Trish French, MSW, CAP, LCSW
Within the last decade, our society has become aware of sexual abuse, addressing it as a global epidemic. With 1 in 3 females and 1 in 5 males experiencing sexual abuse, it’s been a silent battle for many loved ones.
If you look at the way we are currently approaching mental health care, it simply lacks the pace and focus needed to fully recover from traumatic events. On average, a client will be seen twice a month. It’s not a time-sensitive approach, but what other options have been available? Clinically, it can take up to five years or more. It’s simply an outdated treatment, one that has been set in place for decades and the real cost is to the patient.
In other words, traditional therapy still plays an important role. It’s needed for many issues related to mental health and I encourage others to always seek help; however, with sexual abuse survivors, they do not receive the focus, accountability or attention needed to fully heal. It takes daily check-ins, weekly assignments and lessons that promote growth and healthy routines.
We will look at the facts in this article to discuss the available treatment options for survivors. You will gain a better understanding of why these outdated methods only provide temporary relief. We will explore our modern solution to show how our clients are healing within months, in the comfort and privacy of their homes.
OUTDATED METHODS | TREATING SEXUAL TRAUMA
The first issue with recovery is we have a lack of experts specializing in sexual trauma. Most people are seeking help with generalized therapists without being aware there is a better option for healing. The misconception with therapy is that you need to attend long-term. I see clients that have invested 5-7 years in therapy sessions and never dealt with their underlying issues of childhood trauma.
As a licensed therapist and trauma specialist, I saw the limitations of these treatments firsthand, witnessing how traditional therapy helped deal with everyday issues – but not with complex trauma. Seeing a therapist twice a week for 5+ years isn’t a time-sensitive approach to healing sexual trauma. It simply lacks the pace and focus needed to help you fully recover.
I empathize with survivors out there, because it’s the only resource we’ve had in the U.S. for mental health, still the same today. It’s not effective nor efficient.
What I have seen to be true, is our current mental health system keeps people dependent on a therapist’s schedule and expertise; there’s no long-term plan or time frame for healing.
You may receive free sessions through your insurance or have a small copay, but you are losing the most valuable resource you have, Time. Time is invaluable and irreplaceable. So while you may be saving on finances, you are losing something much more precious, your life.
If you've been in therapy longer than a year, you might be lacking direction and focus in your sessions. It’s difficult to apply habits and routines with the lack of daily check-ins. Seeing a therapist twice per month does not provide the accountability needed to make permanent changes. You need consistency for success.
For example, if you had a goal to exercise, lose weight and gain muscle tone, yet you only worked out twice per month, you won’t achieve results. It’s not realistic, nor achievable. This is why traditional therapy is an outdated method in our modern world. Offering time restrictive sessions, lasting only 45 minutes. No assignments, accountability or individualized plan.
By giving someone enough time to vent and talk about daily struggles, but not enough time to dig deep into trauma, you are simply not in control, hoping for a solution to complex and layered problems.
If you’re not in therapy or seeking treatment of any kind,
you are at greater risk.
You may be numbing yourself with alcohol, medications, emotional eating, impulsive buying or sex addiction. This is a clear sign that you are avoiding your trauma and numbing your pain.
You may be distracting yourself with work, avoiding your personal life. People use their addiction to avoid thinking about their past pain or dealing with their abuse.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) (hypnosis therapy) is a common technique used on survivors, but this only helps for a limited time. People tend to have temporary relief from their trauma after hypnosis therapy, but do not sustain long-term resolution.
These methods are outdated and slow-paced, providing a patch fix for short-term relief. Traditional therapy does provide relief for your everyday problems but is not geared toward those who are dealing with deeper issues. Sexual abuse survivors don’t need a series of slow-paced sessions that provide band-aids.
The real reason you are being held back, checked out and depressed is because you haven’t been given proper guidance. You don’t know how to cope or navigate your feelings.
Let's look at the costs, not only on an emotional level but financially as well. Most who attend therapy do so for an average of 5-7 years spending around $150 per session, totaling $54,000 or more. If you are relying on low copays and free sessions, I'll say it again, you are still losing precious time. Your trauma will still be there, mainly because traditional therapy is not as effective.
The only other clinical option would be to seek an inpatient treatment center. I will start by saying, even the high-profile trauma treatment centers on the market today have a high relapse rate. It's a very clear problem in today's world. People are walking around with unresolved issues and have little direction, resources or the time to heal.
Those who choose inpatient treatment will end up staying 30-90 days at a center. The national average is to return to treatment 3-8 times. This means you'll likely spend upwards of $90,000-$400,000. You could end up in debt or worse, losing relationships, stability and jobs. Could you imagine spending even the lowest amount, $90,000, and not having guaranteed results? Having a high percentage of relapsing and spiraling back into old habits, painful emotions and destructive behaviors?
If you are not familiar with treatment centers, do not expect privacy. You will work in groups, so it’s not individualized treatment. You will have to travel to the facility and share space with others. I know survivors prefer privacy and confidentiality.
With these options, you’re left feeling like everything you’ve tried is a bandaid, and you wonder if you can actually heal from your past.
You wish you could find a solution that’ll help you move past the trauma and painful memories so you can feel strong, empowered and fearless.
THE MODERN SOLUTION | TREATING SEXUAL TRAUMA
I know what it’s like to want healing so badly, but feel like the options out there just aren’t cutting it. My mission is to help survivors of childhood trauma get unstuck and on a path of healing that actually works.
That’s why we created our 12 week program, Transformational Healing Method.
Transformational Healing Method digs deep into your past and removes negative habits, self-doubt and emotional disconnection. It teaches you how to master your emotions, focus on your health and ignite your passions so you can live an extraordinary life, with purpose. Our program is the result of 15 years of international research, client studies and extensive specialized knowledge, designed to replace a decade worth of traditional therapy sessions – all in 12 weeks.
Here’s a breakdown of what we help resolve during the program:
Depression, anxiety, fear and anger
Avoiding emotions and numbing pain with alcohol, prescriptions, emotional eating and/or overworking
Shame, guilt and self-blame
People-pleasing and a lack of boundaries
Repeated abuse and having toxic relationships
Feeling disconnected from self and others
Low self-esteem and no confidence
Difficulty committing or investing in relationships
Feeling emotionally unstable
Sleep issues, insomnia, nightmares and/or flashbacks
No passion or purpose for life
Lack of self-care
No drive or motivation to pursue hobbies, passions or healthy routines
During Transformational Healing Method, you’ll have access to the weekly modules, assignments and our empowering group support network 24-hours a day. These 12 weeks are designed with flexibility according to your life and schedule.
It’s about having access to treating your mental health, from the privacy and comfort of your home. That should be a human right. Mental health is not an expense or inconvenience; it is the deciding factor in our happiness.
Quite frankly, it takes focus and dedication to work through traumatic events in life. You need more than what our current mental health care system can offer. You need an expert, someone who specializes in childhood sexual abuse.
To gain a better understanding, let me use a physical injury as an example. Let's say someone was very careless and hit you with their car. They broke your leg and now you need urgent care. We can all agree it wouldn't be your fault, but this wouldn't stop you from seeking treatment. If you refuse surgery, the injury would worsen and cause intense pain. The outcome would likely be a physical deformity, daily suffering and depression.
However, when it comes to dealing with emotional pain and mental health, we stay silent, refusing to prioritize and heal an injury that will cause mental breakdowns, irrational behaviors, and anxiety. The fact is, mental health is essential. It's a top priority, on the same level, if not more important, than your physical health.
HOW MENTAL HEALTH AFFECTS THE BODY
I’ve heard misconceptions in our society, that if we are excelling in our career, then we are “successful.” This is the furthest thing from the truth. Success comes when you have the strength and courage to look at all components of your life and admit your weaknesses (i.e. personal self-care, having a passionate marriage, pursuing hobbies, chasing your dream job, being there for your family). It’s important to be honest with yourself, taking an inventory of which areas of your life need improvement. Without a doubt, having discipline and balance is key.
We see many professionals that are 100% capable of functioning physically, but struggle mentally. You hardly have the energy to take care of yourself or interact with loved ones. You are “physically” here, but are mentally checked out and withdrawn from life.
Trauma creates a mental limitation that affects the body, overriding your drive, passion and joy.
Your mental health determines how you feel and act each day, what you think about yourself. This is not something that you can ignore or push back. It is just as deadly as any physical injury, probably worse, as you suffer over a longer period in silence… 30 or even 40 years.
Let's be honest, not a single person would prefer to take 30 years to heal from a broken leg. Same with childhood sexual abuse. If you're not seeking help for your issues, it's like limping around on broken bones, requiring surgery. You need an expert that can reset your life, just like a surgeon can reset your leg. Now the main question, who would you want operating on you? It matters who you work with. Very few professionals specialize in childhood sexual abuse. Invest in an expert, the same reason why you would need an orthopedic surgeon to operate and heal your leg.
I know you deeply crave healing.
On the outside, you’re a successful, driven high-achiever. You seem to have it all… but on the inside, you feel something different.
You’re struggling with depression, anxiety and anger. You’ve tried years of therapy and buried yourself under piles of self-help books. You've searched for relief at the bottom of a wine bottle or tried overeating to numb the pain.
Either way, you can’t seem to break free from what happened to you as a child. So you…
Cancel plans with family or friends so you can sleep off the panic attacks and feelings of uncertainty.
Stay constantly busy, often working late hours so you can avoid the bad memories.
Shove your thoughts and emotions to the back of your mind, but the anger seems to always creep up and lash out.
See therapist after therapist, but all they seem to do is provide coping skills without giving you a sustainable path to recovery.
At the end of the day, I know more than anything that you just want to feel in control and at peace. What would it mean to you, having stability in your life right now? What could you achieve? What relationships would you fix and focus on?
It's never a "too late" scenario. It will take work, drive and commitment. If you are ready to heal your past abuse, schedule a call with us to start healing today.