10511666_10203697090843786_8239781659426528588_oI know how frightening it is to confront one’s abuser. I wasn’t even able to do that with the male relative who sexually abused me at a very early age. In fact, I didn’t even let myself remember it until I became a psychotherapist working with adult survivors of child sexual abuse. In the mid-1980’s, when 20 new clients showed up in my practice with the same issue, I remembered my sister telling me – years ago – that she had been molested. I immediately asked my supervisor, also a certified hypnotherapist, to bring me back to that time to see if I could remember anything. Unfortunately, I did. And, fortunately, that was also the beginning of my healing from the trauma.

It is hard enough to do as an adult, because – the trauma, the fear, the panic, the threat of having to keep silent, the rage – never leaves. This is what causes post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd), a memory that makes the survivor think that he/she is experiencing the abuse all over again in the present moment. And, certainly, facing the accuser in such a public setting is very likely to trigger ptsd. It would be even harder for a child to face something like this, especially if the trauma is recent and still fresh in his/her mind.

Having a trained dog to comfort the witness is a novel idea, one that I would think would help calm the witness and not trigger the re-enactment of the abuse. When that happens, it is as though the abuse is happening all over again. I haven’t read much on the efficacy of this kind of help, but just from having a family dog, I can certainly speak to how he has comforted me over the last four years – first when I was dx w. a rare type of cancer, then when I returned home from a major surgery to remove the tumor, and yet again when I was dx with a recent recurrence of the tumor, this time metastasized in the liver. Our dog, Cognac, greeted me as I came home, looked deep into my eyes, and sat with me while I cried. Just having a warm furry body against me helped me to calm my fears to begin the healing process.

Please read the below article and share with others: http://www.upworthy.com/testifying-in-front-of-your-attacker-in-court-is-terrifying-these-dogs-make-it-easier?c=ufb1.

Please read and share. Thank you.

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