It can be extremely difficult for individuals who have or are suffering from abuse to manage and handle their memories and feelings of guilt, shame, anger, etc. Counselling and psychotherapy therefore provides a safe environment for the client to discuss their experience of abuse and how it is affecting them at the moment. During counselling, initially the therapist helps the client process their painful memories and unsettled emotions through a person centred approach by being supportive and providing a non-judgemental environment. Over time, they can prepare you to deal with distressing flashbacks and comorbid symptoms of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, etc. Eventually, they will help you build effective coping mechanisms and strategies in order to deal with the situation.
Abuse can be defined as the improper treatment of a person to gain benefit unfairly from another person. This behaviour is often used to depict power and control and can use bonds of intimacy, trust and dependency to make the client feel vulnerable. Abuse comes in various forms such as domestic abuse, child abuse, bullying, etc. However overall there are four types of abuse:
- Physical abuse : Physical abuse comprises of physical violence where one person intends pain or physical harm to another person. It includes hitting, choking, burning, etc.
- Sexual abuse :Sexual abuse is force or unwanted sexual behaviour from one person on another. It includes, child abuse, rape and sexual assault amongst others.
- Emotional/psychological abuse :This form of abuse is the hardest to identify, as there are no direct symptoms of abuse. It is characterised by a person subjecting another individual to actions like constant threatening, bullying, yelling, etc. This often results in depression, anxiety, psychological trauma, stress, etc. It should not be taken lightly as it can be as damaging if not more than physical abuse.
- Neglect :This is a passive form of abuse in which the caregiver does not provide adequate care to another individual (especially in childhood). It includes food, housing, medical care, finances, love, support, attention, respect, etc.