A large part of my counselling practice is supporting survivors of current and historic abuse. Abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial or sexual. It can also involve a wide range of controlling behaviours, such as threats, harassment and isolation from family and friends.
It is common for survivors of abuse to experience symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Flashbacks are a reliving of past memory and re-experiencing the same feelings as before.
Panic attacks are feelings of sudden and intense anxiety often accompanied with extreme physical symptoms, such as breathlessness, dry mouth, sweating and dizziness.
People who experience panic attacks often feel as if they are dying as they cannot catch their breath.
Symptoms of trauma are often severe and have a significant impact on a person’s day to day life. There can also be nightmares and repetitive distressing images or memories.
People who experience abuse are often left feeling worthless and ashamed. There can be an avoidance of relationships as it is difficult to trust that people will not hurt them again. Sometimes, people may worry that they are stuck in a pattern of unhealthy relationships.
Trauma work can be daunting so it has to be managed sensitively and at your pace. Usually, I start with some stabilisation techniques so that you feel confident in managing any distressing symptoms.
When you feel stabilised, the counselling can explore and process feelings around the abusive relationship(s) so you no longer feel stuck in it. At times, I psycho-educate about abuse and relationships to enhance your understanding and confidence in noticing warning signs or “red flags”.
Previous clients have expressed feeling empowered and resilient as a result of trauma counselling. Their PTSD symptoms have reduced and they are able to re-integrate into the world and form healthy, secure relationships due to recognising their self-worth.
If you would like to discuss your experiences of abuse and would like some support, please call or text on the number below or use the contact form to get in touch.