As many involved in our organization know, survivors of sexual abuse face unspeakable trauma. In many instances the trauma can produce years of lasting effects to survivors. After all, the purpose of htE is to help our participants work through the trauma that they have endured through creative expression.
A new study was carried out to examine the rates of Complete Mental Health, CMH in survivors of childhood sexual abuse. CMH is defined, by the study, as : "the absence of mental illness in combination with almost daily happiness". The study concluded that 65% of survivors were able to achieve CMH in the study, proving that complete healing from trauma is possible! Some researchers were relieved with the findings of this study. It confirmed what they already knew: most people do have a natural resilience!
So what was it that brought CMH to the survivors? This study found that support is what helped the survivors most to build their resilience. Adam Brown, a clinical assistant professor in the department of child & adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone said, "Support is so crucial, If you have the right environment, resilience can be developed,”.
"The presence of a trusted person, presumably an adult, makes it more likely for a survivor to achieve CMH,” says Matthew Mutchler, psychotherapist and associate professor of counseling psychology at Delaware Valley University, who is also unaffiliated with the research. “We need to believe and support people when they tell us of their experiences.” Read more about the study here.
From our experiences, we have seen support arise in many forms: peer-to-peer, friends and bondings, community-building, and the development of self-love practices. Below are some other tools that you can use to create an environment that can help with emotional regulation and build resilience to the psychological effects of trauma, in addition to the conventional ways such as therapy:
1. Listening to Relaxing Music
There are many apps and playlists out there that have curated selections of music proven to help calm the mind and bring some clarity. For example, check out the Relax Melodies app! Relax Melodies is an app that has hundreds of relaxation playlists. Playing any of these melodies can help get a better night's sleep, or wind down from a stressful day. When there is a lot going on, try and put on a tune in the background and see if perhaps it can help bring some focus and peace of mind.
2. A Regular Yoga Practice
The second is through a more active route, Yoga! Yoga has been shown to be beneficial to survivor's physical and mental well-being. So much so, that there are Yoga classes that are specifically now provided for survivors (check out Exhale to Inhale!). We encourage you to seek them out wherever you are located!
3. Expressing Yourself Creatively!
I could not end this blogpost without mentioning creative expression. This is something that we strongly believe in! There are multiple forms of creative expression such as painting, jewelry making, singing, dancing, and knitting. There is bound to be one that speaks to each and every individual.
Do you have any forms of support you'd recommend? Send us a note below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, we'd love to hear from you!