How To Move On From Sexual Abuse

A client recently asked one of our therapists, ‘how to move on from sexual abuse?’  This was such an important question that we have put together some basic ideas to consider if your life has been affected by sexual abuse.

  1. Stay Safe Now:

    The first steps to moving on from the past are making sure that your life in the present time feels safe.  Safety can mean different things to different people, but some general areas to consider are:  Being physically safe, by surrounding yourself with people that you feel able to trust.  Being emotionally safe, by recognising differences between your life now and the past.  Being physically safe, by making sure that as far as possible you reduce any risky behaviours such as drinking excessive alcohol, taking substances or harming yourself if possible.

  2. Find The Right Support To Help You Make Sense Of The Past:

    In order to move on from the past it can sometimes be helpful to explore what it means to you in the present, and what impact these meanings have on your life.  Sometimes a therapist may invite you to concentrate on traumatic things that have happened to you in order to help update any painful memories you have so that you are able to live a fulfilling life now in spite of things that have happened to you before.

  3. Think About What Moving On Means And Involves:

    Moving on is not about forgetting the past or trying to remove it from your memory.  Rather it’s about finding ways that you can move on in spite of the past.  Often reflecting on how to bring an acceptance (rather than endorsement) of the past can help you do this.  Discussing ways of doing this with a therapist can be helpful for some people.

The steps above are written as a very rough guide to working with past trauma but we recommend that you seek support from a suitably qualified and experienced professional to see how you can follow these steps in your own life.

You might find it helpful to read our PTSD and trauma page for more information.  Alternatively, we would be happy to discuss treatment at one of our clinics.