The extent to which sexual violation and assault are running rampant in today’s society has been made crystal clear in recent years. Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Louis C.K., Sylvester Stallone, Jamie Foxx. More than 140 celebrities have already faced, or are currently facing, sexual harassment or assault allegations. And these are just the high-profile cases that catch national media attention!
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), as many as one in three women and one in six men will be sexually violated during their lifetime. And, as we see through the shameful and fear-filled testimonies of those who come forth about their traumatic sexual experiences, these dark pieces of the past have a haunting effect on present-day mental and emotional wellbeing of survivors.
Building strength and resilience after sexual assault is possible. Through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), our clients have been able to move past the shame, the intrusive nightmares, the flashbacks, and the pain. Another innovative and highly sought after therapeutic technique for trauma recovery is Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). When deployed within 90-days of a traumatic experience, EMDR can be even more effective than CBT.
Here are some facts about the impact of sexual assault on mental health, and how survivors can recover with therapeutic intervention and the support of family and friends:
1. 36% of sexual assault survivors will develop PTSD, compared with only 12% of those who experience other types of trauma.
2. The most natural response to deal with the feelings of overwhelm and depression is to push them down. However, this is not conducive to healing. Through CBT, survivors can learn to feel through those feelings so they can subside on their own, over time.
3. Telling the story of your assault is an evidence-based recovery treatment. This is one reason therapy for sexual trauma is so effective. In our counseling center, we see clients who struggle to tell their story at first…but in the end, they’re able to get through it. The story no longer has power over them!
4. The most effective types of therapy for sexual trauma recovery are prolonged exposure therapy and cognitive processing therapy. Prolonged exposure therapy works to make painful memories more approachable, while cognitive processing therapy is a subcategory of CBT that helps survivors change unhelpful beliefs and coping mechanisms.
5. Survivors and the general public alike need to keep talking! There is still a stigma associated with sexual assault survivors—the police, their friends, their families will ask, did you really have this experience? This is one reason it’s been so difficult for survivors to come forward. But today, in the era of the #metoo movement, society is talking and beginning to understand…at least trying to understand. We’re moving in the right direction as a society.
Sexual assault does not have to define the life of the survivor. There are therapies and interventions than help survivors feel comfortable in their own skin again, assist them in addressing their feelings, face them head-on, and reclaim their lives.
Contact Creative Counseling Center
Our Denver-area counseling center offers CBT, EMDR, and many other types of therapy for sexual assault and trauma recovery. Our therapists are the most skilled in Colorado and can help you make sense of your past in order to create a healthy and happy future. We offer a free phone consultation to new patients who want to learn more about how therapy could support them in their healing journey. Complete the brief form below to request your free consultation and start your therapeutic journey today!