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Gudrun Zomerland, MFT, CCPS
Licensed Marriage
and Family Therapist
MFC #27617
405 Chinn Street
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
707-575-8468
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Addiction and
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shame as a defense mechanism Shame as Self-Care
internet pornography addiction The Dangers of
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teen drug alcohol addiction Non-Violent Communication and its Relevance for Codependents
teen drug alcohol additction Teen Addiction:
An Open Letter
prescription drug abuse Prescription Drug Abuse
windsor alcohol and chemical dependency treatment The Core of Co-Dependency
santa rosa counselor for depression and anxiety Co-Dependent Characteristics
childhood trauma and post traumatic stress support H.A.L.T.: A Self-Care Tool
family and couples counseling in sonoma county The Family Member in Denial
 

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treatment for trauma from domestic violence and spousal abuse Non-Violent Communication and its Relevance for Codependents
attachment disorders in adult relationships Attachment in Adult Relationships
healthy communication skills in adult relationships and marriage Getting to Know Your Emotions
sonoma county marriage counselor Communication Skills for Couples - 101
treatment options for alcoholism and drug addiction in marin county Differentiation, or What Makes Relationships Work
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narcissism Rapunzel, Daughter of a
Closet Narcissist
psychotherapy for trauma Trauma: The Shaking Of A Soul
shame as a defense mechanism Shame as Self-Care
narcissistic parents and conarcissistic children Narcissism and Co-Narcissism
counseling for sexual abuse trauma in northern california Sexual Abuse Guidelines
rohnert park PTSD post traumatic stress disorder therapy Book Review:
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The Body Never Lies by Alice Miller and Hidden in Plain Sight by Barry Grosskopf Is Forgiving Our Parents Necessary for Mental Health?
overcoming fear and phobia through psychotherapy Fear of Fear
counseling for gay and lesbian couples in sonoma and marin county Living with the Light and Dark Sides of Life

 

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Sexual Abuse Guidelines

Gudrun Zomerland, MFT

10 Things to remember if you know or suspect that you were molested as a child:

  1. No matter what you did or how you responded, you did not bring it on yourself
  2. You are not crazy; something crazy happened to you
  3. You can heal
  4. Because the injury happened in isolation you can't heal in isolation; get as much support as possible
  5. When you start talking about it you might initially feel worse
  6. Because your emotional development was derailed when the abuse occurred you may at times act or feel like the child you once were
  7. Treat that inner child with respect, love, and gentle yet firm boundaries
  8. Forgiving yourself will be part of your grieving process
  9. Forgiving the perpetrator may or may not be part of your journey
  10. It really is never too late to have a second childhood

What you might experience:

    Being molested as a child evokes many uncomfortable and conflicting emotions that can be very confusing. Fear, shame, anger, and profound sadness or even stronger feelings such as terror and hatred can all be part of your experience.

    Coupled with any love and dependence you might have felt if the perpetrator was a family member these feelings create internal conflict and mental confusion.

    Whether the abuser was a family member, neighbor, or stranger, if you felt the need to keep the molest secret, you are carrying an emotional load that taxes your system to its limits. This may have detrimental effects on your overall health and your relationships.

How you survived:

    Children are naturally self-centered and therefore think they are the cause of what happens to them. They also learn about the world by mimicking others. Both these developmental strategies have the result that children identify with the abuser and become abusive themselves. This abuse is either inflicted on the Self or on others. As an adult abused as a child check whether you either abuse yourself, others or both. Abusive behaviors focused on the Self might include one or more addictions, choosing abusive relationships, or intentional infliction of pain. Behaviors that focus on others might include emotional, verbal, physical, or sexual abuse. Whichever way it goes, abuse needs to stop.

Common Symptoms of Sexual Abuse:

    Anxiety and panic attacks may be precursors of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They are like your system's alarm bells that call you to wake up and pay attention to fear in your body, mind, and soul.

    PTSD can include:
    • Recurrent nightmares
    • Current intrusive memories or flashbacks
    • Dissociation — a feeling of not being in the body
    • Reacting to internal or external cues that are a reminder of the abuse
    • Depression can include increased or decreased sleep and/or appetite, loss of energy, feeling worthless, or suicidal thoughts.
    • Addictions: repeating behaviors even in the face of negative consequences.

Where to find Support:

    The Internet:
    Your public library: type incest or molest recovery under "subject" on computer.

    Book and Workbook: "The Courage To Heal" by Ellen Bass & Laura Davis, and "The Courage to Heal Workbook" by Laura Davis, the most comprehensive workbook to date.

    Self Help Groups: the Morris Group: 415-452-1949 (in San Francisco and Marin)

    Low-fee Clinics: call your local County Mental Health clinic for a list.
    In Sonoma County: 707-565-4970, and in Marin County: 415-499-6835.

    Licensed Marriage Family Therapists, Psychologists or Social Workers: interview prospective therapists about their experience working with molest survivors.

    Bodywork in conjunction with therapy: interview massage therapists or other types of bodyworkers about their experience working with molest survivors.

    Family and Friends: if they are really willing to listen to you and give you room for your feelings.
 
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