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Healing sexual trauma: a step by step approach for therapists
Sexual trauma is mostly caused by sexual violence, which is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or coercion. It includes unwanted sexual comments, advances or acts directed against a person’s sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim. It is widespread and is considered to be one of the most traumatic, pervasive, and most common human rights violations.
Patients will often present with trauma from childhood sexual abuse, which is a complex trauma to treat as it involves a traumatic breach to their physical and sexual integrity but also is an attachment wound, as the perpetrators are often people who created a bond with their victims.
Sexual trauma also includes invasive surgery in the genital areas or other parts of the body that are associated with sexuality.
Sexual trauma has tremendous long-term emotional, psychological, sexual and relational effects on the survivor. The impact of sexual trauma on survivors are:
- Low self-esteem
- Guilt, shame and blame
- Sleep disturbance
- Lack of trust for anyone
- Flashbacks, dissociation and other PTSD symptoms
- Sexual and intimacy problems
- Complex grieving
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Eating disorders
On the day, you will learn:
Theories: 45 minutes
- The different types of traumas
- The effects of trauma in the brain and body
- What is specific about sexual trauma compared to other traumas
- How to assess sexual trauma and sexual trauma related symptoms.
Step by Step Practice: 45 minutes
- The 3 phases of trauma therapy for sexual trauma
- Phase 1: Stabilisation and emotional regulations
- Phase 2: Reprocessing. Specific psychotherapeutic tools: CBT, Chairwork, Inner Child, visualisation, somatic trauma therapy.
- Phase 3: Maintenance and thriving sex.
- Self-care for therapists working with sexual trauma
Silva Neves is a COSRT accredited psychosexual and relationship psychotherapist. He is a UKCP-registered psychotherapist specialising in trauma and EMDR working in his Central London private practice and online. He sees individuals and couples presenting with a wide range of sex and relationship issues.
Silva is a clinical supervisor offering psychosexual and relationship therapy, trauma therapy and compulsive sexual behaviour treatment supervision and ad-hoc supervision. He is a faculty member of CICS (Contemporary Institute of Clinical Sexology) and IOSS (International Online Sexology Supervisors).
Silva delivers a range of trainings on psychosexual and relationship therapy, trauma therapy and compulsive sexual behaviour treatment. He is an accreditation assessor for COSRT.
Silva often contributes to articles on various sex and relationship topics.
Silva featured in the BBC programme Sex On The Couch.
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