Step Eight Professional Help
  1. Review your inventory of problem areas with your therapist and discuss how to best address these life issues as you continue to heal your inner wounds. This will give you a sense of control over your recovery and will help you learn to speak up for what you want and negotiate an agreement about the direction of your therapy. While your therapist may have reasons for wanting you to address certain things first, it is your decision that counts the most.
  2. Some of the problems you will likely identify, such as physical ailments, sexual problems, severe mood disorders, parenting problems and work-related concerns, are common among survivors and may require the services of specialists. In general, this is the time for you to develop a more detailed treatment strategy for the various symptoms of the abuse that do not readily remit through your weekly therapy sessions. This is in keeping with a holistic approach to recovery, one that seeks to take the best of each therapeutic modality and apply it strategically as part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
  3. For example, if you have body memories that manifest themselves as muscular aches and pains, soreness in certain areas of your body or decreased joint flexibility, consider seeing an acupuncturist, who may be able to provide either topical or systemic relief for these symptoms. Acupuncture treatments can also trigger the release of specific feelings, especially fear and anxiety, that may then become localized in the specific areas of the body that were directly affected by the abuse. However, unless your acupuncturist is also a trained psychotherapist, you will need to continue to work with your therapist to identify and resolve the underlying feelings.

Sexual problems can be addressed directly using specific behavioral techniques. However, these may be outside your therapist's area of expertise, and you may need to seek a referral to a specialist. Severe mood disorders, especially in survivors whose parents were similarly afflicted, may have a physiological base and may not be a delayed reaction to the abuse. If this is the case, therapy may be more effective if augmented by some of the newer psychotropic medications. You will need a referral to a psychiatrist for a medication evaluation and ongoing monitoring. Likewise, parenting problems may require either a consultation with your pediatrician or a referral to a child or family therapist.

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Survivor to Thriver, Page 85
© 2007 THE MORRIS CENTER, Revised 11/06