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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I deal of such a long time with child sexual/emotional abuse

    Even though I am a normal active good citizen of society, have raised a child and worked all my adult life, I occasional have relapses into my past in relation to emotional and sexual abuse by both my father and mother. I do not drink, take drugs, gamble etc but occasionally something will happen and I regress back to negative feels of neglect and of being used.

    I ended my 20 year marriage because I felt I wasn't getting all that I expected but did not know how to express it. I was sexually abused by my father and to date, emotionally abused by my mother.

    I have tried various counsellors and even though they have helped, sometimes I just hit a brick wall. I feel there are unanswered questions and I sometimes feel if I had hypnosis, would that help?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    I have been working in Eltham, Melbourne as a relationship and family counsellor for over twelve years. I draw on current theory and research about … View Profile

    You may also wish to choose a counsellor who is trained and skilled in offering specific techniques to process traumatic experiences. Because of the way our mind and body stores trauma, we need specific ways to help us process those memories. One such technique is called Radical Exposure Tapping, which has been proven to be effective for many people who have lived through traumatic experiences. It was developed in response to more sophisticated understandings about how traumatic experiences affect us from a neuro-scientific perspective. RET combines the benefits of hypnotic techniques with sensory and somatic stimulation to allow a different type of memory processing to occur. Although it doesn't work for everyone (trials have established it is effective for around 70% of people) when it does work, people report that when they recall traumatic memories, or when someone in their life now ‘pushes their buttons’ (behaves in a way that triggers earlier traumatic memories and reactions) they are now calm and able to say “That's just the way it is”.

  • My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    You might find this site helpful:

    It provides many resources for adults who are survivors of sexual abuse.

  • Kate McMaugh


    I'm a registered psychologist who provides general counselling, trauma counselling, parenting support and health-related and lifestyle change counselling in a supportive, empowering environment. I have … View Profile

    Although I can hear in your question that you are struggling in some ways, I can also hear a lot of strengths in you too. You are able to work and keep yourself regulated most of the time and without resorting to drugs and alcohol.  It is a great credit to your strengths as a survivor that you are able to do all this.

    However I can hear that you are still sometimes triggered and feel as if you go back into the past - react as if living in the past. This is quite common for survivors and something that can be worked on. Sometimes survivors who are feeling they have done some recovery but feel 'stuck' at a certain point can benefit by going back to a specialist trauma processing counsellor/therapist and doing some more work. Clients tell me that specific trauma focussed techniques like EMDR and sensori-motor psychotherapy can help where 'talking therapy' alone could not. Some clients do find hypnosis helpful too, but others feel trepidation and feel they 'can't relax' enough to do it (a good therapist can help with this). It is worth trying a few different things to see what works for you.

    I have also found that survivors who are still exposed to abuse (eg still being abused by a childhood perpetrator) can find it harder to heal as they are still being triggered and are not yet in a 'safe place' to process trauma. It sounds to me as if you are still feeling emotionally abused by your mother. I think it is worth discussing this with a trauma informed therapist to see if you can find ways to protect yourself. This might enable you to feel more free to work on what's triggering you.

    The organisation mentioned by Dr Easterbrook-Smith (ASCA) have a referral database of therapists in Australia that might be of use.

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