How might someone get over being abused as a child? How can I not be anxious in a relationship?
Was I sexually abused? How do I recover from years of abuse and the things it has caused?
Why do I sexualize every face-to-face encounter? Is there something wrong with me?
Every moment of our lives revolves around one quiet but essential centre: Our sexuality. From birth to death, we all are sexual beings and that sexual self powerfully impacts our lives and relationships with others.
When everything is working well, our sexuality can add incredible beauty and depth to our bondings with others. But, when abuse and trauma enters the world of our sexuality, the damage and havoc created is equally powerful and can impair and paralyze almost every area of our beings.
Instead of acting as a gateway for love and intimate attachment, the world of sexual intimacy can become a theatre for Anxiety, Panic Disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other Critical Stress Injury, and it very often is.
We understand that pain! Our years of listening to couples as they address this most personal and deep level of pain has taught us one key thing: Every couple is different and the first stages of couples sex therapy always involves us learning together.
We learn about your hopes and dreams for your relationship while you discover what it means to undertake trauma counseling for sexual violation and abuse.
What is trauma counseling for sexual violation? It's first and foremost the creation of safety. It's the restoration of a sense of meaning in and control over one's sexual destiny. It's returning to the person a sense of order and continuity in intimate life and the provision of a safe place to retreat to deal with frightening memories, emotions or experiences. It's breaking the power of meaninglessness and helplessness by rebuilding a person's faith in their ability to connect and attach in safe and healthy ways.
The most important task of sexual trauma recovery is the reestablishment of ownership of your mind, your body and your sense of self so you can feel free to know your own truth and experience your own feelings without becoming flooded with guilt or shame, feeling overwhelmed or simply disappearing.
While the initial goal of the combined trauma therapy and sex therapy exercises we use is always the creation of safety, the second most important goal is the creation of understanding. Understanding always happens on two separate but equally important levels: Understanding of how our history shaped us and understanding our reactions to such.
For example, if you conceal from yourself the fact that your grandfather molested you when you were a child, then your reactions to the things that trigger you will exist both without context and without language to make sense of them that goes much beyond, "I'm anxious." You will, of course, be aware of how those explosive reactions and irrational behaviours will appear to others and will seek to control them, but that mostly means avoidance and inhibiting yourself.
Suppressing information and hiding core feelings is really you waging a war against yourself that slowly erases a sense of identity, purpose and even your sense of being a self.
Keeping secrets also drains an enormous amount of energy, kills desire for other life goals and leaves you bored, alone and awash with stress hormones which lead to aches, pains, bowel problems and a vast array of sexual dysfunctions.
Learning to allow yourself to know what you know allows you to identify the source of those trauma responses and begin to find a sense of order and meaning in them.
Gaining an understanding of our history not only allows us to understand our internal reactions, that understanding also allows our confusion to fade so we clearly see where we are trapped by our own responses to trauma and have become stalled in our process.
Understanding the Stages: There are four key stages of trauma response:
The above is a natural process that our hearts are wired to move through. Many people progress through those steps without any outside help. However, sometimes the wounds are too deep or the resources needed to heal them seem so inadequate that any forward movement seems impossible.
That's where our knowledge and experience can help with both the creation of a safe space in which to heal and then providing the resources needed so you can resume the journey towards health and wholeness that your heart was made to follow.
Usually, that starts with your primary relationship...
Sexual trauma focused marriage counselling Calgary:
As stated earlier, the best couples therapy Calgary has to offer in the area sexual abuse, intimate partner abuse and other trauma to our sexuality will always, first and foremost be about the couple relationship. Intimate violations are violations of trust, attachment and they damage not only our persons, they also damage our ability to relate to others in secure and trusting ways. Research has repeatedly shown that (Within reason) the skill of the therapist and the type of abuse and trauma therapy used actually matters relatively little compared to the impact of a secure couple or marriage relationship. As such, we first work to heal and relieve the relational damage of abuse.
Marriage Mediation Calgary: Sexual trauma damages our ability to relate to others in a healthy and effective manner in a wide variety of ways including the creation of powerlessness, a constant fear of betrayal, ambivalence, sexual disfunction, addiction, compulsive disorders, diminished self worth and other direct alterations of our relational style. Obviously, it's unlikely that any couple relationship even could be a safe place within which to heal if the above list is not first addressed.
That's why we start by understanding, mediating and working to heal the couple relationship in these key areas so frequently damaged by sexual trauma:
Not all of the above can be immediately changed - but much of it can be significantly moderated and the rest can at least be named and understood by both partners. Instead of each person viewing the other as an enemy who is punishing, depriving and controlling love, we help couples identify and unite against the real enemy. We then work together to defeat those things that stand in the way of the secure attachment and the safe place to heal that will ultimately give both members of the couple the love they want.
All of the, "Bad language," and, "Therapist Swear Words," psychologists use: Trust, vulnerability, desire, self awareness, self acceptance, passion, intimacy, relationship and closeness are hardly just an attempt to stress traumatized people (who often desire anything but the risks that those words require.) All of those terms rest on a core understanding that healing from sexual trauma absolutely demands a safe relational space.
Real healing never just focuses half of the problem and ignores the rest. It takes an integrated and individually designed plan that that includes all necessary elements of Couples Counselling or Marriage Counselling, Trauma Counselling and Sex Therapy to create a wholeness that extends to every part of the person.
If you'd like more than a bandaid and long to really live again, then reach out and book your first Sex Therapy Calgary appointment today!