About Trauma & Abuse

About Trauma

Trauma means a serious disruption in your way of seeing yourself and the world. Trauma rips apart your former sense of who you are, what you know, and what you can trust. The troubling feelings and thoughts and relationship patterns that grow out of the original trauma can be difficult to untangle.

It is also very common for people to keep re-experiencing the traumatic event in the form of distressing flashbacks, nightmares and body sensations that never let them rest, recover, or make meaning of what happened to them. These are some of the things that can be attended to and relieved through therapy. Psychotherapy that is focused on helping people work through traumatic events is all about trying to make the world safe again — to re-create the world, sometimes from the ground up.

Types of Abuse and Trauma

  • Divorce or separation
  • Death of a loved one
  • Domestic Violence
  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse or Rape
  • Childhood Abuse
  • Male Victimization
  • Substance abuse and effects
  • Life transitions
  • Witness violence
  • Any other experience that has been causing physical or emotional distress

Childhood Abuse

All childhood abuse is terrible. We hear a lot more about physical and sexual abuse than we do about emotional/verbal/and psychological abuse. However it is all damaging to children’s growing identity, their understanding of who they are. Children’s self-identity is especially damaged when they are abused in their own homes. When children are abused outside their home they still may have a safe, loving place to go to, a safe place to sleep. When they are abused in their own homes, they are captive of their abusers. Particularly so if everyone else in the family is abusing them, or abandoning them to the abuse. Unfortunately this is not as rare a situation as we might like to think. Abuse in a child’s own home by their own parents takes over the child’s whole life. That means they learn about who they are from people who are using them for their own desires. People who manipulate and control them, the same people they have to depend upon to feed and clothe them. These children learn to have very poor self-esteem. The normal psychological consequence of abuse is that children feel they are a bad as what was done to them. Little children don’t understand that abuse is done to them, they think it is who they are, that they must have somehow caused it. They may think they must be really bad to deserve to be treated so badly. It is also sadly true that most abusers will deliberately blame and shame their victims. Abusers know children might tell someone, if they think someone else did a bad thing, but if children think it’s their own fault, they will hide it. Therapy for childhood abuse survivors is often about surviving the psychological effects of captivity. It is about understanding their experience of every day abandonment, the lack of love, the lack of safety, the lack of concern for their needs or wants. It’s about their whole lives, their identities and beliefs about what happened to them. This is long-term therapy. It can’t be done in a matter of weeks. It likely takes many months, or years. Every abused person deserves to have therapy for as long as they need to heal. The Centre for Abuse and Trauma Therapy is specifically structured to provide this long-term therapy in a way that is affordable to survivors and best suited to their needs.

Survivors of Childhood Prostitution and Pornography

There is a great deal of media attention in the past few years about how much child pornography is on the internet. People have been particularly shocked about how sadistic it is, and how young the victims are. The horrible trend to "live streaming" of child abuse on demand seems especially awful. What is not so clear, is that there is survivors of these atrocities living here in Kingston, and in every other area of Canada, as well as around the world. If childhood abuse in one’s own home is terrible, think about being born to parents who intend to use you to make money from exploiting sadistic sexual abuse of you. Some of this is within criminal gangs, sometimes called ritual abuse, because of the trappings they use to frighten the children.

The Good News

The good news is that survivors of even this terrible form of abuse can heal and have good, peaceful, happy lives, with proper client-centred, respectful therapy. Survivors in our community deserve all the help and support we can offer. The Centre for Abuse and Trauma Therapy has therapists who are experienced in guiding people through this challenging process. With the help of our wonderful team volunteers and supporters we will work towards having the means to provide services for many more. If you or someone you know could benefit from our services please call 613-507-2288