Childhood-Trauma Recovery/Scared.

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Question
I have one year of sobriety under my belt for today. I am now working on my childhood/teenage years of being sexually molested by my father. I am involved in EMT with my therapist which is bringing up many horrible memories that I thought I blocked out. I am terrified of strange men and I feel like I am going crazy. My father still wants to be part of my life and today I believe I have a better head on my shoulders to know what is right and wrong. I feel as though I do not know a correct way to be touched, how do you believe I should go about this? If almost anyone gives me attention I feel as though they want me sexually. What is the difference between friendly touch and a sexual touch? What do I do with all this fear, sadness, depression, anxiety over my trauma from growing up? I almost do not want to deal with my past because it's so painful, why is it so painful when its so blurry?
    Thank You for being here,
         Bethany

Answer
Hi Bethany - my heart goes out to you. You (sadly) have a LOT of company. I hope your therapist is trained to deal with childhood sexual abuse - it's a specialty. Besides a trained clinician, it's ogften helpful to participate in a well-led abuse-saurvivor's group. Perhaps your therapist can recommend one
  I salute your courage in seeking help. In my experience, there IS healing, but to gain it, you must experience and learn from the pain. Often the fastest way through is education and **family** (vs. individual) therapy.
  I suspect your REAL issue is growing up in a "low-nurturance" family, which usually causes up to 6 psychological "wounds":

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/wounds.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/gwc.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/means.htm

I suspect each of your parents was/is an unaware "GWC"

The good news is, with courage, patience, and informed help, you can reduce these wounds over time, and live a much better life:

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/recover.htm

http://sfhelp.org/gwc/guide1.htm  

I am a recovering childhood abuse-survivor too.

If these articles bring up questions, please ask, Bethany. Meanwhile - know that things CAN get better, and work toward that a day at a time! I encourage you to seek an SA-survivor's group, so you don't feel alone on your journey...

- Pete  

Childhood-Trauma Recovery

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Peter Gerlach

Expertise

I can answer questions about what constitutes and causes childhood neglect and abuse, and what those cause in typical young people. I can describe the specific psychological wounds that result, and options for assessing those wounds and reducing them over time. I can advise on addiction management (including codependence); mood disorders; depression; relationship problems; avoiding courtship mistakes; effective parenting; bonding, losses, and healthy grief; finding your life purpose; hitting nbottom; effective support groups and clinical help; PTSD; ADD/HD; and how to relate well to psychologically-wounded people. I can refer people to several different ways to recover, including inner-family therapy. I cannot answer legal or medical questions about trauma recovery I have uploaded many videos about trauma recovery to YouTube - see the "gercacn" channel at http://www.youtube.com/my_playlists?p=FDDB7B5952B93B5B"

Experience

I have been a professional family-systems therapist for 32 years. For 26 years, I have studied and recovered from my own childhood trauma (2 alcoholic parents), and have helped hundreds of self-motivated women and men do the same.

Organizations
Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA), SelfLeadership.com, SelfGrowth.com, Unity Church, and the National Stepfamily Resource Center's Experts Council (NSRC). I belong to and support Final Exit and Compassion and Choices nonprofit right-to-die organizations.

Publications
I have published a book on inner-wound assessment and recovery [Who's *Really* Running Your Life?" (Xlibris.com)], and have uploaded a free 7-module self study course ("Break the Cycle!") course on the Web: http://sfhelp.org. I also answer Expert" questions about effective communication, counseling, and stepfamily solutions.

Education/Credentials
I have a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Stanford University (1959) and a Masters degree in clinical Social Work (MSW) from George Williams College (1981). I have taken hundreds of post-grad education hours on trauma and recovery-related topics from perhaps 30 vetweran clinicians, and have read over 40 books on chldhood-trauma recovery, personality development, clinical hypnosis, spirituality, 12-step philosophy, multiple personalities, psychosynthesis, and "Voice Dialog." I have been recovering from my own childhood wounds since 1986 - and have gained a degree of serenity and life purpose I never believed possible as younger man. Helping "Grown Wounded Children" break the unseen legacy of ancestral neglect and abuse has become my life mission.

Awards and Honors
Hundreds of grateful emails and testamonies from clients and recoverers all over the world about my nonprofit recovery Web site. I was elected the president of the board of the Oak Park (IL) Family and Mental Health Center after serving for seveal years.

Past/Present Clients
Over 1000 men, women, couples, and families in the Chicago area, and hundreds of adult students in lay and professional seminars and classes. I now do phone and Skype counseling from Portland, OR (USA)

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