28 Years of Clinical Experience
PhD Counseling Psychology
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Certified Addictions Professional
Sexual Abuse Therapy
What defines sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity with another person using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent.
About Sexual Abuse
When it comes to sexual abuse it is important to know the facts:
- Most victims and perpetrators know each other.
- Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear, or disbelief.
- Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear and post-traumatic stress disorder, etc
- While efforts to treat sex offenders remain unpromising, psychological interventions for survivors — especially individual and group therapy — appears highly effective.
- Those who experienced sexual abuse as children are more likely to be sexually abused again later in life, abuse drugs or alcohol, experience an eating disorder, and have difficulty enjoying or engaging in intimate contact as an adult.
- One in 5 girls and one in 20 boys experience sexual abuse
Sexual abuse and sexual assault are terms that refer to varying sexual crimes. These crimes include:
- Rape: Forced sexual contact with someone who does not want it, who is intoxicated, unconscious or who is not legally old enough to give consent all constitute rape.
- Child molestation: Child molestation is any sexual contact with a child.
- Incest: Most incest occurs as child abuse. Over a third of minors who are sexually assaulted are abused by a family member.
- Sexual assault: This includes any non-consensual sexual contact such as groping, sexual touching and attempted rape.
Mental Health Issues Resulting from Sexual Assault
Sexual abuse can result in victims believing that their bodies are not really their own. Survivors can experience lifelong patterns of flight, fight or freeze that reenacts the sexual trauma. Sexual abuse victims often experience feelings of shame, helplessness, terror, depression, and guilt. Many turn their feelings of anger and rage onto themselves (self blame).
Some of the mental health challenges include:
- Depressive Disorders
- Anxiety Disorders
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Personality Disorders
- Attachment Disorders
- Eating Disorders
Sexual Abuse Therapy
Though sexual abuse is a traumatic and life-altering experience, recovery is possible. Dr. Zebel helps adults who have been victims of sexual abuse. She can help you identify psychological, social and physical problems that are occurring as a result of past sexual trauma.
Benefits of sexual abuse therapy include:
- Increased self-confidence
- Discovering healthy ways to process negative emotions
- Relief from feelings of numbness, shame and sadness
- Overcoming fears of intimacy
- Increased ability to express and validate thoughts and emotions
By finally facing painful emotions you can achieve all of these benefits as well as a sense of liberation and peace. You can take back what sexual abuse has taken from you!
A number of organizations are available to help those who have survived sexual abuse. RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) offers an online hotline as well as a telephone crisis line. If you are in crisis or need to help someone who is, call RAINN now at (800) 656-HOPE.