How do adults who were sexually abused as children get help when they can't remember what happened?
Some people believe that hypnosis can help you bring up suppressed memories. People have used hypnosis to remember all kinds of traumatic events as far back as infancy and treat the resulting problems through psychotherapy.
I'd like to know first: if they don't remember, how do they know that they were sexually abused?
If they suspect they were, then there is a figment of memory playing there.
I agree with dutch84 that hypnosis, if performed by a serious practitioner, can bring memories back.
If the person wished to try EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing: there is a hub that I wrote about the subject), then the mental image to sustain during the eye movement should be precisely that feeling that they have been abused, no matter how foggy it is. New material is going to surface pretty quickly, and can be treated with EMDR that breaks through the walls of isolation that encapsulate the traumatic memories, bringing knew perspectives and relief in a very short time.
R. Lorraine, I hope this helps.
People often bury trauma deep within themselves because they can't handle the reality of the matter. The trauma may cause other issues such as poor self esteem or poor coping skills. These issues can be tackled in therapy and may or may not lead to deeper issue of abuse.The most important factor when dealing with someone who has been abused is that person has to be ready to address it. If that person is not ready it may do more damage than good.
I believe that adults who where sexually abused as childern choose not to remember while their young because of the hurt and damage that it has caused. In the back of our subconsious we have every memory that we been through in our lives some stay hidden and some come out when it's time. Sexual abuse is one of the most life alttering experience that a child could ever imagine in their life and why would they want to remember something so tramatic. As we continue to grow and experience life we began to have flash backs of our youth and we look over our lives and we start to put everything together. We never forget, we put them away to make our lives worth living. Childern who has been through this never get over it they just learn to live with it and with time, help, understanding, faith and God they will be able one day to live a normal life. Everyone is different and no two people are the same but if they had people who where there for them to listen to and know how they where feeling then it would make the journey to reality an easier one. Hypnosis may be for some people but everyone doesn't want all that pain and hurt flooding out all at once and then having a stranger who has never been in their shoes stareing at them like their some kind of damaged goods. Abuse is the most horrible thing any child can go through and just letting it out or just telling someone about it leads to more wondering as to what that person may think about you in the end. We all have our crosses to bare, but I believe that one who has gone through and made it out on the other side is the best one to help a person who is trying to find their way. I feel this way because I to was abused, molested, raped or whatever you want to call it for 7 years of my life starting at the age of 6 or 7 ending at the age of 14 and I never had anyone on my side to help me get through it. It took years and alot of understanding before I could even believe that it wasn't my fault and I couldn't do anything but it still hurt like hell every time I thought about it and then as the years went by and I came to know God my life began to make sense and the pain started to go away and I was able to forgive. It will always be apart of me but, I know how to use it for good now to help other people who are like me to survive.
Psycho-Therapy will assist with the assistance needed and continual counseling allowing you to begin to open up about your issues. Family support is also necessary when you begin the process.
I see basically two ways to go about this:
1. You can attempt to recover the memories. That could involve hypnosis but I've also seen good results from symbolic work and creative arts therapy.
2. You can deal with the effects and affects of the trauma by working at whatever problems it's causing in your life today.
Quite often option two will bring about the memories as well, allthough generally in less of a flood. However this is not necessary in order to work through the problems. A lot depends on how big the problem is and in which area of life.
You may for instance choose to build your life around the issue (avoid triggering situations like sex, family or children) or find some behavioral therapy that helps control your symptoms, like selfdestructive behavior, addiction, etc.
When they are ready to get help, finding an understanding therapist is important. These types of trauma happen in a relationship and are best healed in a relationship.
Hypnosis may or may not be effective for "recovering" memories - but forcing yourself to recover memories that were buried in order to protect the psyche is not usually the best way to go. This tends to overwhelm the survivor with flashbacks and all kinds of other unwanted trauma. In my professional experience as a therapist, remembering before you are ready creates additional trauma that lengthens the time spent in therapy.
Art therapy is wonderful at working through the things you can't remember in words. But it is more important to find a therapist who is compassionate and who doesn't push or judge. Its frustrating when you can't remember and want to, but learning to trust that you will remember when you need to and when you are ready is part of the healing process.
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