Therapy for sex trauma survivors

A counselling service has launched therapy sessions in Cayman for survivors of sexual trauma and abuse.

The Wellness Centre’s a programme is for adults and adolescents who have experienced childhood sexual abuse, rape, sexual assault and other traumas.

The group meets weekly over 12 weeks and the Sexual Trauma Adult Recovery course, known as STAR, is being offered three to four times a year, depending on demand.

‘Those who participate are offered a safe place to heal in the presence of other survivors, reducing feelings of blame, shame, and isolation, and empowering them to recognise their own strengths and resources,’ said Taylor Burrowes, a licensed clinical therapist and sexual abuse specialist who runs the sessions.

The first of these courses, which began in November, is underway and the next one will begin in February or March.

Ms. Burrowes said that while the first group consists of women, if enough men or adolescents come forward seeking help, courses can also be set up for them. It is anticipated that each group will consist of six participants, but none will be mixed groups, she said.

‘The course is evidence-based. There has been research to show it is effective,’ Ms Burrowes said.

Pre- and post-test measures are used to highlight the positive effects of the group on symptom relief, including improved self esteem and enhancement of participants’ ability to live fuller and more intimate lives, she explained.

‘Taking the opportunity to acknowledge the impact of abuse allows survivors to let go of being a victim and become an active participant in taking control back in their lives,’ Ms Burrowes said.

One young woman taking part in the sessions said: ‘I’m starting to understand that there are legitimate reasons for the way I feel… and that I’m not…a victim…I’m not the only one.’

Each session lasts an hour and a half and costs $55.

Call the Wellness Centre on 949 9355 (WELL) for confidential assistance, or email [email protected] for more information.