Psychotherapy works to help those who feel stuck or anxious, or who are experiencing an underlying sense of sadness about their lives.
Some of the common issues psychotherapy and counselling can help with are:
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The shame and devastating effects of abuse can last a lifetime and yet be never be fully come to terms with, despite what may have been decades of self-questioning and forms of acting out.
Part of the difficulty to process abuse is the very nature of trauma itself. Traumatic experiences, particularly those that have occurred at a young age, are definable as traumatic in terms not of the contingent details – the ‘seriousness’ say of the incidents – by dint of the fact that the abused person lacks the emotional and, crucially, conceptual tools to make sense of and process the experience. This is all the more the case when abusive relationships, whether sexually, physically or emotionally abusive, have featured loved ones. This impossibility to process the experience can, devastatingly, turn to a form of internalisation, where the victim of abuse rationalises the experience as normal, deserved or, even, ‘ok’.
The difficulty, then, of giving an authentic account of the experience coincides with the re-emergence of abusive situations in later life either as victim or, in some cases, perpetrator. Likewise, the narrating of the past and coming to a realistic assessing of current relationship dynamics is extremely difficult and requires sensitive handling by the counsellor. The traumas, and subsequent effects, of the past are brought into the therapy space and must be worked through in an open yet analytic atmosphere.
Psychotherapy offers a safe, non-judgemental space to talk through abusive memories and their effects in the present, whether these be current relationship dynamics, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or flashbacks and dreams.