Emotional distress does not heal itself. Time , marriages, children, success, wealth, buying a bigger house, or faster car, changing jobs or relocating will not CURE it. The damages are deep, pervasive and profound. It is a soul injury. The survivor of emotional distress is robbed of his or her innocence, core identity and trust. It is ‘violence’ that does not require force. The child is thrown into a state of shock. For some the memories remain conscious, while others drive them beneath the conscious level. These coping mechanisms are carried into adulthood and impact the person’s life on every level.

If a professional asks: “What is wrong with you?” or “What happened to you?” find another professional. Asking, “What is wrong with you?” or “What happened to you?” implies blame, sickness and fault. Asking, “What did you experience growing up?”–allows the person to begin the process of discovering the source of their pain and healing the wounds.

What is your approach to the recovery process? The basic recovery process is: Discovery, Heal, Discovery, Heal. Processing feelings and uncovering the layers of pain. “Going into the Pain to get out of the Pain.” “There is no gain without pain.” If the professional is unable to give you a process similiar to this, thank the professional for their time and call another professional.

Do you allow short phone conversations (10 – 15 min.) between sessions? If the answer is, “NO.” Thank the professional for their time and call another professional. Being able to have short phone conversations between sessions is paramount to the survivor’s ability to develop the deep level of trust required to go through the healing process. Furthermore, people aren’t only in pain on Tuesday at 3 p.m. The recovery process is a 24/7 proposition, the professional’s support between sessions is critical to recovery.

What are the critical emotional issues in the recovery process? The correct answer is: Anger/Rage, Sadness, Fear, Guilt Shame, and Humiliation. If the professional is unable to readily list these 6 emotions, Thank the professional for their time and call another professional.

What tools and techniques do you use to facilitate the recovery process? If the professional is trained in sexual abuse recovery, he or she will name all of the following techniques: Guided Imagery, Therapeutic Journaling, Dream Analysis, Using Affirmations, Using the book, “The Courage to Heal Workbook” by Laura Davis, Hypnosis/regression, Cell Memory Releasement.

The following techniques, or some variation, are optional, but highly recommended:

  • Meditation
  • Exercise
  • Dance
  • Music
  • Movement Therapy.

What is the difference between treating ‘symptoms’ and treating ‘root cause?’ Treating symptoms focuses on the symptomatic coping mechanisms the survivor used to survive the pain, i.e. drug/alcohol abuse, eating disorders, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, co-dependency, OCD, chronic fatigue syndrome, migraine headaches, arthritis, cancer, MS, sexual addiction, etc. Treating ‘root cause’ focuses on the experience the survivor endured–the sexual abuse and the ensuing aftereffects. Uncovering the pain and healing the emotions associated with that pain. Note: Question above regarding the emotions indigenous to sexual abuse. See aftereffects list. Aftereffects of Sexual Abuse/Assault

Last, but not least, if the professional fails to answer any one of these questions with similar or exact answers thank him or her for his or her time and call another professional. If you are unable to find a professional through the yellow pages or referral contact www.drdorothy.info and Ask Dr. Dorothy.

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