REACTIONS: Your feedback on Therapy Today articles, April 2023

Supporting survivors

‘Surviving the false memory wars’ by Lynda Mia Thompson (Therapy Today, Feb.2023) offered interesting and stimulating insights into how denial, manipulation, power and intimidation can be used to silence survivors of abuse who speak out. If survivors need resolution of some kind in order to heal, then first and foremost they need to be believed and listened to.

Often survivors are faced with tactics to shame, silence and make them feel even more abused and powerless. Thompson argues very clearly that the attempts of the alleged abuser to ‘prove innocence’ are simply tactics to prevent survivors from reporting at all, or making the abuse public and/or known within the family and wider systems. As Heather Flowe, Professor of Psychology, commented in the article, ‘Nobody says, well, the man, being self-serving, might have imagined this whole non-consensual rape as consensual because it would certainly behove him to do so.’

We now accept that past trauma can affect our current lives, emotions, bodies and stability, but there is still great resistance in facing how much pain it costs the individual and society at large.

Therapists need to have the courage to support clients even when they are not sure, confused, feel pressured or shamed. Only then will society really face the extent of this issue.

Karen Hamblett MBACP, psychotherapist and family constellations practitioner



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