The Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse

The Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse

The Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience that can leave deep scars on a survivor's psyche, causing long-lasting emotional and mental health problems. One of the most pervasive and distressing effects of sexual abuse is shame. Shame can be defined as a feeling of unworthiness, self-doubt, and a sense of profound humiliation and disgrace. Survivors of sexual abuse often feel overwhelming shame, which can severely impact their sense of self, relationships, and overall well-being. In this article, we will explore the central role of shame in the psychological impact of sexual abuse and the potential benefits of EMDR therapy in Orlando as a treatment option.

The Psychology of Shame in Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse can trigger deeply ingrained beliefs about the self, such as feeling unlovable, worthless, or undeserving of love and respect. These feelings often stem from childhood experiences of neglect, abandonment, or trauma, and can intensify as a result of sexual abuse. The perpetrator's actions can be internalized by the victim, leading to a sense of guilt and shame, as if they were complicit in the abuse. Furthermore, cultural and societal attitudes towards sexual abuse can exacerbate this sense of shame, as many survivors may feel stigmatized and blamed for what happened to them.

The Devastating Consequences of Shame

The experience of shame can have profound and far-reaching consequences in the life of the survivor. Shame can lead to self-destructive behaviors such as addiction, self-harm, and suicidal ideation. It can also cause a deep sense of isolation and disconnection from others, as shame can make it difficult for the survivor to form healthy relationships with others. Additionally, shame can prevent the survivor from seeking help or disclosing the abuse, further perpetuating their suffering and delaying their healing process.

EMDR Therapy as a Treatment Option

EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) is a therapeutic approach that has been shown to be effective in treating trauma-related disorders, including the psychological impact of sexual abuse. EMDR therapy uses a structured protocol that involves the reprocessing of traumatic memories through a series of eye movements, which helps desensitize the emotional charge of the memories and reduces the symptoms of PTSD.

The Benefits of EMDR Therapy

EMDR therapy can help reduce the sense of shame experienced by survivors of sexual abuse by allowing them to reprocess their traumatic memories and negative beliefs about themselves. EMDR therapy can also help survivors develop healthier coping mechanisms and improve their resilience to stressors in their lives. Additionally, EMDR therapy can help survivors form a sense of self-compassion and empowerment, allowing them to reclaim their sense of worthiness and build healthier relationships.

Seeking Treatment

If you or a loved one has experienced sexual abuse and are struggling with shame, seeking help is vitally important. EMDR therapy in Orlando is a viable treatment option to consider. At Orlando Thrive Therapy, we offer a safe and supportive environment where clients can process their trauma and begin their healing journey. Our experienced therapists can work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs and goals.


Shame is a natural response to sexual abuse, but it doesn't have to define your life. With the help of EMDR therapy, you can overcome the negative beliefs and emotions that have been holding you back and reclaim your sense of worthiness. At Orlando Thrive Therapy, we are committed to supporting survivors of sexual abuse in their journey towards healing and recovery. Contact us today to learn more about our EMDR therapy in Orlando and schedule an appointment.

Rise above any circumstance, for GROWTH, EMPOWERMENT, and better QUALITY of life!
Call today for more information. Follow Orlando Thrive on Facebook or Instagram.

(407) 592-8997

216 Pasadena Pl
Orlando, Florida 32803
Heather Oller

Heather Oller is the owner and founder of Orlando Thrive Therapy, Coaching, and Counseling. She is a licensed counselor and a family mediator who has over 23 years of dedicated work as a professional in the mental health field. Through her company's mission, she continues to pave the way for future therapists, and their clients, who want a higher quality of life....and who want to thrive, rather than just survive. You can contact Orlando Thrive Therapy at (407) 592-8997 for more information.