Therapy for Sexual Abuse Survivors
If you’re a survivor of sexual abuse and you’ve found our office, we want to congratulate you on taking the first step to stop hurting and start leading a satisfying and purpose-filled life again. We know it’s not easy to take this step. Whatever you’re feeling right now, it’s okay. The range of emotional, mental, and physical reactions experienced after sexual abuse can be overwhelming, but however your mind and body need to process this traumatic experience, that’s okay! Working from a place of acceptance and non-judgement, therapists at Lime Tree Counseling can help you process the complex emotions and thoughts and start navigating the aftermath of sexual abuse. On this page, you’ll learn more about sexual abuse and how therapy can help, but if you’d prefer to just get started feeling better, we’re here for you. Please get in touch today.
What is Sexual Abuse?
Sexual abuse comes in many different forms, including rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and childhood sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is never really about sex; it’s always about power and control. The impact of sexual assault can last a lifetime. However, a counselor who specializes in this type of trauma can help you discover significant healing.
Childhood Sexual Abuse
Inappropriate touching, exposure of body parts, viewing pornography, and intercourse are all forms of childhood sexual abuse. The adult is using the child for their own sexual stimulation. Often the abuser will “groom” the child, meaning they try to take a place of significance in the child’s life and gain the child’s trust.
Exposure to sexual materials or activities at such an early age disrupts a child’s normal developmental growth. Children who have experienced sexual abuse will likely have a low self-esteem, few friends, and may acting out or engage in disruptive behavior. A history of abuse can also lead to drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, and sexual promiscuity.
Many adults who experienced sexual abuse as children haven’t ever shared their stories. The effects of the abuse impact their lives today, disrupting marriages and significant relationships, as well as influencing how they handle stress and difficult emotions.
If you are an adult with a sexual abuse story that’s been eating away at you, please contact us. We are sexual abuse counseling experts, and we want to see you set free from the emotional jail you’ve been trapped in for so long.
When one person forces or manipulates another to have sex, that is rape. For the perpetrator, rape is a crime. For the survivor, rape is a trauma that violates a person in a most personal, vulnerable way. The impact of this kind of trauma can include isolation from others, flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, loss of self-worth, and inability or fear of sex in a future relationship. People who are raped often feel a loss of control which leads to anxiety and depression.
If you’ve been raped, please contact us for help. We are trauma specialists. We will work with you, at your own pace, to tell your story and reclaim your life.
Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advances that make another person feel humiliated or uncomfortable. This can include touching or pinching, sexual jokes or innuendos, and pressure for sexual favors.
If sexual harassment has or is impacting you, contact us for help. Our counselors can work with you to learn new skills to set firm boundaries, advocate for yourself, and see yourself as valuable, despite what the harassment might have made you feel.
Telling Your Story
Katie Bailey, a therapist at Lime Tree is an advocate for getting to a point where telling your story is a part of your healing. Here’s what she says will happen:
You are no longer alone. We were never meant to carry these heavy heartbreaks on our own. I really believe that a huge part of healing is connection. We need emotionally healthy relationships with each other. Abuse isolates you, it shames you, it keeps you cut off from others. Don’t let that shame win. Reach out and allow someone to be with you in your healing.
You will realize not everything you think about your story is true. I don’t mean you are remembering what happened incorrectly. I mean that your interpretation of what happened is likely skewed. All of my clients that have told me their abuse histories need to hear me say, “It’s not your fault.” Looking my clients in the eyes and getting to state this truth is one of the best parts of my job. I hate seeing abuse survivors live crippled by this lie. You might be holding on to thoughts like the abuse was your fault, or you should’ve known better, or why didn’t you tell sooner? You are not to blame for any of these things.
You can start to completely heal. If you cut your arm and don’t clean it out, it doesn’t heal well. It probably gets infected, which just leads to more pain. The same is true with your abuse story. Healing comes from cleaning out the dirt, the infection, the pain. If you don’t get the bad stuff out, you can’t fully heal. Your abuse experience is likely affecting your own sex life now, your relationships, and how you trust other people. Tell your story to allow yourself the space to heal and heal deeply.
We understand telling your abuse story can be scary and overwhelming. We are here to help you find the words and strength to let it out. We don’t want you to live stuck in loneliness, lies and pain anymore.
Further Reading on Sexual Trauma
Read more about therapy for survivors of sexual abuse in our blog posts:
By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC One of the greatest honors of my job is to say the words “It’s not your fault” to a person hurting from sexual abuse. One of the many tragic consequences of experiencing sexual abuse are the lies that get entrenched in your mind. Over and over...
By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC We live in a broken world where, sadly, many people suffer all different kinds of abuse as children. Sexual, physical, emotional abuse – or maybe a combination – happen to more people than you realize. Most often, people choose to ignore their...
By Katie Bailey, MA, LPC Finding the words to say you were sexually abused can be extremely difficult. Describing the events that happened to you can be painful and heartbreaking. However, I truly believe you should tell your story and that sharing your story will...
Additional Counseling Services at
Lime Tree Counseling
In addition to therapy for addiction and substance use disorders, we also provide a range of therapy solutions, including:
Many people fight anxiety everyday. Often this looks like constant worry, regular physical tension, rapid heartbeat, and even panic attacks. We offer anxiety counseling to help you learn new skills to lower your stress and enjoy life more…Learn more
Relationships evolve as life changes. Sometimes partners need help learning new skills to help them communicate better and strengthen their connection. We help couples improve their marriages through couples therapy…Learn more
Life gets busy, and maybe coming into the office is not doable. Or perhaps you live in a remote area, and don’t have access to quality mental health care. We offer online counseling services to those residing in Pennsylvania…Learn more
Get Started With Therapy Today!
Please contact Lime Tree Counseling to schedule an appointment or a free consultation. We will get back to you as soon as possible and get you scheduled. In our Ambler, PA office, we serve all of Montgomery County, and our therapists are happy to offer online counseling sessions for residents of Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Colorado.