Domestic abuse takes many forms including; physical, emotional, psychological, sexual and financial, and these can often be combined. Sometimes it takes the form of coercive control, which has finally been recognised as abuse by the law. Due to the messages about relationships which are prevalent in our society it often takes a victim time to realise they have been or are being abused, as abuse is hidden behind cloaks of “love” or “concern”. If this realisation has led you to this page, may I salute your courage and tenacity. If you need immediate help you can contact Refuge, Galop (for LGBTQ victims) Mankind (for male victims) or call 999. It is important to remember that domestic abuse can affect people of all ages, races, sexualities, genders, relationships, and classes. Our ideas of what a “typical” victim looks like often mean many people feel they cannot disclose they have been a victim of abuse.
Recovering from domestic abuse often takes support. The abuse can leave a survivor blaming themselves, feeling disempowered, guilty and confused. If the abuse included gas- lighting (and it often does) a survivor can fear that contact with therapists will lead to a diagnoses of a mental health condition, as abusers often claim the victim is “mad” or “disturbed”. Counselling can help a survivor explore their complex feelings, in a safe, non judgemental way. I understand it is rarely as simple as “just leaving” and also recognise that we can love those who hurt us. I never blame victims of domestic abuse for the choices they make, and I walk along side them at the pace they wish to go.
I have specialist training in working with survivors/victims of domestic abuse safely, including LGBTQ survivors. I also have experience of working with clients as they move forward with their lives, and rebuild what an abuser has torn down. It is an incredible feeling to know that someone has moved from victim to survivor to thriver and that counselling has been part of that process.
Children who have witnessed domestic abuse can also find that it impacts upon them. Often adult survivors of households where there was domestic abuse can embark on therapy as they realise that their ideas about relationships, family and themselves have been affected by the abuse. It can take time, space, and support to unpick the many feelings having witnessed abuse as a child can provoke.
If you wish to contact me to discuss counselling around any of these issues you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 07442808719
Finally good luck, and remember, the first step to healing is recognising there is a wound. You have already taken that step.