For trauma victims, thoughts of guilt, fear, and doubt are a struggle each day. We find ourselves participating in self-blame, negative self-talk or self-mutilating behavior. For example, we often believe that if we had acted, dressed, or said something differently, we would not have been victimized. Survivors often seek the help of counselors to overcome and cope with these faulty, ideas. Many different forms of counseling and therapy have been found to help with negative self-talk and false ideals. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the strategies used to help people overcome the negative, faulty thoughts that plague them daily. Counselors that use CBT often seek to discover a person’s faulty beliefs and then challenge them.
A therapist that uses CBT will help a person understand how and why their negative, degrading thoughts are false. They also help clients to change those thoughts to positive or supportive thoughts. Instead of thinking “I was stupid to wear that dress, I was asking for it,” a counselor using CBT will help the survivor realize, “I am free to wear what I choose, it does not mean I want to share my body with others.” Our guilt and self-blame can keep us from enjoying the wonderful things the world has to offer. No one deserves or asks to be assaulted and not everyone is out to hurt us.