Abuse is the misuse of power with the intent to harm or control another person. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse, whether past or present, causes pain and psychological distress that can affect your life. It can be very hard to confide in those around you the abuse you have suffered and the feelings that you may be experiencing as a result. If you are suffering from the consequences of abuse, it is important to seek help, for example from a support group or therapist.
Therapy for abuse provides a non-judgmental environment to help you deal with the painful memories and trauma, giving you new perspectives, healthier ways to cope and helping you to overcome flashbacks, nightmares or other symptoms that are troubling you. In this way, you can transform your life.
While overcoming abuse is a difficult journey, a therapist can support you through each step, helping you to move forward.
Abuse in any form can harm someone. Types of abuse include:
Some of the issues or conditions that may affect survivors of abuse include: emotional difficulties including anxiety, anger, mood swings, shame, and low self-esteem. Mental health problems such as depression, Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self harm, suicidal thoughts, problems with alcohol or drugs, relationship issues, feeling numb, difficulties with trust and physical intimacy, flashbacks and nightmares.
Counselling and psychotherapy can help you to process painful memories of abuse in a safe environment and to deal with the effects that trauma has left with you, such as flashbacks, depression and anxiety.
If you have suffered abuse of any kind, counselling can help. Experienced, professional counsellors and psychotherapists offer a safe space for you to talk through your experiences and how they might be affecting you in the present. Therapy can help you to overcome shame, anger and fear, improve your self-esteem and empower you to build healthy relationships.
To find a therapist near you, you can use this booking platform to find a counsellor near you at the time and cost you can afford. For other resources, see below.
Helpful UK phone numbers
Rape Crisis - 0808 802 9999
ChildLine - 0800 1111
Refuge (domestic violence helpline) - 0808 2000 247
National Association for People Abused in Childhood - 0800 085 3330
NSPCC (helpline to prevent childhood abuse) - 0808 800 5000
International resources for readers outside of the UK
Therapeutic and psychological services
NHS - see your GP and ask for a referral to a psychological specialist
Local charities and organisations - check with your council for support groups, therapy and advice in your local area
Private counselling and psychotherapy - search online directories for therapists in your area, or click here to find qualified therapists who specialise in working with clients affected by abuse