Individual counselling and therapy for young people who have experienced sexual abuse (Skylight)

All of our work with children and young people begins with an assessment.  We meet with them for four sessions to think about the impact of the sexual abuse on them, their current supports, and how they are at school and at home. This is to help work out what kind of support they need. During the assessment we will also meet with the parents or carers as well as contact the school to get some more background information. After the assessment we meet with the child and young person together with their parents or carers and any other professionals to decide the best way forward.

Each young person has their own unique experiences and emotions and works at their own pace, with their own process. Yet there are some common themes relating directly to sexual abuse, or surrounding it, that come up in the work. These include:

  • feeling damaged, different, stigmatised, singled out, devalued, nothing, nobody
  • doubting own sanity, tricking and being tricked, betrayal
  • anger, rage, destructiveness, revenge and aggression
  • feelings of loss, grief, fear, anxieties, blame and guilt
  • managing memories, flash backs, panic attacks
  • confusion about sexuality and sexual feelings
  • loss of and desire for control and power
  • fear of falling to pieces, helplessness
  • hiding and finding, secrecy, games
  • rescuing and being rescued, escape
  • feeling abandoned and isolated
  • good things turning to bad
  • self-harm, suicidal ideation
  • feeling numb, not feeling
  • being good or bad

We think it is really important to review the work we do regularly.  As such we will continue to review the work at regular intervals so that so that we can monitor how the work is progressing and what the young person is finding useful.

At Skylight we also aim to plan endings with children and young people very carefully. The regular reviews help to identify when a young person is ready to think about ending and how this should be approached. Ending the work in a planned way helps a child or young person reflect back on what has changed and what feels different. We aim to make it a positive experience, providing the young person with a way of moving on.