Monday, May 12, 2014
When working with survivors of sexual or domestic violence, especially teenagers, they can be very slow to open up. Many survivors are understandably weary about trusting people. When working with survivors of sexual violence, many of them will say they do not like to think about or talk about what has happened to them. This leaves many counselors wondering how they can approach the subject.
I tell all my clients that they do not have to tell me any details they don’t feel comfortable. It’s not about process the event(s), it’s about processing their feelings around what happened. As soon as I say this, many of my clients begin to visibly relax.
So how can you get the conversation about their feelings started? I use this worksheet that lists many different feelings, and have them circle which ones apply to them. I then discuss each emotion they have circled and how it is affecting their life. This has been especially useful with teenagers!