Incest: “Specialized care throughout the year can improve trauma”

According to Karen Sadlier, Ph.D. in clinical psychology, survivors of sexual assault who receive specialized psychotraumatic care for a year are likely to get rid of most of the traumatic suffering.

A former director of the Trauma Center of the Paris Institute of Victimology, the American is a member of the Independent Commission on Incest and Sexual Abuse of Children (Ciivise), which, in a report released Thursday, calls for “specialized trauma care for victims to be guaranteed.” .

Question: What are the consequences of sexual abuse and incest for children and adults?

Answer: The victim has psychotraumatic disorders. She experiences violence in the form of flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares. She experiences psychological and emotional stress in the face of an event that reminds her of traumatic memories. Forced to see the incestuous grandfather again, she overwhelmed these images. Raped in the shower, she becomes upset when she goes to the bathroom.

At the same time, there will be an avoidance strategy, she does not want to think about it, talk about it, for fear of not being able to control her emotions and her thoughts.

She may have memory lapses, unable to remember exactly what happened due to neurological changes. Even traumatic amnesia is possible. She doesn’t remember some things that come back due to sensory elements when her children are at the age she was at the time of incest.

Traumatic emotional dissociation is also observed: I remember well, I tell, but I do not experience any emotions. Or physical: there are parts of my body that I can’t feel. For example, if sodomy has taken place, we do not feel when we need to have a bowel movement.

The victim produces more stress hormones and experiences difficulty concentrating, irritability, difficulty falling asleep, startling, headaches, abdominal pain, back pain.

And there are secondary comorbidities: eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia. Addiction. Depression, self-mutilation, suicide attempts. Psychiatrists will find these victims in their office for a different reason. Here you have to ask the question: have you been a victim of sexual abuse?

Q: Can they be cured?

Answer: If specialized psychotraumatic assistance is provided during the year, then traumatic suffering can even be erased to a large extent. And if specialized care is provided years after the abuse, it will significantly reduce the symptoms. It will be like with diabetes or osteoarthritis, exacerbations, crises at a certain time.

Q: What treatments are effective?

A: Trauma-focused therapy successfully improves symptoms. They focus on practical aspects, helping to live. We are going to meditate with a child who has been attacked in the toilet and wants to go to the toilet. How can you feel safe? Should we leave the door open? Bring a cell phone?

The therapist asks questions and guides the victim to help her understand how the trauma works, how he was captured, why the aggressor is to blame and not her.

What during sex can help you return to the +here and now+? If the sheets were blue during the assault, avoid that color.

For children, animal therapy can help. Touching an animal releases oxytocin, which reduces stress.

Techniques that focus on the body and artistic expression can be helpful.

The position of the psychoanalyst is not to ask questions, he allows the person to go where he wants to go. One of the symptoms of trauma is avoidance. You must focus on the traumatic event, talk about the mechanism of violence, show how the aggressor put the person under control.

The government has announced its intention to establish a trauma center in every department.

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