Specialized Sexual Violence Trauma Therapy

email therapy@awrcsasa.ca or call 902-318-4188 for an appointment

Who This
is For

Our specialized sexual violence trauma therapists offer feminist-based support> to people of all genders, 16 years of age and older, who have experienced sexualized trauma>.

Our therapists know that not all people who have experienced sexualized trauma will think of themselves as survivors. They offer first appointments where people can just talk about what’s on their minds and learn about our program. From there, every person can decide with our therapists if the program is a good fit. Our therapists work to centre people’s own decisions about their own therapy and healing.

What
we Do

Our specialized sexual violence trauma therapists provide several choices for support that are up to you and your decisions for your therapy and healing, including:

  • Narrative therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Sensorimotor therapy
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Trauma-Informed Stabilization Therapy (TIST)
  • Or just conversation, listening, information, education, and more

How we Work

Our therapists offer feminist-based support:

Feminists have worked hard to get sexual violence recognized as a problem in society. In feminist therapy for sexualized trauma, we believe:

  • in every survivor’s experiences
  • that survivors are not at all responsible for abusers’ choices
  • that strong, intense reactions to sexualized trauma are normal
  • that all survivors have power, based on their own unique strengths and identities, to heal
  • that societal and social conditions create contexts where sexual violence can dominate or where safety from sexual violence can be nurtured
  • that sexual violence is a big issue, bigger than any one person can deal with alone
  • that power is involved in sexualized trauma, where abusers often have privilege over people they target for violence by their sex, sexuality, gender, age, status, ability, white supremacy, wealth and/or class, and more

Frequently Asked Questions

How many sessions can I have?

It depends. Our therapy program is flexible. Usually, we offer people ten sessions and then talk together and offer up to ten more. Some people need more sessions and we work with each person to make a plan together. You can quit at anytime with no penalty and restart later if you decide.

Do I have to share details of the trauma in these sessions?

No. We have lots of skills and experience in listening to anything you want to share, but you will not be asked to say anything that doesn’t feel comfortable or safe for you. Your healing can happen by just working with the impacts you’re experiencing without having to go over your story or any details. We’re always happy to listen to whatever and however you want to share.

Will others know what I share in these sessions?

No. Our therapy program is confidential. Your confidentiality is a professional responsibility we take very seriously. No information or records are shared beyond our organization without your permission. You can always access your own records. (Exceptions to confidentiality include: court orders and subpoenas, our legal duty to report current child abuse, or emergency help if someone is in imminent danger of suicide or violence against others.)

What I am going through feels really intense and sometimes I feel ashamed. Will I be treated as strange?

No. Our therapists know it’s completely usual for people to have complex responses to sexualized trauma. We work with people who are dealing with or who have dealt with: nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks, triggers, phobias, incest, trafficking and other sexual exploitation (including being targeted in child sexual abuse images or revenge images), cutting and other self harm, torture, eating disorders, dissociation, identity disorders, and disruptions to our sexuality, and more. We support you and have walked alongside people recovering from any and all of this.

What is sexualized trauma?

Trauma is anything that overwhelms our normal ability to cope. Sexualized trauma brings in a connection to sex, sexuality, or gender. It is a broad term that includes many things like: molestation, assault, harassment, rape, stalking, partner violence, childhood sexual abuse, hate crimes, sexual exploitation (including the abusive sharing of images), incest, torture, or just being touched, spoken to, or treated in a way that doesn’t feel right, that feels sexual and overwhelming.

In our therapy program, all people define trauma for themselves. We believe everyone who feels they have experienced sexualized trauma, even if their trauma doesn’t fit neatly into a category.

More trauma can be experienced when responses from organizations and systems also blame people who have experienced sexualized trauma.

 

Trauma can also happen if someone we care about is targeted.