Find the Right Therapist for Abuse Counselling
Are you struggling with past or current abuse, or related issues such as relationships, anxiety or stress?
When you contact us, we will help you choose the best match for your situation from our 12 psychologists and Masters degree-qualified counsellors in North Parramatta.
We are open daytime and after hours, Monday to Saturday, including evenings.
See our full range of counselling services:
- Marriage / Couples Counselling
- Psychologist Services
- Child / Family Counselling
- Adolescent / Family Counselling
- Teens / Youth Counselling
- Women’s Issues
- Anxiety / Depression
- Trauma / Grief Counselling
- Abuse Counselling
- Counselling for Christians
- Clinical / Ministry Supervision
- Skype Counselling
What is meant by abuse?
Abuse, in basic terms is cruel or violent behaviour towards another person.
Abuse can bring about a sense of powerlessness, or victimisation. However, a key element of processing your experience is to get to a place of overcoming that victimisation by gaining back the power that was taken away.
Abuse is not a topic that people feel comfortable bringing up. There can sometimes be an air of secrecy and shame, due to the nature of abuse. Many people can find themselves in abusive situations and be in disbelief they are in that position.
Abuse can be experienced in a number of different ways however. Some people experience a one off incident of abuse or it can be prolonged over a period of time, sometimes even years.
This type of abuse is often at the hands of someone close to you, which can make it all the more difficult to speak out and get the help you need. People who do reach out often do this at a time in their life where they are ready to.
Abuse can occur in childhood or adulthood. The circumstances around the abuse will determine how a person experiences the abuse and what may be needed when they come to counselling.
Common types of abuse are as follows:
- Childhood sexual assault
- Harsh or excessive discipline as a child
- Domestic violence
- Sexual assault or rape
- Assault and battery
Childhood Sexual assault
Sexual assault experienced as a child can be very traumatic, primarily because children, or adolescents, are at developmental ages where their sense of self and security in the world is still developing.
This type of trauma can be so overwhelming to children that they can develop a lot of problematic coping skills and negative thoughts about themselves, and about the world. This can affect their attachment with their loved ones and set them up to have difficulties in future relationships.
It can also be a contributing factor in developing some mental health conditions in the future. Childhood sexual assault does not always result in penetration. There are a number of different activities perpetrators may do, or make children do, and all are just as harmful to children’s development. This also includes pornography, and grooming behaviours.
If you are a victim of child sexual assault, or you have children who have been assaulted, it’s never too late to get the help you need to deal with these experiences.
Children who are raised by parents who use excessive force, or punitive disciplinary tactics can be affected by their experiences. Regardless of if there are physical injuries, they can have emotional and psychological scars.
Research has indicated that physical discipline can have detriment effects on a child’s developing sense of self, and their place in the world. New South Wales Law states that physical discipline is considered abuse, and therefore a crime if it is
- Unreasonable based on the child’s age, level of understanding and physical health
- Excessive in force, or causing harm that lasts for longer than “a short period”.
- Applied to a part of the body that is vulnerable such as the neck and head.
For more information, see: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/num_act/capma2001n89575.pdf
This is a term given to any type of abusive behaviour perpetrated towards someone within a domestic relationship. This extends to in laws and cousins etc, but generally relates to violence within the home.
As well as abusive behaviours, there can also be an element of power and control occurring with one partner using abusive behaviour to control and manipulate the other person into behaving in a certain way.
Domestic Violence, or DV for short, includes physical assault, verbal and emotional abuse, psychological abuse and also financial abuse.
Physical violence often results in one partner feeling isolated, not knowing how to make a change or escape the patterns of violence. While men can be victims of an abusive partner, often there is a gendered pattern of DV in society.
Women, and often their children, are the victims of violence which affect their sense of security, their identity and their relationships. DV can affect the attachment that a child has with their mum as well.
Assault and battery
This captures any other form of physical abuse that can occur. Sometimes this may be in the form of what appears to be a random act within the community. Someone may be the victim of assault while they are going about their daily lives, but may not know the perpetrator.
At other times, the assault may be perpetrated by someone you know. Either way, this kind of abuse can lead to trauma responses for the individual. Counselling can help you to find peace about your experiences, and to be able to move on from that trauma.
It is important to note that threats to harm or kill hold the same weight within our psyche as actual physical harm, and a sense of traumatisation can occur even in the absence of physical harm.
Goals for abuse counselling
The goals of therapy for people who have experienced trauma are varied but generally include:
- Developing understanding of their current circumstances in relation to the abuse.
- Supporting them to make sense of their experiences. There can be this element of disbelief and confusion surrounding the experience of abuse, that being able to process these thoughts and feeling are key to unlocking healing.
- Assessing and changing any unhelpful or negative self-evaluations in relation to the abuse. Some people attribute personal reasons as to why the abuse occurred, they may blame themselves and rationalise that it occurred due to something they did. The truth is, that the abuse occurred, but it wasn’t their fault.
- Developing coping skills to work through any trauma or distress associated to the abuse.
- Make plans for the future, integrating their experience of trauma within an optimistic world view.
Are there any question we have not answered? Please call us today for your free 15 minute phone consultation.