Guilt, rage, self-doubt, depression are feelings that are the hallmark of someone who has suffered from the abuse of incest. In my therapy practice, I have found survivors of incest to be suffering from difficulties in their relationships. They may have trouble expressing themselves. On the other end of the spectrum, they may be too intense. They may, have eating difficulties. They may have sleep problems such as trouble falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night or very early in the morning. They may be plagued by nightmares.

I am going to suggest four things that survivors can do to begin to deal with some problems that are generated from incest and abuse.

Find a support group. Your local hospital or mental health center may have helpful information.

Read material about incest. “Just before Dawn” by Jan Hindman is a wonderful place to start.

Trust your perception. There has been a great deal written about False Memory Syndrome. There is an ongoing debate among professionals. My belief is: “”Let the professionals argue.” If you are a victim of incest, treat your memories “as if” they are real. I am not making a judgment of the accuracy of your perceptions; I am saying your perceptions affect your view of your life’s realities. Take a closer look at what those memories mean to you. As a starting point, accept that you experienced something and that experience had a profound traumatic effect on you.

Develop a safe place in your mind. Think of a time when you felt safe. If you can’t remember a time when you felt safe, create a situation. Describe it in as much detail as possible.

How old would you be?

What would you be wearing?

What does the place look like?

What protections would it have?

Who would be there?

What would the place feel like?

How would you physically feel?

What would the temperature be?

Would there be a fragrance?

Repeat this exercise several times. You can elaborate on the original place or create other ones. This exercise is not designed to “cure” you. It is designed to give you a little peace of mind and a temporary alternative to the difficulties that plague you every day of your life. More complete and lasting answers will come through therapy.

Effective therapy is both behavioral and must deal with the unconscious. I have found that a combination of Focused Self-Hypnosis, (a method that I have developed for incest), Thought Field Therapy (TFT), & Neurolinguist Programming (NLP) to be wonderfully effective. An effective approach must go beyond logical rational therapy and go into unconscious and preconscious levels. Dealing with incest is a difficult task, but there are approaches that can help survivors go beyond and into the light of healing.

The tasks of therapy for the survivor:

Learn to trust yourself and your perceptions.

Developing the ability of knowing when to and when not to trust others, their caring and insights.

Exorcising the demons of fury, self-hate and depression.

The work is possible, but it takes effort and commitment. Doesn’t anything that is worthwhile?


Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Dr. Marty About Dr. Marty

I am trained in eight different types of therapy. I believe that the therapist should be flexible and have the treatment fit the client. As a result, I have studied a wide variety of approaches. I am a licensed Marriage and Family Counselor and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

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