Rape Counselling: a less painful, more effective approach.
This is a link to an article I have just written for the MindFully Well website
https://mindfullywell.ie/rape-counselling/ on a more effective, less painful approach to rape counselling. The alternative approach used is the same as used by a UK charity with army veterans suffering from PTSD. You can read more about it here: PTSD Resolution
I have worked with many survivors, both male & female, of rape & sexual abuse & have found that the approach described in the article is very effective in reducing distress & symptoms quickly ( such as anxiety, sleeplessness, flashbacks etc.) & that it is a relatively comfortable process as the client is kept in a relaxed state throughout (using a combination of relaxation techniques).
There are also different ways of achieving the same results, in cases were someone has difficulty with relaxation or visualization. In these cases I have found that it is possible to use toys to help the person stay relaxed whilst recalling what happened. This allows the amygdala and hippocampus in the person’s brain to reprocess the traumatic memories and recode them as being in the past.
The memory then becomes a “normal” bad memory and the triggering that these experiences usually cause becomes much reduced or, in some cases, disappears.
This is because what we call triggers are in fact sensory memories from the trauma that are trapped in the Amygdala’s Sensory Store, separate from the rest of the memory. The symptoms of anxiety, fear and panic are generated because the Amygdala uses the stored sensory memories as templates warning that we are in danger. It is trying to keep us safe.
For this triggering to be reduced, what needs to happen is for the brain to be able to see what has happened whilst we remain totally relaxed. It is the stress hormone & neurotransmitter cortisol that caused these sensory memories to be trapped as it was flooding the brain at the time of the trauma preventing the neocortex and hippocampus from processing the memory in the normal way.