Trauma counselling a must for child victims of sexual abuse

“Without appropriate trauma counselling, it is very likely that the child’s current and future emotional, familial and social ties are going to be badly affected,” she told theSun.

“The child needs time and a lot of support to come to terms with the victimisation and overcome it,” she said, adding that this is done via phobia management, fear management, and learning emotion-based and action-based coping skills.

Action-based coping involves actually dealing with the problem that is causing stress by seeking help or practising self-control and restraint.

“Emotion-based coping skills are more internal, like denial, repression or distraction. The victim may try to divert attention from their sadness by involving themselves in other activities,” she explained.

According to Dr Geshina, practitioners advocate an eclectic mix of techniques and methods to help children combat their fears, which includes play therapy, art therapy, sand therapy, dance therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.

In Malaysia, the most commonly used is play therapy, specifically theater-based ones, which has been utilised by the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry for the past five or six years.

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