It’s not really that long ago that psychotherapy and counselling were viewed as something that should be kept a secret. But times have, thankfully, changed. More and more of us are benefiting from this useful tool for mental and emotional wellbeing
Specialist counselling service for adults who have suffered from sexual abuse including rape and their non-offending family members.
We are set up to provide a quality specialist service in North Devon for any adult who identifies with being a survivor or victim of sexual abuse including rape.
Online groups only until 2022. Please contact Russell on 07773 151080 to leave a message, or email here.
We have been running a successful Women’s peer support group this year and we meet every Wednesday at 12 Noon. Please contact Josie for more details. These groups will be held by our experienced volunteer Viki.
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I came out of (Rehab) treatment and went to Narcotics Anonymous and Momentum (a peer support group for male survivors of sexual abuse). They put me in touch with SAND. There was a lot of violence in my childhood – physical, emotional, sexual. I have big reactions to things, I get physically shocked by things – I’m still expecting something terrible to happen. There are builders next door now, and sometimes they go quiet and then suddenly they make a loud noise, even that sets me off. With a lot of my (therapy) experiences, they were just looking for what’s wrong with you, SAND helped me to see that the way I see everything is a normal reaction to my situation, it’s not that there’s something wrong with me. I felt safe for the first time. It was the first time I spoke about a lot of stuff. I relied on drugs or medication for many years; I don’t need that now. I used to be a violent, hostile person, I’m not now. It’s changed who I am; it’s given me freedom from my trauma. SAND has helped me to breathe. In the past I felt I had to fight the world, I never felt I could have any fun before, I do now. I can express myself better now; it’s allowed me to find out who I am – I’d never explored who I was before. I suffer from nightmares, they haven’t gone, but they’re much better now. I don’t wake up screaming anymore or sweating so much that I have to change the bed. I’d never built trust in friendships and relationships before; I’m able to trust others now and myself too. I have formed a loving relationship with my partner. It’s allowing me to feel that it’s okay; I’m normal based on what I went through; there is nothing wrong with me. I’d never had sex “clean” before – without drink or drugs. I can do that now, because I have a loving relationship with a partner. I’d never kept a job for more than 6 months or so before, I’m able to do that now. It’s given me a life, I never had one before. I was in and out of hostels and prisons. Now I’m able to maintain a quality of life. I pay my bills, my rent; I support others going through the things that I experienced.
I moved here from somewhere where I had a lot support, but I had none here. I paid a private counsellor while I was floating around the NHS mental health team. I was on their waiting lists, but never saw anyone; I was still on those lists when I went to SAND. I learned a lot, and I still use it. It opened my eyes to things; I began to realise areas where I felt safe and where I could go if I needed to. Before, I couldn’t see what I had in my life that was important. It’s made a massive difference. Before, sex life, personal life was awful. I had no understanding of myself and my feelings. Now I’m in a 5-year relationship, because my behaviour and my actions have changed. I’ve held down a job, my relationship with my family is better and with the adults I work with. The past five years, I’ve been staying in one town, with one job and one relationship – that’s the first time ever. Before SAND, it’d break down in a year, year and a half maximum. I’ve got complex PTSD, which has been diagnosed since and I’m now on a course. How I feel about myself goes up and down, but now I have the grounding from SAND to keep me safe and to carry on; it’s led to that stability. I’d have been dead if I hadn’t seen them. I still get suicidal ideas, but I feel safe with all the tools that SAND has given me and I’ll use the Crisis Team if needed. I don’t self-harm anymore; because I know where to turn now
I moved here a year ago to be close to my family and to get more support. A friend mentioned SAND and I have started CRM therapy with them. I’d been stuck on waiting lists up to then, getting a 3 monthly phone call to check I’m still there, because those services are just so overtaxed. I like that it offers alternatives to talking therapy. My previous experience of talk therapy was phone counselling, which made everything worse, so I knew that I didn’t want that. They recommended CRM. It’s less focused on talking and reliving the experiences. I’ve had lots of health problems and SAND have been really supportive with that. It’s made me feel more supported, legitimised and validated in what I’m going through when I go to see the GP or the consultant. There’s just something so healing in being heard and acknowledged. The first few sessions of CRM were half talking and half CRM, they were very therapeutic, like meditation, and also building up trust. In one session, I got the feeling that I get when I’m having a panic attack. I described the feelings to my therapist, and we used the CRM technique to calm me down. It wasn’t pleasant, but I could see how to calm myself, relax; go back to the safe place of the meditation, in just one minute!
Usually, if I have a panic attack it takes me an hour to get back to myself. We used the breathing techniques and the eye movements of CRM. I know now that I can do that for myself. It’s really exciting! I get night terrors and sleep paralysis; SAND has given me lots of coping mechanisms to cope with those. I’ve lived with these things for a couple of years now without proper support. I now realise that there are all these techniques that I could have been using……. It’s great! Anonymous