Written by: Samara Perez, Prelicensed Therapist
Survivors are strong individuals who have overcome some difficulty or traumatic experience. Surviving a sexual assault is a traumatic experience as it violates the body and mind. Boundaries have been crossed and it feels like all control over the situation has been lost. This is when the mind decides to go into fight, flight, or freeze mode. Your mind does this to protect you from the mental and physical pains of being violated and to help you survive the experience. While this process can be a protective factor in the moment, sometimes these mechanisms can be detrimental if they persist for too long. When this happens, it can be considered a trauma response.
Trauma responses are often described as feeling sad a lot of the time and mentally replaying the experience over and over again. There are unfortunately more symptoms that people don’t know exist. These include dissociation, having trouble sleeping, developing illnesses and autoimmune diseases, having gastrointestinal issues, self-destructive behaviors, becoming more of a people-pleaser and more.
After a traumatic experience like sexual assault, our minds are heightened to recognize danger in every corner. Sometimes our minds work too well and categorize something as dangerous when it isn’t. With psychoeducation, we can understand more about why our minds and bodies behave like this and we can learn how to grow from our experiences. Schedule an appointment to learn how to better understand and care for your body’s responses, cope with future uncomfortable situations, and heal what was once broken.
We are a full-service private practice offering a variety of therapeutic services conveniently located in Old City, Philadelphia.
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