Counseling for the Victims of Physical Violence and/or Sexual Trauma

at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids

Counseling for the Victims of Physical Violence and/or Sexual Trauma
In Grand Rapids, MI and West Michigan At Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids, MI

As we have learned in Dr. Bessel van der Kolk’s seminal work “The Body Keeps the Score”, traumatic experiences are not just stored in a person’s memory. The emotional states, negative physical sensations, and even intrusive thoughts can plague a person for months or years after someone experiences a traumatic event.

For the victims of physical and/or sexual trauma, the memories from abuse can feel as if they just happened–especially if something in one’s life or environment reminds them of the physical and/or sexual trauma. You can learn more about this phenomenon in our articles about trauma and its effects. If you have suffered from physical and/or sexual trauma, you can feel better again. You can feel whole again. If you have attended counseling and it has failed, that is likely because the therapists were not trauma-informed or used a purely cognitive/ talk approach. The problem with these forms of counseling is that they may work well for someone who has not experienced traumatic events, but if you have experienced traumatic events you must seek out specific forms of therapy that are trauma-informed (such as EMDR therapy).

It is essential to work with a therapist and/or counselor that is not only trauma-informed in their education but also has advanced training on helping people recover with trauma-specific interventions. At Health for Life Counseling, we have created the Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids, which are a group of counselors with advanced training, as well as the ability to utilize techniques such as EMDR Therapy, Somatic Experiencing Therapy, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Trauma-Informed Talk Therapy, and more.

At times, people can develop symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more following a situation in which they were the victim of violence in some way–whether that be physical violence or sexual trauma. For these situations, it is often obvious to the person that they may need to seek counseling for the effects of trauma.

However, many people may not realize that they are suffering from traumatic events that can have long-term negative effects on their brain and mental health–because it is happening within their own relationship.

  • Intimate Partner Violence:

You may have concerns in relationships related to themes of power and control; themes of equity in the relationship; themes of feeling seen/heard within the relationship. If those issues are occurring, you may feel controlled and your partner may not be willing to seek their own counseling or attend couples counseling. In these instances, it may be necessary for you to seek your own therapy to unravel the reality of what is occurring every day within your relationships.

There are several forms of domestic violence and/or abuse, even though when most people talk about domestic violence they are referring to the threat of actual physical harm to another. Yet, research has shown that it is the other forms of abuse outside physical harm that have longer-lasting effects both emotionally and mentally and (at times) physically. The other forms of abuse include the following realms of manipulation: emotional, mental, financial, spiritual, sexual, digital/technology, and the use of children. These non-physical forms of abuse are more “difficult” to obtain “ evidence” and because of this many experiencers of domestic violence have not had positive experiences with law enforcement, the judicial system, or even some schools systems in seeking help. The therapists at Health for Life Counseling in Ada, MI, and Grand Rapids are aware of these challenges and difficulties and understand that it’s not only the abuse that is traumatic but also engaging with other systems and people that may create even more stress and trauma. The therapists at Health for Life Counseling realize that domestic violence doesn’t just impact the experiencer but also impacts work, school, and social connections.

  • Sexual Assault

In society, it was once believed that that sexual assault only happened under the guise of “stranger danger” or one-off attacks that were random. However, recent studies have shown that roughly 80% of those who have experienced sexual assault knew the person who raped or assaulted them. Also, because different family cultures, faiths, and subcultures of society hold contradictory and complicated ways of discussing sexuality and sexual assault –for some people, they may feel depressed and unable to speak up about what is happening to them. The event(s) of sexual assault as well as the cultural messaging around it can make the experience of being sexually assaulted even more traumatic following the original trauma. The therapists at Health for Life Counseling in Grand Rapids are able to help in working through these experiences in a trauma-informed way and using specific modalities (such as EMDR therapy) that have been empirically proven to help people not only feel better but to fully recover and live a whole life.

  • Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

Part of the trauma of domestic violence and sexual assault is that they are victimized by people the person who experiences this, knows quite well. The therapists at Health for Life Counseling in West Michigan work from a trauma-informed lens (without shame or blame) and realize that at times, the love, affection, or care for the person who is abusive doesn’t stop. Navigating and processing how someone who was supposed to protect you, not harm you, and/or nurture you doing the opposite of those things, can make us feel a variety of contradictory emotions.

For more information on violence that is done within an intimate relationship, check out this gallery of Power and Control wheels.

To learn more about trauma (in general) and its effects on one’s life and mental health, you can read the information on The Trauma-Informed Counseling Center of Grand Rapids part of our website.

Therapists that offer Counseling for the Victims of Physical Violence and/or Sexual Trauma in Grand Rapids and West Michigan:

Counseling for the Victims of Physical Violence and/or Sexual Trauma

John Curphey

Relationship Issues and Trauma Work

Joshua Nave

EMDR Therapy for Anxiety, Trauma, and Minority Groups

Josh Zheng

Empowering Counseling for All, EMDR Therapy, Internal Family Systems Therapy for all ages.

Sarah Denick

Counseling & EMDR Therapy for Individuals, Families, Couples, Teens and Children

Lindsey Beaver

Trauma Informed Counseling & EMDR for Children, Teens, Young Adults and Adults

Justyne Ortquist

Trauma-Informed Counseling and Emotion-Focused Therapy for Couples, Individuals, and Families

K’Quiana Griffin-Knowling

EMDR, Empowerment, and Healing for all

Jennifer McKinstry

Counseling for Trauma, Depression, Anxiety, and Spiritual Issues

Melodie Whitmore

Trauma-Informed Counseling and EMDR therapy for Women and Young Adults

Michael McCall

Strengths-Based Counseling for Adults, Couples, Families, and Children

Nia Wolfe

Trauma-Informed Counseling for Children, Teens, Adults, and Couples

Natalie Arnold

Trauma Therapy and Counseling for Women and Children

Kathryn Barcelona

Therapy for adults and families struggling with depression, anxiety, issues, substance use recovery, etc.

Maryam Thomas

Counseling & EMDR Therapy for Families, Children, Young Adults, and Women

Megan Drizin

Telehealth Counseling for Women, Moms, and Couples

Paul Krauss

Counseling, EMDR Therapy, & Solutions

Margie Muñoz

Trauma Informed Counseling, Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Children, Teens, and Young Adults

Brendan Cole

Counseling and EMDR for Adolescents, Teens and Adults

David Wilson

Counseling, EMDR Therapy, DBT, CBT, & Mindfulness Solutions, Trauma Informed, Emotional Regulation Skills, Stress & Anxiety

Brittani Decess

Counseling through a trauma-informed, inclusive, and equitable lens for individuals, relationships, and families.

Billie Walters

Intuitive Counseling, EMDR Therapy, and Reiki

Jennifer Belmonte

Anxiety, Relationships, and Parenting/Couples Work

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