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On the last track, we discussed four parts of childhood sexual abuse related to: body, emotions, mind and spirit and how these provide a Window into the Past. We have also seen how Dialoging with the Body can help your client gain a better understanding of his or her feelings, emotions and memories.
On this track, we will focus on a technique I have found successful in helping clients who are living with the secrets of sexual abuse in regards to the Releasing of Emotional Energy held in the form of pain.
As you may know, it doesn't matter what kind of sexual abuse has been encountered - physical, emotional, or both; pain and trauma of sexual abuse is generally centralized in the pelvic area. Do you agree?
For Sara, age 18, the abuse of fondling and oral sex began at the age of four by her father and continued until she was nine. Whenever Sara tried to talk about this sexual abuse, she experienced a severe cramping in her pelvic area, just above her pubic bone. If you recall from a previous track, Gina suffered from constipation and occasional rectal bleeding and I used the Dialoguing with Your Body exercise. However with Sara, I felt the Releasing of Emotional Energy to be more appropriate. I used Dialoguing with Your Body exercise with Gina and Releasing of Emotional Energy with Sara.
As I explained to Sara, "Since the energy of the pain of sexual abuse has been held in your body for such a long time, it can be considered toxic." As you are aware, the secrets held by this toxic energy can be unexpressed anger, rage, fear, terror, grief, loss and sadness, as well as shame and guilt. Healing energy on the other hand as you know, is unrepressed, free-flowing and is often experienced as feelings of joy, peace, happiness, or contentment.
I felt in order for Sara to release this toxic pain, she had to learn how to allow her body to discover and release her emotional energy. I used four techniques with Sara; the fetal position; anger release with a bat; color visualization; and directing healing energy.
The Fetal Position Technique
Sara stated, "I have that same old cold, black knot in my stomach."
Anger Release With a Bat Technique
Sara continued, "The knot's gone. I feel empty and peaceful at the same time."
Color Visiualization Technique
Because Sara had previously indicated that she saw her energy
as various colors, I asked, "Is there a color that represents healing to
Sara had used the "standing" posture to release her anger and rage. She found that she was able to "push" the held energy away from her body by hitting pillows. As you know, grief and loss are often released through curling up the body and sobbing, crying and sighing.
Directing Healing Energy
Since Sara's belief system encompassed a certain level of spirituality regarding sending and receiving of positive and negative energy, she was receptive to the concept of directing healing energy by using the color purple.
However, for another client, George, a 47 year old electrical student, I explained this concept to him by indicating emotions can create positively or negatively charged particles and that he might envision atoms with plusses around them filling the spaces where atoms with minuses around them existed.
Think of your Sara. Would a more spiritual or scientific visualization fit her best?
Sara agreed to visualize drawing the purple energy up from the earth into her body three times every day for the following week. At the next group meeting, Sara stated, "I have been feeling very relaxed and powerful. It is like my body feels different and I have had a major healing experience." Sara had enjoyed doing the visualizations, and she continued doing it once a day throughout the next year. When she left therapy, Sara told the group that she felt this was the most important and lasting piece of work she had done.
On this track, we have discussed the technique of Releasing Emotional Energy to relieve the pain of childhood sexual abuse.
On the next track we will look at the use of "leaning into", empathy and taking a one-down position to assist in building rapport in potentially volatile sessions with a sexually abused child or their parent.
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