Sexual Abuse Support Group

Sexual abuse is a relative cultural term used to describe sexual relations and behavior between two or more parties which are considered criminally and/or morally offensive. Different types of sexual abuse involve: Non-consensual, forced physical sexual behavior such as rape, incest or sexual assault, or psychological forms of abuse, such as verbal sexual behavior or stalking.

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Dont want to sound daft or anything but please could someone tell me the difference between a councillor and therapist.
I only asked cause I was seeing a councillor and it didnt help much.
I was reading someones post and they said a therapist was better. I thought they were the same.



Often it's just semantics. Counselor and therapist are just different words for the same thing. In some States though, you can't call yourself a "therapist" unless you have a PhD but it isn't really enforced. Within the field of mental health, there are many different levels of education and training though...from a clinical psychologist (PhD in psychology) to people with Master's Degree's like MFCC's (marriage and famility counselors) and Licensed Clinical Social Workers...but regardless of what degree's a person has....sexual abuse counseling is an area of specialty...all the above have it touched upon in their training but not in any real depth...that requires post graduate training. Just because the person has a PhD or MA doesn't mean they will be effective working with abuse survivors...that requires additional training. So my advise is when searching for a therapist or counselor always much training, specific training they've had for working with sexual abuse. And also, how much experience they've had...not just coursework but actual experience. Many have had none of either and they won't tell you that unless you ask. It's usually best to find a therapist through a in Ca for example, there is an organization called SARS (sexual assault response service) they would know the therapists in the area where they are located that work with and have expertise in working with sexual abuse...there are other organizations too but they escape me at the moment. I'm just saying find someone that has the background and training to deal with your issue. So many people end up in counseling with therapists and counselors who really don't know what they are doing and they really don't get helped and then just say, they tried counseling but it didn't help. No, they just had the wrong therapist. Hope this helps

I always thought the difference was that one could put you on meds, and the other cant. Goes along with the Phd thing as well I guess.

I have been to people with many different titles. As Sadave explained. The most important thing with whom ever you go to is finding that individual that you truly feel comfortable with and who you can open up to.

I hae found with the phychologist they tend to be more analytical! The tend to think eveyones experience turns out the same result. So they believe there is one path that can be followed by everyone for recovery!

I have found that is not true. I have had my best results with my therapist because I can call him when things get tough again and we can pick up where we left off. It can be a year in betweeen visits because for my it will take me probably a lifetime to heal. I am not angry all the time or depressed. I have my periods where everything is great and my past seems so distant from my thoughts and then something will trigger it and then I need to see him again. So, I think the most important thing is to find that one person you connect with an keep them with in your reach.

I agree that the therapists experience in the areas you need to work on is most important. I went to my first therapist not knowing a thing. We did not click. After a couple months, I happened to look her up on the web. He practice had a site with bios on all the therapists. Turns out her specialty was geriatrics and coping with serious illness. Even after finding that out, I stayed with her a couple months longer. When I revealed my self injury issue with her, she told me she had never dealt with that before and didn't feel that she could treat me any longer. It was a blow to me. It made me feel hopeless because a professional was giving up on me. But in hindsight it was for the best. She was not right for me. Many mental health professionals do have web sites listing their specialties. If not, there is nothing wrong with asking questions when you go to your first appointment. Good luck.

Thanks, I went to counsilling refurred by my doctor, I was told the first time I wasnt depressed enough and came away feeling like crap, It took me another 7 mionths to pluck up courage to be referred back and this time I was accepted. Had six sessions and on the last I couldnt think of anything to say so I was told if I needed anymore get reffured back. Has put me off trying again, I struggle with trust at the best of times.
thanks you guys for your replys.

I don't know about other states, but here in Oregon it's a legal distinction. To be a "Therapist" here in Oregon, you need specific licensing which requires at least a Master's degree followed by least 2 years working under someone else's supervision. Typically you'll see something like LMFT (Licensed Marital/Family Therapist) in their title. Any given therapist might or might not also be an MD (Medical Doctor) which most states require to prescribe drugs. A "Dr." might be either a MD or a PhD, but they'd need to be an MD to prescribe drugs. So if you see someone with a title like 'Dr. Joe Smith, MD, LMFT" they're not just blowing smoke trying to impress you with an alphabet soup of credentials, it all has legal meaning.

Anyone can be a "counselor", it's largely unregulated AS LONG AS you don't also use certain keywords or initials that would imply you fit one of the licensed categories, and as long as you don't do a formal diagnosis of certain "clinical" conditions. (An exception to this non-regulation of "Counselors" is school counselors which is a licensed specialty of it's own).

The distinction also blurs sometimes because a person may be a licensed therapist but their organization's job title calls it a counselor. Some therapists also like say counselor because it sounds friendlier and less clinical. A therapist can call themselves a counselor but not the other way around.

Whether a "Therapist" or "Counselor" is right for you depends on the circumstance.
If you don't actually have a clinical disorder such as the things defined in the DSM-IV, but just need to talk it over and get some guidance from someone who has "been there, done that", a counselor may be sufficient. But like any field, there's good and bad counselors.

Myself, I'm legally a "counselor" and I do some volunteer work with a local agency. I'm obliged not to use certain words like "Therapist" or "Psychologist" or use certain initials in my title - I could get into a WHOLE lot of trouble, including jail, if I did so. I'm also expected to to recognize when to hand someone off to a "professional" more qualified than myself.

Just in reply to Amurphy01 that is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist has to go to med school and then are able to prescribe meds, a psychologist doesn't go to med school therefor can't prescribe meds. I honestly believe whether you go to a therapist, counselor, psychiatrist , that's no the most important part. The most important thing is find someone you can click with and who values your feelings and is truly interested in your recovery. GOOD LUCK with everything!
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