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Women Survivors of Abuse
August 5, 2016
In my practice I see mainly women, babies and children. The women come to me for homeopathic help with a huge range of health issues, including, anxiety, depression, sleep problems, lack of energy, period problems of course, hot flushes and other menopausal type issues, as well as migraines, IBS, sinusitis,skin problems......and many other health issues besides.
Some of my female patients, after a couple of appointments once we have got to know each other a bit better and trust has begun to be built, but occasionally on the first meeting, ask if homeopathy might be able to help with health issues, mental, emotional and physical, from when they were abused in some way in their past.
"In the past" may mean during childhood, as a teenager, or as an adult, or the abuse may have been a very long time ago. Sometimes it is ongoing. Abuse takes many forms, as you are probably aware- physical, emotional, neglect, bullying and sexual. For some women it is a one off event, for others it was ongoing for a period of time.
The perpetrators of abuse are more usually than not, someone the abused knows; often a family member/s, family friend, often older than the abused person but could be someone of similar age, and can be male or female- but nearly always someone they should have been able to trust.
No one can measure how much being treated badly can affect someone because each person is unique, as is their experience and the impact it has on them. Just as with everyone's health issues, injuries, shocks, major events- we are all unique in how we react, how it affects us and how we cope with it. Commonly anger, humiliation, shame, frustration, a sense of injustice-are all common feelings after being abused, but others feel terrified long afterwards, cowed, vulnerable. Some have not spoken to anyone about their ordeal, while others find talking a great benefit.
What makes some women speak out and others not?
Fear, of not being believed.
Fear of speaking out and things becoming worse.
Shame, feeling it is their own fault, that they "should" have stopped it somehow.
Not speaking out because it will cause such upset within the family.
Not knowing or feeling that there is someone to go to.
Believing that maybe this is normal, others suffer this and everyone just keeps quiet.
Blocking it from their mind.
For those who speak out, some find help is at hand and the abuse stops, but life has changed and they blame themselves for the changes and upheavals which can follow, affecting them and others they love.
For others who speak out, they are not believed and the abuse continues or they are punished, or the person they speak to, cannot handle the enormity of the disclosure and so does nothing about it.
How as a homeopath can I help and how does homeopathy help?
When someone asks me for help with the effects of being abused I firstly reassure them that they need only talk to me about as much as they feel comfortable with or need to. The consultation runs very similarly to any other of my consultations-my patients talks and I ask questions about each symptom-mind, emotional or physical. Always the patient is in control of how much or little they wish to say.
In homeopathy we tend not to have a remedy for eczema, another for IBS and a different one for fear or anxiety. Instead we look for the remedy which matches how that person is at that time. So someone speaking of an event from long ago but in whom the original shock still remains may need arnica or aconite or some other shock remedies; another patient may talk about being left with anxiety and needing to check everything and be busy and always in a hurry, and so may need a remedy such as Ag Nit. The effect of being abused is different for each person.
What does homeopathy do? How does it help?
Homeopathy is a gentle therapy which stimulates the body, mind and emotions to become more in balance, so this means that unshed tears may be released, anger suppressed may come out, but this could be as anger or as angry spots! Anxiety may gradually reduce as homeopathy helps the woman to feel more confident, sleep more peacefully and find the strength to leave that experience behind and " move on". Moving on is different for everyone!
Homeopathy treats the person not the name of the problem/event.
As a homeopath I listen to what my patient has to say and how she says it; about how things are affecting her...maybe sleep problems, physical symptoms like migraines, sinusitis, changes in periods....we are amazing beings, our physical body reflects what is going on inside us emotionally and mentally, and these physical clues are just as helpful to me in finding the remedy as the emotional or mental clues/symptoms.
Homeopathy is NOT counselling. the healing comes about partly in the telling of the abuse, however much or little the woman needs to/is able to/wants to tell...during the consultation many patients say things begin to fall into place, connections are made, there are moments of deep understanding, as the remedy supports the whole person-mind body and emotions to heal. Physical symptoms improve- such as migraines, sleep, feeling more energetic, more peaceful and less anxious and these are good indications that the healing of the event/s of the past is taking place.
Are other therapies needed?
Each person is unique, an individual, and so each person's needs can differ. Sometimes I suggest psychotherapy, counselling, , EFT which is Emotional Freedom Technique, reflexology, or EMDR which stands for, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a type of psychotherapy, used quite a lot after 9/11 with the survivors. Good nutrition is always beneficial too.
Homeopathy is safe and still effective when used alongside all other therapies and medicines.
My experience in working with adult survivors of abuse.
I qualified as a homeopath in 1994 and 2 or 3 years later I went to work with a project called Homeopathy For A Change, at a St Mungo's Hostel for homeless women in North London. The women I saw there had suffered all sorts of abuse, including a refugee who had been tortured. Most of these women came to see me initially with period problems, sleep issues, anxiety and so on, and then went on to tell me of their experiences of being abused. Without exception homeopathy really made a big positive impact on their health and it was incredible to see these women take up the reins of life again, move out of the hostel and begin re-building their lives.
Children who have been abused.
Sadly I have a few young patients who have been abused. Homeopathy is wonderful in helping them because its non-invasive. Just like adults they may or may not wish to talk about the actual abuse, but rather they will talk about how they feel or maybe just talk about school and from what they say and how they say it, how they are experiencing life, I am able to find a homeopathic remedy which helps them re-balance.