Seattle Therapist for Sexual Abuse

Written by Existential Psychiatry Staff
Depression Therapy Seattle

Takeaway: Sexual abuse affects many aspects of your life and health. Finding compassionate and empowering treatment can help you heal and restore your well-being. If you’re searching for a therapist for sexual abuse in Seattle, Existential Psychiatry is here for you.

Sexual abuse often shatters a survivor’s peace and trust in others. It can change how you view yourself and the world around you, straining your relationships with yourself and others. If you’ve endured this type of violence, know that the abuse was not your fault and you are not alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over half of women and nearly one-third of men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lives.

Many individuals find support and healing during their recovery after abuse. As we examine this type of violence and treatment options below, consider reaching out to a trauma-focused provider. For those in Washington, Dr. David Zacharias is a therapist in Seattle who treats sexual abuse and who has been caring for patients for over twenty years.

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What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse is any unwanted sexual activity. This means the victim did not or could not freely give consent. It encompasses a range of behaviors, including but not limited to molestation, rape and attempted rape, oral sex, incest, exposing oneself, and exploitation. It can involve unwanted touching, making another person watch sexual acts, or forcing someone to do sexual things. The abuser may use physical force, threats, substances, or their position of power to carry out the violence.

Any kind of sexual activity involving a child is always wrong and harmful. Children cannot give consent, meaning they can't agree to or understand what's happening. Children are not old enough to make decisions about sexual things. It's the responsibility of adults to protect them from sexual behavior. When an adult, teen, or older child engages in any sexual act with a child, it's abuse. This type of trauma can cause long-lasting harm to the child and their development.

Long-term effects of sexual abuse

The aftermath of sexual violence often impacts every aspect of a person’s life. Each survivor responds to this form of trauma differently, and there is no right or wrong way to react. Common long-term effects can include:

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Treatment for sexual abuse survivors

Various therapies treat survivors of sexual violence. Speak to your provider about your options and what would work best for you. Some of the most common and effective approaches include:

Trauma-Focused Therapies

These approaches acknowledge the complex impact of traumatic experiences on survivors. They aim to help individuals process and integrate trauma in a safe and supportive environment. Examples include eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT focuses on identifying and challenging harmful thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors. This treatment can help survivors recognize and reframe negative self-perceptions, reduce anxiety and depression symptoms, and build healthy coping skills.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

DBT combines cognitive-behavioral techniques with mindfulness practices. It helps individuals regulate emotions, tolerate distress, and improve interpersonal relationships. This approach can be particularly beneficial for survivors addressing emotion dysregulation, self-harming behaviors, and relationship issues.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy explores how past experiences, including childhood trauma, influence present thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It helps survivors examine unconscious patterns and unresolved conflicts. It also aids the individual in gaining insight into the roots of their symptoms and working toward resolution.

Expressive Therapies

Art, music, and drama therapies provide alternative avenues for survivors to process and express their emotions. These creative methods help individuals struggling to verbalize their experiences. They also support those who find traditional talk therapy challenging.

Group Therapy

Group therapy offers survivors an opportunity to connect with others with shared experiences. Members can provide mutual support, validation, and perspective. These benefits often foster community and belonging while reducing isolation and shame.

The methods used in your treatment will depend on the counselor and your needs, preferences, and concerns. A skilled therapist will collaborate with you to tailor treatment to you.

Our approach to sexual abuse therapy

Dr. Zacharias’ approach to trauma therapy is rooted in empathy, validation, and empowerment. He creates a nurturing environment where survivors feel heard, understood, and supported every step of the way. He addresses the complex impacts of sexual trauma by drawing on different treatments. These include CBT, DBT, and existential psychodynamic therapy.

Benefits of seeking sexual abuse therapy

Trauma counseling can play a key role in recovery. Treatment offers you a safe space to address the pain and repercussions of trauma. Therapy outcomes vary from person to person, but common benefits include:

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Why choose Existential Psychiatry for sexual abuse therapy

At Existential Psychiatry, we’re committed to providing compassionate, personalized care for survivors. Dr. David Zacharias specializes in trauma-informed treatments that empower clients. His holistic approach addresses your mental and physical needs and centers on collaboration. Regardless of where you are in the aftermath of sexual abuse, he'll meet you where you're at and guide you toward healing and wholeness.

FAQ about sexual abuse counseling

What is sexual abuse therapy and how can it help?

Sexual abuse therapy is a specialized form of treatment. It helps survivors process their experiences, heal emotional wounds, and reclaim their lives. Through a combination of evidence-based techniques and compassionate support, counseling can help you develop coping skills, address harmful patterns, and cultivate resilience.

Who can benefit from sexual abuse therapy?

Any survivor, regardless of age, gender, identity, or background, can benefit from sexual abuse therapy. Whether it occurred recently or in the distant past, treatment offers a safe space to explore emotions and painful memories and rebuild your life.

What can I expect during a sexual abuse therapy session?

Sessions involve engaging in open and honest conversations with your therapist. You’ll explore your thoughts, feelings, symptoms, and experiences. Your clinician will provide guidance, support, and validation as you work towards healing and recovery.

How do I know if sexual abuse therapy is right for me?

If you've experienced sexual violence and are struggling to cope, trauma-focused treatment may be beneficial for you. Signs that it’s time to consider therapy include:

Ultimately, the decision to pursue treatment is a deeply personal one that you make based on your needs and goals.

Meet Dr. David G. Zacharias | Seattle therapist for sexual abuse

When the aftermath of abuse is overwhelming and makes each day a struggle, there is help available. Whether you're having flashbacks or are facing anxiety and depression, Dr. Zacharias has provided compassionate care to patients for over 20 years, supporting survivors as they heal and rebuild their lives.

If you're interested in therapy or have more questions, please contact us today to schedule a free consultation.