Survivor Support Anonymous strongly recommends that each member engages in personal therapy to get professional help for the consequences of abuse. Abuse victims can have deep-rooted painful memories and blocks that will require the expertise of a professional. The group may not have the skills and the knowledge to help each individual overcome their pain, however, the peer support available in our group will provide an invaluable asset in the recovery of the survivor. It is usually a combination of supports that will give us the best chance of recovery, however it is obviously the personal choice of the survivor whether or not to start therapy. The only requirement for Survivor Support Anonymous is it is a desire to recover from abuse.
For many of us it is scary to put ourselves in the hands of a therapist and to go back over the memories that we may have been trying to escape from for all our lives. Depending on our circumstances, this may however be needed so that some traumatic memories lose their charge and can be remembered without it resulting in a flashback that takes us over. Only a trained professional can help us to convert flashbacks that can be debilitating to simply bad memories that are extremely unpleasant. It is often the difference in remembering in a way that makes us feel like we are back there and it is still happening versus remembering but being fully present that we have survived the experience and are now safe from the perpetrator as the abuse is over. If we do suffer from flashbacks and panic attacks then this type of professional help will make a massive difference in healing and moving forward. The group cannot provide this professional help but we will certainly support each other to access it when needed.
Some therapies do not require us to go back and will work on moving forward without the need to force ourselves to remember. If we do not suffer flashbacks then this type of therapy may feel safer in our journey. It is important to consider what type of therapy feels right and safe for us individually. It is also important to get a therapist that meets our needs and is a right fit in our recovery. This may take time and we may need to try different approaches to find a therapist that we feel safe with. The group will encourage and support us in that search.
Some of us may have already had therapeutic help and only need to return to that support at times when we are struggling. If this is the case then this step will help us identify the signs and triggers that we may need to look out for that should be a sign to ourselves when we need to get additional help. Therapy may not be something that is done once and is over. As is the case with a lot of supports, it can be helpful to return to counselling if we have set backs or new challenges in our lives.
Professional help may also be in the form of medication, mindfulness, addiction supports or self-help courses. There is a lot of help out there, this step gets us to explore what we need in order to heal from the hurt caused by the abuse.
“ Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness when we discover the Internet power of our light” Brene Browne
Step 7: We accepted professional help where needed for a place to discuss the details that may be to triggering for the group.