Should I go for therapy?

If you were my friend and you were to come
to me and tell me that you’d experienced some form of sexual abuse and you were to ask me
‘Did I think that you should go and find some kind of therapy?’ my answer would be ‘Yes!’.
Yes because I would want the best for you. Yes because given the choice I would much
rather that you had too much support than too little. Many people who experience sexual abuse can
struggle to ask for help. They can think that what happened to them
doesn’t count. They can think that what happened to them was their fault so they don’t deserve
any help. They can think that because what happened was so many years ago they should
be over it by now and why would they risk shaking things up and maybe making things
worse. It’s true that everybody who experiences sexual
abuse finds some way of coping. They do the best they can to look after themselves and
get on with their lives. But there can be a big difference between coping and living.
Sometimes it takes someone else to point out to you how small and restricted your world
has become in your efforts to cope with your experience. I think a good example of this can be sexual
intimacy. Sex after sexual abuse can be difficult for everyone. And it can be an example of
an area of your life that you’ve given up on. If you were my friend I would want you to
have a life that is as full as it would have been if you hadn’t had this experience. I
want the same for you too. Asking for help isn’t easy. It can be frightening.
It can mean talking about something that maybe you’ve never talked about before. It can mean
recognising that what happened to you was real and that it is still affecting you today. I think a lot of people can also be reluctant
to seek therapy for sexual abuse because they think that in the therapy they are going to
have to talk about their abuse in great detail from the very beginning all the way through
to the end. It’s true that talking about what you’ve experienced may form part of your therapy,
but it’s a relatively small part and it’s certainly not where you need to begin. Therapy
is much more about learning to cope with today and finding a way of becoming the person you
want to be tomorrow. If getting therapy straight away feels like
too much for you then try something smaller. Maybe just phone a helpline. I’ve volunteered
on a helpline before. It’s perfectly okay to phone the number and say to the person
at the other end of the line ‘You know what. Today I just promised myself that I would
make the call, but I’m not ready to speak to you today. So I’m going to hang up and
I hope that I phone you again soon. I promise you – they will understand. If you’re not sure whether or not you deserve
therapy, or whether or not you’re ready please read my book The courage to be me. Because
I created it for you. You can read the whole book on my website. I hope it helps you find
the courage you need to get the help that you deserve.

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