Psychological

Counseling Interventions

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Counseling provides a safe, private place where you can deal with your feelings and reactions. A person trained to assist sexual assault victims will understand the unique concerns you have and know ways to help you cope with the physical and emotional effects of the assault. A counselor can also help you deal with the reactions of family members and friends.

It can be especially helpful to talk with a trained counselor or a therapist who is knowledgeable about the trauma of rape and knows how to assist victims. Many sexual assault victims find that counseling therapy is an empowering experience.

Some sexual assault victims feel that if they avoid talking about the assault, they will be able to forget about what happened to them. Most victims who try this approach eventually find that they need to deal with the assault and its aftermath. If they don’t, their unresolved feelings and fears hold them back from enjoying their lives and participating fully in relationships.

Wangu Kanja Foundation operates a 24 hour crisis line manned by a trained counselor to provide counseling services.

Counseling Support Groups Counseling should be offered to all rape survivors and should cover three basic areas as follows:

Trauma Counseling / Crisis Prevention

This is of priority for the survivor and should attempt to reduce immediate rape trauma disorders and long term posttraumatic stress disorders. Clients who present after 72 hours and are therefore not legible for PEP should be provided support with initial counseling and ideally referred for long term on going support for themselves and their family.

HIV Pre and Post Test Counseling

This should follow the established National HIV testing guidelines. While examining officers may provide information to the client. It is essential for the counselor to clarify the survivors understanding of the information already provided. Safe sex should also be advised until follow up testing has been completed given the potential risk of sero-conversion, even in patients taking PEP. If the client is not psychologically ready, the baseline HIV test can be delayed by up to 3 days after commencement of PEP. The counselor should obtain informed consent from the client.

PEP Adherence Counseling

Subsequent counseling sessions should be booked to coincide with PEP clinic follow ups. Efficacy of PEP is directly linked to the level of adherence, which unfortunately is often poor in this situation. It should be remembered that PEP only reduces the chances of HIV infection and does not definitely prevent HIV. This needs to be communicated to the client at the beginning of counseling sessions.

Counseling Special Cases

Where survivors of sexual assault are children, it is important to provide counseling for their parents/guardians or the adults who brings them/is responsible for their care. Often the adult responsible for the safety of the child feels guilty and blames him or herself for not preventing the violence. If not supported adults may cause more trauma to themselves and the survivors.