Abuse Counselling

Generally speaking, there are four categories of abuse: physical, emotional, sexual, and emotional and physical neglect.

Physical abuse can be defined as any action against a child that has the end result of physical injury or trauma that is not accidental. This often includes being beaten, kicked, slapped, punched or burnt.

Emotional abuse as with all forms of abuse can have a devastating effect on a child’s psychological and emotional development and on their long-term psychological and emotional health. This type of abuse often involves being regularly humiliated, shamed, criticised, ridiculed, ignored, and threatened with violence or abandonment.

Sexual abuse is when a child under the age of sixteen is used by an adult or older person for sexual gratification or pleasure. The most common perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse come from a child’s own immediate or extended family. The abuse may take the form of physical molestation including inappropriate touch or being penetrated. It may also be non-physical in the form of exposing the child to a sexual act including pornography. The child may also be exploited for the purposes of prostitution or creating pornographic material.

Emotional and physical neglect includes deprivation such as the ongoing failure to meet a child’s need for affection, encouragement, nurturing, protection from criticism or humiliation, education and guidance, adequate hygiene and nutrition, and medical treatment when needed. Allowing a child to consume alcohol or non prescribed drugs may also be considered as neglect.

Child abuse has a highly destructive effect on the lives of the children who are the victim of it and of the adults who become the survivors. Adults who have been abused as children have often lived their lives without talking about their abuse. The reasons may include:

Adults who have survived abuse in childhood can find themselves affected in various ways. People have often reported the following:

Once a person has acknowledged to themselves that they have been abused, one of the most difficult yet important steps in the healing process is to find someone to talk to that they can trust and will be sensitive and understanding. If the abuser is a member of the person’s family, it can often be easier to talk to someone outside the family, as seeking support from inside the family can feel potentially very risky.

When working with an adult who has been abused as a child, probably the most important factor, which underpins any therapeutic work, will be the development of a trusting and collaborative relationship between the person and the therapist. Only if the person feels safe enough will they be able to begin to talk about what has happened to them.

Generally speaking, the person in therapy will always be encouraged to be in control of the pace at which the therapy progresses. However, the therapist may also encourage the person to slow down, if he feels that the therapy is moving more quickly than is beneficial for the person. Therapy in this area is extremely complex and sensitive work and is usually over a long period of time.