Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

Child abuse or childhood trauma can cause problems with adjustment at every life stage. Our psychologists help individuals and families that have been impacted by childhood abuse to re-establish a sense of safety and predictability in the world. At Westbourne Park Psychology, you can see one of several psychologists who work with adult survivors of child abuse.

Anyone who has experienced trauma during childhood – through situations that breached personal boundaries and led to feelings of intense fear, helplessness, or horror – could be said to have suffered incidents of child abuse.

We recognise that incidents of sexual, physical and psychological abuse during childhood can have effects long into adulthood. Some of these effects are difficult to change. We are also optimistic that, given good insight, support and professional treatment, damage can be mitigated, symptoms can be improved, and healthy relationships can be formed and maintained.

Initial Effects of Physical Child Abuse to the Child

  • Immediate pain, suffering and medical problems caused by physical injuryAdult survivors of child abuse psychologist Adelaide
  • Emotional problems such as anger, hostility, fear, anxiety, humiliation, lowered self-esteem and inability to express feelings
  • Behavioural problems such as aggression towards others
  • Self-destructive behaviour, hyperactivity, truancy, inability to form friendships and poor social skills
  • Poorer cognitive and language skills than children who do not suffer abuse

For some of our clients this may be the first time that they have spoken about these issues.

Possible Symptoms in Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

  • Relationship problems, for example, violent relationships or difficulty trusting others within adult relationships
  • Social isolation or poor boundaries
  • Emotionally over-reactive or emotionally blunted
  • Sexual difficulty
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression, anxiety and/or loneliness
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Physical symptoms – fatigue, headaches and/or gastro-intestinal disturbance

Therapy for Adult Survivors of Child Abuse

It is important to recognise that engagement in therapy for adult survivors of child abuse is likely to be long-term, rather than short-term. Such issues are complex, so need special time and attention.

Joanne Spadavecchia has a passion for working with children, adults and families who have experienced trauma during childhood or adulthood, including child sexual assault, as she, herself is a survivor of such crimes. She brings her own personal understanding of the pain and suffering someone goes through after enduring such trauma and has a client-centered approach.

Her empathy and approachable style allows clients to feel at ease to discuss such difficult matters and her knowledge of the court system (having been successful herself through court and a keen sense of justice) is truly invaluable.

Depending on the client’s initial presentation and personal goals, Joanne utilises different forms of therapy for PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder; these being, gradual exposure therapy, de-sensitisation therapy, solutions focused therapy, schema therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to name a few. Familial issues that arise, having gone through such trauma and the effect is has on the individual is also taken into consideration in treatment, along with any other psychological issues present, such as Eating Disorders, Anxiety and Depression. She assists clients in learning how to cope through the myriad of issues that they may be presented with, encouraging strength and positivity during a difficult time.

At Westbourne Park Psychology, all of our psychologists have had the training that is needed to provide effective treatments that lead to reduced symptoms and long-term improvement. Contact us today to take the first step.