Parents

Your child was hurt–maybe even sexually abused or assaulted. You feel devastated. You keep going over and over everything that’s happened trying to figure out how this happened. This can’t be real. How could you not have seen what was going on? How could they do this to your child? To you?

You feel responsible and betrayed and completely at a loss for what to do next. The authorities have been crawling through your life and making you feel like a terrible parent. You struggle to recognize your own child some days. You feel like everyone is judging you and no one understands. You just want it all to go back to the way it was.

Experiences like child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and other traumas tear families apart and turn them upside down. The reality is that most people know the person who hurt their child and know them well. That means that you, as the parent, feel taken advantage of and confused about what was real in your memories similarly to your child.

In a lot of ways, you will have similar feelings because you were tricked, too. Parents of kids who experienced abuse and neglect often feel…

  • overwhelmed…by the investigation process, by the idea of what happened, by the needs of their child, by their own feelings, by the way their lives have been disrupted
  • guilty/responsible
  • unsure who to trust
  • unsure how to help their child
  • isolated
  • judged even by people they don’t know
  • worried if their child will ever be okay or live a normal life
  • angry
  • maybe even resentful of their child at times

While it may seem impossible right now, this terrible experience is not the end of the world. In fact, many of the families we see end treatment feeling better than ever. They know how to talk about hard things. They’ve weathered the storm, laid a more solid foundation, and are excited about the future.

How do we do this?

Our clinicians specialize in trauma treatment

Serving Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Georgetown, Hutto & Surrounding Areas

*Adults *Kids *Teens *Parents/Partners

 

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A lot of therapists work with trauma, but many of them have not had the extensive or specialized training that is needed to handle the more complex cases. Domestic violence, physical and sexual abuse are always complicated and our understanding of these issues changes over time. Our clinicians are continually seeking out master trainings in order to provide state-of-the art treatment options.

Two examples of this include EMDR or Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT).

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

EMDR is a great tool for kids and adults who feel stuck in a memory, like they keep reliving it over and over again. It’s actually a great tool for all kinds of issues, but this is kind of it’s hallmark. EMDR is pretty complicated to understand, but basically, it uses bilateral stimulation. This is a term for gently getting your brain’s attention left-right, left-right.

We do this through eye movements back and forth or tones in your ears or little buzzers your child holds in their hands that take turns buzzing right-left, right-left. This jump starts your brains natural ability to heal causing emotions to settle down and new thoughts/connections to be made.

Ultimately, it helps you to replace a negative belief like “I’m bad and deserved what happened” with something more positive like “I’m a good person and I did the best I could”. Best of all, it does this gently and in a timely manner.

Let’s face it. Working through sexual abuse memories is no fun. So, we use treatment options that really work and work in a timely manner.

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)

TF-CBT is another really effective approach, especially when combined with Mindfulness-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. These modalities help you identify the negative belief that is driving the emotions.

Honestly, child sexual abuse hits hard and stirs up all kinds of difficult feelings. Many kids (and even parents or siblings) will deal with these feelings by numbing out (for example, hours and hours of screen time or alcohol/drugs) or avoiding (this might look like a kid isolating or being shut down). Many kids start to have really strong acting out behaviors causing discipline problems at school, sexual promiscuity, or angry outbursts.

We teach you and your child how to turn down the intensity of the emotions using mindfulness and grounding skills. Then once you are feeling a little more calm and objective, we use what’s called  progressive or prolonged exposure to help your brain settle down when thinking about the abuse. Then, you can learn how to replace the negative thoughts with more truthful or helpful thoughts.

We look at the needs of the whole family

Your child absolutely needs help working through what happened, but so do you…and your other kids might, too. In order for your child to really heal, the whole family needs to heal also. Our therapists can offer parenting help, sibling support groups, and individual treatment for parents (since many of us have abuse histories of our own).

Coming from a whole family approach allows us to not only heal the abuse, but also to address any dynamics within the family that might have made you more vulnerable to the person who offended your child.

We understand that real recovery means looking at more than just the memories.

We want your child (and your family) to not just be able to talk about what happened without falling apart. We want you to feel connected and strong and hopeful for what the future holds. So, if your child has had problems making friends, we want to build his/her social skills. If you know you have a history of making terrible relationship choices, we give you the support you need to understand this and the tools to help you learn how to have healthy, safe partners.

We treat the trauma, sure. But we’re here for the whole person…for all of you.

Childhood trauma is devastating, but is not the end of the story. With the right help right here in Austin, Texas, you and your family can be stronger than ever.

 

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1101 Satellite View #501
Round Rock, TX 78665

hello@hopeforthejourney.org
512-400-4790

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