Psychotherapy Tips

Sexual abuse therapist san diego

I specialize in working with adolescents and adults who have experienced significant trauma in their lives, particularly child

sexual abuse

, child maltreatment, and intimate partner violence.

I believe that we all experience our own unique traumas in life, and it’s how we respond to them that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. I’m here to help you see things from a different lens, or perhaps just help you develop new ways of responding to your own individual experiences. Healing your traumas allows you to regain your sense of power and strengthen your sense of self. I take a holistic approach to healing and wellness and believe that each client requires a unique, person-centered approach.

Andrea Vaz Antunes

Therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

We are all in a state of change. We are either approaching a change, in the midst of change or looking back at a change. These transitions are unavoidable and they can be both liberating and/or paralyzing. Our work together will initially focus on relieving the distressing feelings you are experiencing within your body and mind. We will then begin to identify your own style of change. We will practice it together and you will begin to meet these changes with grace and less stress.

San Diego, CA 92103
1.6 Miles away

Provides Sexual Abuse or Assault Therapy

I specialize in working with adolescents and adults who have experienced significant trauma in their lives, particularly child

sexual abuse

, child maltreatment, and intimate partner violence.

I believe that we all experience our own unique traumas in life, and it’s how we respond to them that shapes our view of the world and ourselves. I’m here to help you see things from a different lens, or perhaps just help you develop new ways of responding to your own individual experiences. Healing your traumas allows you to regain your sense of power and strengthen your sense of self. I take a holistic approach to healing and wellness and believe that each client requires a unique, person-centered approach.

What is emotional abuse?

Emotional abuse is a complex issue. If you were emotionally abused, the perpetrator was likely someone who you cared about and who may even care about you. It can be subtle and hard to recognize, or it can be blatantly manipulative. Either way, emotional abuse affects the way you think about yourself and even controls your habits. Soon, your perception of reality changes and you might start to question the truth about the situation and about yourself. 

The team at The Green Room Psychological Services Inc. is dedicated to helping you work through your emotional abuse, no matter the dynamic of the abusive relationship or the age you were when it happened. They specialize in treating survivors of  sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, war trauma, or any combination. They also treat active-duty military members and their unique experiences.

What are some examples of emotionally abusive behavior?

Because emotional abuse affects your thought patterns and your perception of reality, the best way to recognize it is by examining the actions of your abuser. You might be in an emotionally abusive relationship if a romantic partner, a close friend, a family member, or a work colleague if they:

 

  • Undermine or question your opinions or perceptions
  • Call you “crazy,” “over-emotional,” or “stupid”
  • Expect you to bend over backward for them
  • Tell you that your needs are selfish
  • Start arguments with you without provocation
  • Make fun of you
  • Lie about events that you know happened
  • Monitor your phone or social media
  • Act jealous and try to keep you away from others in your life

 

The bottom line is that your emotional abuser wants to have control over you. Loved ones may notice the abusive nature of your relationship and encourage you to leave before you even realize that your relationship is problematic.

What should I do if I’m in an emotionally abusive relationship?

If you’re in an emotional relationship, simply leaving often doesn’t feel like a realistic option. But even if you feel like you should stay, you must take steps to leave the situation. The team at The Green Room Psychological Services Inc. offers psychotherapy and counseling to help you work past emotional abuse.

If you’re currently in an emotionally abusive relationship, your provider can help you find the courage and resources to leave. They also help you recover from the lasting effects of the relationship and realize that you can thrive without your abuser.

If you think you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship, call The Green Room Psychological Services Inc. to reserve an appointment today.

Sexual Abuse Q & A

What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse is sexual activity of any kind during which one participant, the victim, is unwilling or unable to consent. There are many other actions that fall into the category of sexual abuse. They include:

  • Inappropriate, unwanted touching
  • Child molestation
  • Rape or attempted rape
  • Unwanted penetration of any kind
  • Incest
  • Exhibitionism (flashing one’s private areas)
  • Voyeurism (spying on others’ private sexual acts)

Some types of sexual abuse, like exhibitionism or voyeurism, don’t involve any touching at all. But this doesn’t mean that the effects of the abuse are any less harmful or traumatic. Sexual assault of any kind is extremely violating. You can be a victim of sexual abuse regardless of age, gender, or race.

What are the effects of sexual abuse later in life?

Even if you don’t realize it, your sexual abuse may have left a lasting impact on you and your relationships. Years or even decades later, psychological effects from an instance of sexual abuse can linger and pervade your judgment and decision-making.

Immediately after the instance of sexual abuse, you might feel shocked, fearful, or even guilty. Many survivors develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that causes the same feelings to return long after the event when exposed to certain triggers.

Not everyone gets PTSD, and the lasting effects after sexual abuse are different for everyone. They might include social isolation, extreme anxiety, trouble maintaining close relationships, or risky sexual behavior.

How can I work through trauma related to sexual abuse?

At The Green Room Psychological Services Inc., your provider fosters a trusting and transparent relationship with you. They encourage you to communicate about the abuse and its effects at your own pace and comfort levels over the course of your therapy, which could take weeks or months.

You’ll undergo an assessment to help your provider evaluate your mental health at the beginning of treatment. They use this information to choose the best approach to your treatment, which may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or psychotherapy for PTSD. You’ll learn coping mechanisms to help you live with your trauma and strategies to handle coming into contact with your triggers.

No matter the type of sexual abuse you went through or the effects it had on your psyche, the team at The Green Room Psychological Services Inc. is equipped to help you overcome it. To book an appointment for treatment after sexual abuse, call the office today.

Black and white photo of two hands in front of face. Representing sexual abuse counselling.Black and white photo of two hands in front of face. Representing sexual abuse counselling. 1 in 4 Americans will have experienced sexual abuse in their life, yet an even fewer number will ever reveal this to someone. This is unfortunate because a large part of healing from this type of trauma is getting support and working to identify how this experience has impacted your story, your journey and your current life circumstances. Sexual abuse counselling can help.

1 in 4 Americans will have experienced sexual abuse in their life, yet an even fewer number will ever reveal this to someone. This is unfortunate because a large part of healing from this type of trauma is getting support and working to identify how this experience has impacted your story, your journey and your current life circumstances. Sexual abuse counselling can help.

Sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape are all considered to be traumatic experiences and many times people who have survived such incidents go on to meet criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It’s best to seek sexual abuse counselling and meet with a therapist so that they can more fully evaluate the extent of your symptoms and assess whether you meet criteria for PTSD or not.

Sexual Abuse Counselling at Freedom Within Center

We realize it can be very difficult to open up to someone new about such a sensitive event in your life, but we promise to be non-judgmental and welcoming in our approach with you. During sexual abuse counselling, it’s not uncommon for survivors of sexual abuse to take longer to feel comfortable with their therapist or to open up about their experience, and that is okay! We want to come alongside you at your own pace while gently nudging you to your goals.

Our therapists are trained in various trauma modalities that are proven to effectively decrease symptoms related to sexual trauma. The sexual abuse therapy methods include but are not limited to:

  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT)
  • Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)
  • Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
  • Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE)
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)
  • Community Resiliency Model (CRM)

Freedom Within Center provides a safe place to seek therapy for sexual abuse victims. To discover what a difference sexual abuse counselling can make for you, request an appointment today.

Common psychological effects of abuse may include one or more of the following:

  • Confusion
  • Worry
  • Self-doubt
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Fear of others
  • Struggles with intimacy
  • Depression
  • Communication difficulty
  • Forgetfulness
  • Going blank or checking out
  • Poor judgment

Common physical symptoms of abuse may include one or more of the following:

  • Difficulty sleeping or struggling to get out of bed
  • Unusual eating patterns
  • Bodily aches and pains
  • Tension or constriction in the stomach, jaw, or throat
  • Headaches
  • Trouble speaking, dialoguing, or concentrating during conversations
  • Panic attacks
  • Withdrawal from life and events
  • Trouble following through
  • Flashbacks

Types of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse comes in many forms and is categorized differently among professionals. While a general definition is listed above, sexual abuse deserves more attention here. While rape or sexual assault are the most often discussed forms of sexual abuse, it’s important that people are aware of the potentially detrimental impact of all forms of sexual abuse. Below, we discuss two categories of sexual abuse that are often overlooked or diminished even by survivors of these traumatic experiences.

Molestation, as distinct from rape and sexual assault where forced and intense acts occur, is a form of sexual abuse that includes unwanted or non-consensual touching or fondling of a person’s genitals and body by a perpetrator as well as using that person to enhance sexual play without consent. This can also include inappropriate language and gestures, often from an older person toward a minor. For instance, this might include engaging in sexual acts in front of someone else, indecent exposure, inappropriate child grooming, as well as more obvious forms such as forced sexual acts upon a child. Whatever the form, molestation can negatively impact individuals, but we can help you through your healing journey.

Sexual harassment is another form of sexual abuse. It most often occurs between adults. While we often think of sexual harassment in the workplace, it also occurs in social settings like school, church, or other gatherings. Sexual harassment includes behavior with implicit or explicit sexual overtones and unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. For example, this may include treating others like sexual objects, with inappropriate glances, touches, teasing, or comments. This may also include direct or unwanted advances as well as offering gifts, like promotions or other benefits, in exchange for sexual favors. Another example of sexual harassment is when things of a sexual nature are used in demeaning ways or in ways that create tension, i.e. displaying inappropriate pictures or imagery, having inappropriate discussion in front of others, indecent exposure, and so on.

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