Yes, Transformation/Recovery is possible. The recovery process requires a multifaceted process, facilitated by a professional who is trained in the recovery process. Traditional therapy is ineffective for sexual abuse recovery.

STAGE 1: Victim
Person identifies everything within the context of the abuse, resulting in difficulty functioning in daily life.

  • professional needs to establish a therapeutic foundation with the individual.
  • professional needs to educate and support the individual for the recovery process.
  • Grieving process needs to focus on specific details of the abuse experience.
  • One needs to GO into the Pain to GET OUT of the Pain. The majority of professionals neglect this important recovery process–thinking the person will be ‘retraumatized’ if done effectively that is not the case.
  • Identification of ‘triggers and how to diffuse them.
  • Identify barriers in treatment and how to overcome them.
  • Process Anger/Rage, Sadness, Shame, Guilt.
  • Identify themes in the trauma experience and how it impacts the person’s functioning.

STAGE 2: Survivor
Person identifies abuse as past and is functioning moderately, but maintains primary identity with the abuse.

  • professional establishes a foundation for deeper work.
  • Process Anger/Rage, Sadness, Shame, Guilt.
  • Address difficulties with partners and families and develop strategies to deal with them.
  • Identify long-term stress and complicated coping mechanisms–replace coping mechanisms with healthy effective behavior and attitudes. Dispel the chicken or the egg dilemma.
  • Identify and restructure belief system.
  • Prepare for and confront perpetrator(s) and co-perpetrators(s).
  • Therapeutic tools include: Guided imagery, therapeutic journeling, meditation, dream analysis, hypnosis/regression, exercise, dance, music, movement.

STAGE 3: Thriver
Person no longer primarily identifies with the abuse and abuse is integrated with the remainder of personal history resulting in healthy functioning.

  • professional establishes foundation for the thriver stage.
  • Individual developes healthy strategies for living life, able to deal with life’s issues with ease.
  • Individual lets go of sexual abuse identity and forgives perpetrator(s) and co-perpetrators(s).
  • Individual developes strategies to deal with some ‘flare ups’ of old behavior patterns.
  • Individual integrates the trauma with other life experiences–able to talk with ease about the experience of sexual abuse and by whom.

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