Childhood Sexual Abuse and The Impact into Adulthood

Recently I attended a practical training workshop through Familyzone and Irma Schutte Training. What an incredible experience. The training was specifically about childhood sexual abuse, conceptualization thereof and practical therapeutic interventions in assisting in the healing process. For me this was add-on training to expand my skills and repertoire, as I am a big believer in growth and continued development as a professional. This course was one I simply could not miss out on, looking at interventions with children who have experienced abuse as well as when abuse is not healed and assisting the survivor of abuse later in their adult years.

First, let me introduce you to an amazing trainer, professor & woman:

Professor Rachel Lev-Wiesel gave the training, she is from the University of Haifa in Israel. Professor Lev-Wiesel is an incredible trainer with many years of experience in the field of childhood sexual abuse and interventions (art therapy and talk therapy) to assist survivors of such abuse. She has trained professionals worldwide She is a clinical social worker, an art therapist, group psychotherapist and family therapist in Israel with her expertise and focus being on childhood sexual abuse. Professor Lev-Wiesel is chair of the Emili Sagol Creative Arts Therapies Research Centre in Haifa, Israel. She has published about 140 scientific papers and chapters in seven (7) books. Honestly, Professor Lev-Wiesel is one of the most knowledgeable in this field and with the bonus of being an exceptional trainer.

Childhood sexual abuse:

I am acutely aware that childhood sexual abuse is a delicate and intricate topic. The survivors of such abuse have endured immense pain and suffering often with no ear to listen or voice to guide (even from within).

Many survivors who have experienced childhood sexual trauma have endured prolonged trauma over a period of time and often by someone close to the family or within the family. This really can add to the struggle toward healing and a sense of fulfilment. What can complicate this even further is that some people in the survivor’s life do not even believe the child or people in the know brush off the events the child is experiencing. At times, the adult person committing the abuse may present in a loving way in the presence of other people, making it even harder for the child to speak out. The child is expected to keep the abuse a secret and even if he or she speaks out they are may not be taken seriously (keeping quiet even further), sometimes there is a fear that nothing will change anyway so why try. The abuse continues and the survivor lives with the impact thereof.

What happens in later years if left unresolved. This can really contribute to complicated trauma with some far-reaching consequences for the survivor of the abuse. For many, unresolved trauma may greatly impact many dimensions of the survivors life, including intimate relationships, addiction, withdrawal and isolation, destructive coping mechanisms, and can influence the way the survivor raises their own children (circular process). For some, a sense of threat to self never leaves, others may find ways of coping, some may dissociate and others try “forget” the events that happened to them so they can try move forward.

Art therapy together with talk therapy (in multiple domains) can be an incredible way of working through such trauma and assisting the survivor in the healing process. As a reference, a sexual abuse survivor who became a client of Professor Lev-Wiesel shared her own process of healing. The therapeutic process Professor Lev-Wiesel engaged her client in is described in the following link https://uhaifacatinternational.wordpress.com/2015/01/18/when-time-stood-still-a-survivors-story-by-prof-rachel-lev-wiesel/

The book of the therapeutic process is available to buy on Amazon.com https://www.amazon.com/When-Stood-Still-Rachel-Lev-Wiesel/dp/190947732X and may assist if you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. That said, the isolation and withdrawal that is frequently associated with childhood sexual abuse makes it hard for a survivor to go through this process alone and may be counterproductive trying to deal with the healing process in isolation. Although it can be tough reaching out and finding someone who can assist, finding someone you connect with and that has training and skill necessary to assist can greatly help on your journey toward healing.