Therapy is a very important part of healing after child abuse has occurred. Therapy helps the child and the family to process what has happened. Parents and caregivers are taught what behavioral reactions they might expect from their child. After parents and caregivers become aware of the behaviors that can arise from child abuse, they are educated about good ways to handle these behaviors. Parents and non-offending caregivers are also made aware of how to make sure that the child is safe. Most parents and non-offending caregivers feel very guilty about their inability to foresee or stop the abuse that they were not previously aware of. The therapist works with the caregiver to realize that the abuse was not their fault, nor was it the fault of the child. The fault lies solely with the offender.
Children are so resilient! They are very capable of recovery from abuse with help from a trained professional. Therapy helps children realize that the abuse was not their fault. They come to understand why they may not have reported the abuse immediately. They are taught safety in regard to their own body. They are encouraged to understand that they did not deserve to be abused. Small children learn these types of things in therapy through the use of art, dolls, puppets. and games. Teens learn these ideas through written exercises, behavior rehearsal, and talking.
Please remember that therapy is a process. You must attend consistently to receive the full benefit of this process. Some parents think it is better to let their children forget what has happened to them. Just ask yourself this question: Could you forget the worst thing that ever happened to you? Of course not! Your child cannot forget either. Small children cannot drive themselves to therapy. As their parent/caregiver, you must make a commitment to attend therapy appointments in order to achieve the best outcome for your child.