Helping People Forget the Past and Face the Future

If there is one crime that the society commits against the children it is robbing them of their innocence. This is done through the hands of pedophiles who have no conscious and destroy a life even before it begins.

For victims, the effects of child sexual abuse can be devastating. Victims may feel significant distress and display a wide range of psychological symptoms, both short- and long-term.  They may feel powerless, ashamed, and distrustful of others. The abuse may disrupt victims’ development and increase the likelihood that they will experience other sexual assaults in the future.

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The statistical facts are quite shocking and this means that unless action is taken then there will be many adult lives destroyed. Children should be protected and at the same time counseled so that they can continue with their lives just as everybody else.

What are the first three facts you can tell others? Fact one: Today, 95 percent of child molestation can be prevented. We have the knowledge to stop it. Fact two: Today, living in the United States, there are 39 million adults who have survived child sexual abuse. Fact three: Today, more than three million American children are victims. Most of them are children, struggling alone, believing there is no adult who can help them. To help prevent child molestation from happening to the children closest to you, begin by telling others the basic facts.

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Adult survivors of child abuse need help or else they shall be lost forever. The impact of the abuse suffered during childhood is felt in three stages.

  1. Initial reactions to victimization: involving Post Traumatic Stress reactions;

Alteration in normal childhood development;

Painful affect; and

Cognitive distortions.

  1. Accommodation to ongoing abuse: involving coping behaviors intended to increase safety and/or decrease pain during victimization (i.e. memory suppression, denial, dissociation, accommodation syndrome; Stockholm syndrome).
  2. Long term elaboration & secondary accommodation reflecting: the impacts of initial reactions and abuse-related accommodations on the individual’s later psycho social development; and

The survivor’s ongoing coping responses to abuse related dysphoria. (Cognitive distortions, denial, memory suppression, dissociation, altered emotionality, impaired self-reference, avoidance, disturbed relatedness).

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The process of healing childhood wounds in adult is delicate and therefore for them to start the journey in therapy trust issues must be dealt with. There has to be great therapeutic relationship. This is because this relationship influences the entire process.

The relationship with the therapist must be the foundation of the therapeutic process with survivors, as it provides the context in which the traumatic memories and accompanying affect can be addressed. This relationship must address both transferential material and offer a realistic, present-day relationship. It serves two functions—facilitating the survivor’s integration of self and offering a corrective experience for the interpersonal damage to trust, dependency, and intimacy.

Addressing both these functions, crucial for effective treatment with survivors, presents special challenges. Increased sensitivity to issues involved in the resolution of sexual abuse experiences alone is not usually sufficient. Rather, alterations in the nature and structure of the therapeutic relationship, which include an increased emotional availability and responsiveness by the therapist as well as a greater responsibility for holding the literal and emotional content of the therapy, are often required.

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