Whether you or someone you know has suffered abuse as an adult or as a child, abuse has become recognised as a commonplace occurrence in our society and help is now available from counsellors and psychologists with specialist experience in this area.

Whether it is in the form of domestic violence, sexual abuse, child abuse, emotional abuse, or some other form of trauma, it is now understood that these experiences can have life long effects on their victims. Many persons report symptoms including depression, anxiety and panic, difficulty establishing or maintaining intimate relationships, sexual difficulties, addictions or compulsions, eating disorders, self harm or other emotional issues including feelings of emptiness, a lack of reality, extreem mood fluctuations or difficulty managing anger.

If you are concerned about any of these symptoms and have suffered abuse in the past you may wish to consider contacting a therapist with experience treating these conditions. You may also wish to read on further to find out more about abuse. (Electronically copyright protected – do not copy – Copyright © Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney PTY LTD)

Help is available - counselling & psychological therapy

The most important thing to recognise is that if you are still being abused you do not have to suffer with this problem alone. Countless people have gone through similar experiences. There is information and help available to assist you in getting out of an abusive situation you might currently be in and counselling with a trained Counsellor or Psychologist, may be of assistance in helping you to stop or seperate yourself emotionally from an abusive situation. There are also very effective counselling & psychotherapy treatments to help you recover from the emotional or psychological symptoms you may have as a result of having being abused in the past.

Recognising abuse

Some people are not even aware that they have been abused or that they are currently in an abusive situation. If you are not sure if you have been the victim of abuse, consider that the basic underlying feature of abuse is that some of your rights as a human being have been or are being violated by another person. Abuse is when another person has hurt you sexually, physically, and/or emotionally within the context of it being unwelcome or unwanted by you.

Abuse also exists within different degrees of severity. For example, abuse can consist of being called names, such as “lazy”, “stupid”, or “crazy”, to the more severe forms of abuse, such as incest, violence against you or sadistic mutilation. Although the severity of these examples of abuse is different, all abuse is to be taken seriously and can produce psychological problems for those being abused. In general, those who experience the more severe types of abuse develop a greater degree of emotional and psychological difficulty and need more intensive therapeutic treatments.

What happens to people who have suffered abuse?

Being a victim of abuse in and of itself is not a psychological or emotional disorder. When abuse has occurred, it is simply more likely that the victimized person will develop emotional or psychological problems because of being traumatized, such as post traumatic stress disorder, depression, and/or other anxiety disorders including fearing future abuse. However, having an emotional disorder, such as depression, does not mean that you were abused and being abused does not mean you will develop depression. Abuse is a sufficient reason that someone may develop emotional problems such as depression, however there are many other reasons why someone may become depressed.

It is also important to know that each individual will respond differently to abuse than others will. It is possible for one person who was chronically, severely abused to not have developed as many or the same psychological symptoms from the abuse as another person who went through the same type of trauma. There is no one right cluster of symptoms that someone will develop from being abused. There is also no one way for someone to respond to being abused; whatever ways an individual has tried to cope with being abused is okay, with the exception of abusing others.

A common problem for those who have experienced abuse is to blame oneself for being abused. We tend to want to blame ourselves for our problems, especially when we feel there is no other clear answer. “He hits me because I am stupid and clumsy… I deserve it.” “I was a bad child and deserved the emotional abuse I received as my parents blamed their alcoholism on me…” “I’m ugly, that’s why he ignores me.” Blaming the victim is common, but it doesn’t make it right — you are not to blame

Access to counselling & psychologist treatment

Nobody deserves to be physically, sexually, emotionally, or spiritually abused as a child or as an adult. Abusive people are unable to effectively control or cope with their own anger and life. It is their own problem, and one that they then put on to you or someone you love.

Abuse is not hidden in the closet any longer. We know more about abuse, what causes it, and how to recover from it than we ever did in the past. Today, there is hope, help, and treatment for problems related to abuse that you or someone you know has suffered.

We have developed the information here to act as a guide to help you better understand abuse and trauma, and to help you discover more information about these problems on your own.

Please contact Associated Counsellors & Psychologists Sydney if you would like to confidentially discuss treatment options for issues stemming from current or past abuse.

Sexual abusers

If you are currently sexually abusing a child or an adult or fantasising about these acts, you can access help at www.anzatsa.org . This association lists members who are specialised in working with persons who sexually abuse.

You can also check the the NSW Child Sex Offender Counsellor Accreditation Scheme (CSOCAS) register here.

Domestic violence assistance

If you are currently in a Domestic Violence situation you can obtain free advice and assistance by calling the Domestic Violence Line on 1 800 65 64 63 or calling your local community health center listed under C in the white pages.

Naturally, if you are in immediate danger you should contact police emergency services immedately by calling 000.

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