Statistically 20% of women report being sexually assaulted as a child; 70% were victimized by family or friends.
Though I know the statistics it is always striking when these women disclose their abuse during hypnosis. The first lengthy session with me is a conversational interview where the client talks about their life, why they came for hypnosis and what they wish to achieve. Amazingly the sexual abuse part is frequently left out. In hypnosis however, this bubbling cauldron of pain, anger, fear, guilt overflows and the information spills out.
Though national statistics are 20%, in my office the percentage of women clients with this experience exceeds 40% so I have heard a lot of stories. What is most sad is that the emotional experience is carried far into these women’s lives and that they often are assaulted by intimate friends again as adults. These women frequently choose partners who are abusive, take various forms of advantage of them and though the women may be successful in their careers the personal lives are a wreck.
In the last week two such women came to my office, reportedly to talk about issues of self confidence, never mentioning sexual abuse. One woman is over seventy years old, the other in her early 50’s; both successful in their carriers, both made to cover up the abuse as a child, both without an emotionally satisfactory relationship in their lives.
Hypnosis is not magic nor is it significant in itself, hypnosis is simply an introspective tool enabling the subject to understand feelings viscerally rather than intellectually. Whenever the motional part of ourselves is in conflict with the intellectual, the emotion will always win. Hypnosis allows the user to see or understand feelings in a different way and remarkably to reframe the event to enable positive learning. It is the learning from our experiences more than the event itself which determines our future.
When our leaning is positive we go forward with confidence, when negative we divert, suck down our bad feelings by drinking, eating, shopping, gambling or stressing too much. Hypnosis opens our imagination to foster positive growth, to open a door to a more fulfilling future.
Since I am member of a psychological counseling group my hypnosis with assaulted women is supervised by a licensed sexual assault psychologist.