Healing Practices for Survivors of Sexual AbuseDina Saalisi
In this post, I have outlined some healing practices for survivors of sexual abuse trauma.
Last week, in my previous blog article I talked about a selection of flower essences that can help to transform the challenging emotions associated with sexual abuse trauma. My Narrative Health Coaching practice always begins by using flower essence remedies to provide support with the healing process. From this place of renewed equilibrium, clients become more capable of achieving growth through healing practices with a stronger ability to cultivate a healing narrative.
Healing Practices for Survivors of Sexual Abuse Trauma
Healing trauma is an endeavor that requires courage and patience. Personal growth is a life-long practice and if you have experienced trauma early in life there are particular challenges that may seem overwhelming at the beginning of recovery. The good news is that you are not alone. The first step in working through trauma is to connect with other survivors. This is a gift in terms of healing practices for survivors of sexual abuse.
One of the best ways I’ve found is to join a support group for survivors of sexual abuse, led by a skilled therapist. Being able to tell the story of your abuse and bear witness to others is a transformative part of healing. Recognizing that you are not alone and that you are greater than your suffering allows you to shift feelings of shame and fear that accompany abuse. Slowly and steadily you will begin to feel stronger and more capable of going deeper into your healing work.
“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.”
~ B.K.S. Iyengar
Connecting With Your Body
Survivors of sexual abuse experienced wounding through their bodies; it makes sense that developing a strong connection with your body is a powerful way to shift trauma. Many survivors tend to dissociate from their bodies as a way to protect them from further pain.
The practice of yoga is a profound way to connect with your body, breath, mind and spirit. As you practice strengthening your body through yoga postures, you are also strengthening your mind to stay focused in the present moment.
Connection to your breathing is a natural part of this rhythm, which enables you to develop a deeper connection to your spirit. You begin to accept your inner strength as your true nature.
“Your true home is in the here and the now.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Developing Deeper Connection
From this newfound awareness of connectedness to your body, you can begin to develop a deeper connection to your inner being. Learning how to stay focused in the present moment, you become more able to handle difficult emotions as they arise. Sitting meditation is the best way to approach stillness of mind.
Begin by sitting for 5-minutes, once a day. Find a private, peaceful spot where you feel safe. Sit in a comfortable position, keeping your eyes slightly open. Concentrate on your breath, slowly and fully inhaling and exhaling. As your mind wanders, simply notice the thoughts then return to your breath. After continuing this way for a week or two, add more time to your sitting mediation practice.
This is one of the healing practices for survivors of sexual abuse that allows you to notice how you are growing in awareness and how you are more able to stay present in the here and now.
“People don’t need to be forced to grow. All we need is favorable circumstances: respect, love, honesty, and the space to explore.”
~ Ellen Bass
Journaling as a Practice
Keeping a journal and recording your feelings, thoughts, sensations and inspirations provide a potent way allow your inner voice to be heard and is a powerful way to approach Narrative Healing. Often ideas stay stuck in our minds with no place to go, resulting in anxiety and an inability to focus. Creating a safe space to explore your innermost ideas to flow freely through writing is a phenomenon that encourages growth.
Begin by using “stream of consciousness” writing. Set a timer for 15-minutes and write freely, without stopping, editing or censoring your Self. Allow the words to flow onto the page without over-thinking; express yourself from your heart. On the new and full moon of each month, re-read your journal entries to observe patterns and insights.
This seemingly magical process leads to recognizing where you may be stuck and where you are flourishing, which leads to deeper self-awareness. Through this newfound understanding of Self, you begin to shift your story of pain and abuse to a narrative that includes growth, healing and wholeness of being.
“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.”
~ Rachel Carson
Probably the most authentic way for survivors of sexual abuse to approach healing trauma is to connect with nature. Being one with the natural elements is your inherent makeup. Anyone can sense the feelings of peace and grounding that come from simply being outside; touching the earth, smelling the flowers, noticing the wondrous beauty that we are a part of. This practice is part of the many healing practices for survivors of sexual abuse, and is easy to undertake.
There are many opportunities to explore nature right outside your door. Taking hikes in pristine areas, gardening in your backyard, swimming in oceans and lakes are just some ways you can touch nature and feel more complete. There is a fundamental element to this practice that creates a feeling of trust in life. You can depend on and put your faith in nature as you renew yourself through this daily communion.
Healing from sexual abuse trauma is a choice and a commitment to wanting to lead a happier, healthier life. You recognize that you do not have to be defined by your experience and that healing is possible. Beginning your journey on this path may seem scary, frustrating, angering, isolating and sad.
Cultivating a partnership with a skilled coach will help you achieve growth and create the life you deserve.