Childhood-Trauma Recovery/How can I help my friend?


Hi, I am 15 and my best friend, who is 16, was raped when he was 8. He has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. He used to have sex with other men for money from age 13 to a few months ago. He is very violent; when he gets angry he will hurt other people and himself. I have found the only way to stop him when he is doing this is to hug him until he stops hitting me. He was also in an abusive relationship last year. He has a lot of trouble trusting people. The only people he trusts are me, his twin brother, and his current boyfriend. How can I help him be less nervous, violent, and untrusting?

Hi Mandi - I applaud your wish to help your friend. Your acceptance of and caring about him is already a major gift. I suspect his biggest problem is coming from a majorly dysfunctional family, which you cannot "fix." His second probable problem is inheriting a group of psychological "wounds" from his adults. His abuse traumas have amplified these wounds. You can encourage him to learn what's happened to him #and them# by studying and talking about these articles:

Healing from sexual abuse [SA] is a complex, lengthy process which requires knowledgeable professional help. There are trained therapists and recovery groups in most cities to help SA survivors who are ready to heal. Your school counselor/s and/or church leaders may be able to recommend local resources and programs to help. Try searching for "sexual abuse recovery" and "sexual abuse recovery groups" on the Web  to learn more about this.

Besides listening to him, accepting and caring for him, hugging him, and encouraging him learn about abuse [wound] recovery and to get professional help, the best thing you can do is to take care of yourSELF. Use this ageless wisdom as a guide: and avoid feeling responsible for reducing his pain.

Compassionately, Pete  

Childhood-Trauma Recovery

All Answers

Ask Experts


Peter Gerlach


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"


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.

Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA),,, 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.

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

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)

©2017 All rights reserved.