Coping with Child Sexual Abuse in Adult relationships. Part I

In my practice at Midwest Counselling, of the many long-lasting impacts child sexual abuse (C.S.A.) and one of the most prominent is the difficulty for  adult survivors of C.S.A. to maintain healthy fulfilling couple relationships. The merits of focusing on the role the partner has in this recovery is becoming more and more apparent (The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 2012) as too is the value of using a multidisciplinary approach (Ibid). For many therapists the focus of the therapy is the healing process for the traumatised individual rather than looking at the potential healing opportunities provided by a safe and trusting couple relationship. Furthermore, in many situations it is a couple who have presented with relationship, intimacy or sexual issues stemming from CSA and are looking for help from within dynamic of the relationship; and so the work of treating CSA needs to take place within a couples counselling  paradigm.

Ignoring the impact of CSA on adult relationship or focusing only on the survivor of CSA or ignoring the role the other partner can play may limit the healing opportunities within the therapeutic relations and can level the client feeling let down or dissatisfied particularly if you are working within the confines of couples counselling. Similarly it is a well-established consensus within the psychotherapeutic and counselling communities that treatment of complex trauma, especially with regard to CSA that survivors of sexual abuse require safe and healing relationships from which recovery can most ably begin. (Courtois, Ford & Cloitre, 2009)

While this notion had generally been accepted to apply to the therapeutic relationship, it is important not to overlook the restorative opportunities and potential offered from with the confines of existing couple relations; especially when the clients have expressed a desire to work on and improve the sexual contact, intimacy or other aspects of their relations. If, as we can all agree, healing takes place in moments of secure attachment (Solomon, 2003) then the opportunity provided for healing within the current couple relationship is a vital and dynamic opportunity that ought not to be overlooked.

As per the attachment theory the security of the existing couple relationship (as well as the security of the therapeutic relationship) can allow the therapist to encourage the client to explore the trauma and its impact from a safe place.

In using this approach is it also important to recognise the frequency with which one finds that if one partner bring to the relationship a history of CSA, then the other partner will bring problems of equal measure, often, though not necessarily always, sexual abuse. Therefore it may very well be the case that as a therapist you may find yourself treating not one, but two separate victims of traumatic childhood or early life experiences.

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The Budget 2013; Financial Strain and Your Mental Health

Financial strain is probably one of the biggest causes of stress, especially in today’s economy and is only getting worse. With so many losing their jobs, cutbacks and tax increases just trying to make ends meet can cause immense stress to already stressful lives.

This year’s budget has promised to be tougher and more hard-hitting and may cause many of us to despair, panic and fear for the future.

If the stress and worry is becoming too much or if you feel you many benefit from talking to someone, please feel free to call me on 087 709 74 77 or email me in confidence at midwestcounselling@gmail.com

What is Depression?

What is Depression?

There is a difference between depression with a little‘d’ – which we all get – and depression with a big ‘D’. Depression with a little ‘d’ is a natural response to having a bad day or hearing sad news. Depression with a big ‘D’ is when your whole energy and concentration is down and you are struggling to focus. It is a mental health condition which affects a person’s thinking, energy, feelings and behaviour. It’s not just having a bad day!

Symptoms of Depression

Depression has eight main symptoms. If you experience five or more of these symptoms, lasting for a period of two weeks or more, you should speak to a GP or mental health professional. The symptoms of depression are:

• Feeling sad, anxious or bored

• Low energy, feeling tired or fatigued

• Under-sleeping or over-sleeping,waking frequently during the night

• Poor concentration, thinking slowed down

• Loss of interest in hobbies, family or social life

• Low self-esteem and feelings of guilt

• Aches and pains with no physical basis, e.g. chest, head or tummy pain  associated with anxiety or stress

• Loss of interest in living, thinking about death, suicidal thoughts

What causes it?

Depression has a number of possible causes. For some people, it happens because of a traumatic life event such as bereavement, relationship breakdown, financial difficulties or bullying. In other situations, the person may have an inherent tendency towards depression, and such genetic factors can be key in the case of bipolar disorder. This mood disorder involves not just periods of depression, but also periods of elation, where the person’s mood is significantly higher than normal. During these periods, a person may have excessive energy with little need for sleep, may have grandiose ideas and may engage in risk-taking behaviour.

What should I do if I think I am depressed?

The most important thing to do is to speak to a doctor or mental health professional in order to get a correct diagnosis. There are a number of treatments for depression, depending on the cause and severity of symptoms and a professional is best placed to decide which, if any, treatment is most appropriate. Accessing reliable information is also vital.

 Taken from Aware.ie 15th July 2012

Suicide Warning Signs

Article taken from

Suicide Ireland 13th July 2012

 Warning Signs

Information to help you spot the warning signs of depression and suicidal behaviour. We can all make a difference.

What are the warning signs?

These are some of the classic signs that someone you know may be in need of some help. Please watch for the following symptoms…

Talking About Dying

  • any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self harm.

Recent Loss

 

  • through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, loss of job, money, status, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of religious faith, loss of interest in friends, sex, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed

Change in Personality

  • Sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic
  • Change in Behaviour
  • Can’t concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
  • Change in Sleep Patterns
  • Insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares
  • Change in Eating Habits
  • Loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
  • Diminished Sexual Interest
  • Impotence, menstrual abnormalities (often missed periods)
  • Fear of losing control
  • Harming self or others
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me”

Report from RTE News on Suicide stats in Ireland 2011

Reported on RTE News 11th July 2010

 525 suicides, representing 11.4 per 100,000 of the population, were registered in 2011.

The vast majority of those who took their own lives were men.

The figures are contained in the Central Statistics Office Vital Statistics for 2011, which look at the numbers of births, deaths and marriages registered in that year.

The 2011 figures saw a rise in male suicides, which accounted for 84% of all suicide deaths.

Responding to the figures, the Irish Association of Suicidology said international research shows that for every 1% increase in unemployment there is a 0.78% increase in the rate of suicide.

It said that given the impact the economic downturn had had, especially on young males, it was not surprising that men were so at risk to suicide.

However, the association said that there is always help available to anyone suffering emotional distress or feeling suicidal, including through the samaritans or their family GP.

490 suicides were registered in Ireland in 2010.

Dan Neville TD, President of the Irish Association of Suicidology, said he was “extremely concerned” by the increase in the number of deaths by suicide.

Mr Neville said the figures were not a surprise because there was anecdotal evidence of an increase. He said the true figure was closer to 600 when “undetermined” deaths were taken into account.

He said the figure reflected the neglect of suicide prevention for decades, and the economic recession, which impacts on the levels of depression, anxiety and despair.

Mr Neville said that he has been assured that €35m allocated to the development of mental health services was safe from cutbacks.

He said in the past, the HSE did hive off money allocated to mental health for other services, and there must be vigilance that this doesn’t happen again.

He called for the urgent appointments of a Director of Mental Health Services, and a new director of the National Suicide Prevention Office.

“They are key positions that there should be no delay in the appointment of,” he said.

“Particularly the Director of Mental Health Services. This is a new position, promised by the government, by Dr Reilly. But it’s something we have been looking at for years.”