You’re on the other side, now what? Methods of healing sexual trauma can include art, music, spoken word, or any other creative outlet. You may already have creative training — but if you do not, don’t fret. Some resources may be free or low cost to get started.
Create your own space
If you can not find a venue that allows you to share your creative gifts in the world, you can create your own website or start a YouTube channel for free. Creating your own website gives you the freedom to speak frankly about the issues important to you without being censored by a third party, a la Facebook.
If you can afford talk therapy and would like to try it, give it a go! Psychotherapy can be highly transformative when approached thoughtfully and consistently. One thing to keep in mind when searching for a therapist is seeking someone who is familiar with or empathetic to your unique story while challenging your thought patterns with compassion.
Some questions to think about are:
- Does this therapist have extensive experience with sexual assault survivors?
- How spiritually inclined is this therapist? What are some ideological deal breakers for me?
- Does he or she start appointments on time and engage, or are they simply “phoning it in?”
- How comfortable am I with taking psychotropic medication, if recommended?
- Do I feel centered and connected to the work, or do I feel misunderstood?
Books as refuge
Perhaps you are gifted with words or like to doodle. A composition book or a Moleskine may be the tool you need to unlock your deeply hidden emotions. Some creatives report that the movement in their wrists helps them not focus on the pain.
Readers have plenty of books to choose from as they sort their feelings out. Here is a small list of books to get you started.
Things We Haven’t Said: Sexual Survivors Speak Out, edited by Erin Moulton
The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Regaining Emotional Control and Becoming Whole by Dr. Arielle Schwartz
How to be Safe in An Unsafe World by Dr. Harold Bloomfield and Dr. Robert Cooper
The Body Keeps Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk
A great podcast to listen to while you clean or drive:
The Left Ear, with Dakota Johnson
This Happened, by a survivor
Honor yourself at all times
Go to therapy at whatever price point you can afford. Get your pain out. You deserve to heal from your sexual assault.
This is just wonderful and thoughtful ways to heal. I love the idea of nesting as healing, too. It’s definitely what I’m doing to care for myself. My sanctuary is a clean, colorful and quiet place to work, reflect and rest from the external world. Thank you, Aria.
Thank you for your feedback, Edissa! Yes, it is so important for each person to create space that works for them and honors their needs. It also is a great exercise in working with boundaries — when you are accustomed to having your needs and wants honored, it becomes a bit easier to be vulnerable with others, and helps the survivor heal.