People often come to therapy as adults showing signs of unhappiness or trauma due to experiences they underwent during their childhood.
All abuse is serious, though some people may have experienced or witnessed violence or sexual abuse growing up and the origin of their trauma is seemingly obvious, commonly the silent traumas of emotional abuse or neglect are also reasons why clients come for therapy.
Subtle emotional abuse almost always occurs alongside more explicit forms of abuse or can stand alone. Emotional abuse can be deliberate but may also be unintentional, the hidden nature of it makes it more difficult for clients to recognise and articulate.
Many people carry emotional wounds from their childhood into adulthood, often without realising it but it can result in low mood, low self-esteem or intense anxiety, hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, feeling unsafe or isolated, OCD and/or an inability to trust or form attachments to others. It can also have a significant impact on sleep, eating habits and self-care. Sometimes in order to cope, people minimise their childhood experiences, intellectualise them or they may keep busy to distract themselves away from their experiences.
Often emotions can be buried deep and lead us to have a sense of feeling unreal or like we are putting on a mask and these emotions need gentle exploration, excavation and liberation, which is possible through psychotherapy.
Therapy for survivors is at their own pace and in their own time, adverse childhood experiences can make developing trust difficult, and it may take a long time to feel able to talk about experiences, there may be feelings of shame, concern that they won’t be believed, or concerns that the therapist won’t be able to hear what they need to say.