Counseling/Sexual Abuse?


Hi, I'm a freshman in college and I have been in therapy for several years and I absolutely adore my therapist, she has done so much for me and helped me work through depression, anxiety and self injury problems. However, while working with her she has brought up that she believes I may have been sexually abused. In her words walks like a duck talks like a duck must be a duck. I however have no memory of sexual abuse. She thinks that my masturbation during elementary school which I continue to use to self sooth before I can go to bed each night. I also have very few memories of elementary school and I am unable to place events of those years especially around the time my grandpa whom I was very close to died at age 7. I really need a second opinion on whether or not I could have been sexually abused. I have no memories and my mother insists that there is no way and everyone I ask says they don't think so. I don't even know if I want to remember because I have come so far with the relationship I have with my parents and I don't want to break up my family. I don't remember anything and i don't know what to think. please help me. thanks so much.

Hi Micaela,

It sounds like you have come a long way with your therapist and also becoming closer with your family.

Your therapist may be unintentionally pushing her will from what she has studied in text book and that may be why she said:"if it walks like a duck talks like a duck must be a duck." I suggest you tell her that you and your family talked about it and you feel you are positive you have not been sexually abused.  Also ask the therapist why she seems to insist (maybe "insist" is not the right word) or seems to bring up sexual abuse.   

You can tell her you like working with her, but want to move on in therapy and you feel there is no need to talk about sexual abuse.  If the therapist wants to believe you may have been sexually abused, tell her you accept that, and if you every remember that you were actually abused, then she will be the first to know.

You can also tell her that "you cannot tell a book by its cover."  That might help with her "duck" thinking.

I hope my thoughts have helped you.  Take care,

Dr. Pat  


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Patricia A. Schafer, Ph.D.


I specialize in various forms of depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and also stress, phobias, life changes, grief, women's issues, men's issues, etc. My licenses are: Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor -Supervisor(LPCC-S) and Licensed Professional Chemical Dependency Counselor (LICDC) in the state of Ohio and a National Certified Counselor (NCC).


12 years experience. I counsel substance abusers, families of alcoholics/drug addictions, and codependency issues. I also specialize in social phobia; stress; anxieties; women`s issues; grief and adjustments to life changes. Some therapeutic techniques used are: CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), DBT (Dialectical Behaviorial Therapy)REBT (Rational Emotive), SFT (Solution Focused) and 12-Step, etc. If you live in the Cleveland area, you can contact me at my office for an appointment at: 440-349-4521. I am on various insurance panels and EAP programs.


Experiences of prejudice among individuals in African American and Caucasian Interracial Marriages: A Q-methodological Study (Doctoral Dissertation - December 2008; Wilsnack and Beckman's book: Alcohol Problems in Women (1984). Alcohol use and marital violence: Female and Male Differences in reactions to alcohol(pages 260-279.

Ph.D. In counseling MA In Counseling BS In Psychology

Awards and Honors
Previous president of NCOCA (North Central Ohio Counseling Association); previous president of Chi Sigma Iota. Two years VISTA volunteer on Navajo reservation in Inscription House and Shonto.

Past/Present Clients
Do to HIPAA privacy laws, I do not release any info about my client.

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