or eating disorders that cover feelings of humiliation, shame and low self-esteem.
  • Gynecological problems, back, neck or stomach ailments that persist, even with treatment.
  • Panic attacks, feeling physically disconnected, or numbing in the body.
  • Difficulty developing and maintaining close relationships.
  • A strong desire to live isolated from others or “hide away” from life experiences.
  • Depression, self-mutilation or suicidal thoughts.
  • Promiscuity, avoidance of sex, or unable to experience orgasms or erections.

 

If abused by someone they trusted, feelings of betrayal can be triggered when an adult survivor’s relationship becomes intimate. They will pull back their emotions and sexual feelings, and may even end the relationship, rather than deal with the anger, guilt and fear they have avoided for years.

 

It is possible for adult survivors of sexual abuse to change trauma-based patterns that are interfering with their ability have a fulfilling life.  The first step is to start talking about it – with your relationship partner, a friend, or a trained professional.

 

Psychotherapy or sex therapy can help adult survivors of abuse begin to release the pain and trauma that are negatively affecting their sexual health, relationships and well-being.

 

Major strides have been made in developing methods for treating victims and survivors of child abuse, including therapies that are very effective for children as well as adults.

 

Among the most successful is Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – an extensively researched treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The EMDR therapist gently guides the client in using eye movements and other repetitive patterns to help the brain “process” or release the intense images and feelings experienced during abusive events.

 

With EMDR, the client establishes a new, empowered “view” of the abusive incident, focusing on positive actions rather than negative re-actions to emotional triggers. When the painful memories are finally processed, related issues and symptoms are resolved or neutralized. Since EMDR works much faster than talk therapy alone, it is an excellent choice for children and adults who find it difficult to talk about their experience.

 

Every survivor of sexual abuse should receive professional counseling or EMDR treatment in order to avoid or reduce PTSD symptoms.

 

The abuse you experienced as a child was not your fault.  It is never too late to begin healing and releasing the negative effects of the trauma.

 

Dr. Boulware’s practice serves the areas of Los Angeles, West Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Culver City, El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes, Torrance and Long Beach.

 

For a Free Phone Consultation or information for making an appointment:

 

 

(310) 374-4173 or text 310-365-8717
Day & Weekend Appointments

 

[email protected]