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Treatment of PTSD; Child Abuse Recovery; Coping with Sexual Abuse or PTSD

Abstract: A three-phase model of treatment of people who have been sexually abused, or through other devastating trauma, is described.

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Treatment of PTSD; Child Abuse Recovery; Coping with Sexual Abuse or PTSD

Intelligent natural language question-answering in the area of psychology and psychiatry. Ask a simple question  Local help Info

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Written by: Wendy Moelker
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 24 Aug 2008.

How can the psychological consequences of sexual abuse be treated? Note: This answer can also be of value for coping with other kinds of traumatic events, not only child abuse recovery.


The psychotherapeutic treatment of victims of sexual abuse is similar to the treatment of other kinds of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTDS). The treatment normally uses a three-phase model. The model consists of the following three phases:

phase 1: stabilizing the symptoms: in this first phase of the treatment, we work on the relation of confidence between the therapists and the patients. We also work on rest, structure and support. A good night's sleep and good health are important. Sometimes medication is proposed for this.

phase 2: remembering and mourning: in this phase the patients tell about what has happened and what this has meant. The traumatic experience is discussed and little by little the strong emotions that belong to this are readmitted. The trauma is re-experienced, but this time in a familiar environment with support of the therapist who listens and comforts. Looking for the use of the trauma (why me?) can be understood and may forgotten.

phase 3: integration: the event is dealt with. The contact with daily life and others is restored. Certain issues like sexuality are also discussed.

Not everybody is able to go through all the phases. For some people more attention is give to the first phase.

In the case of sexual problems, attention is given to sexual feelings, the right to have fun, sexual advice, limits and the relation between intimacy and sexuality.

Help from a psychotherapist is often needed in order to learn to cope with this.

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