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The Purple Heart Stress And Trauma Therapy is a private practice conceived and operated in Toronto by Andrea Victor, an EMDR Clinician and Clinical Social Worker who has spent over 10 years providing therapy to survivors of sexual assault/abuse.
Andrea provides individual therapy to males and females 12 years of age and older who have been affected by sexual violence. The individual may be a victim/survivor of a recent sexual assault(s) or of historical or childhood sexual abuse.
Andrea’s philosophy and approach to psychotherapy is aligned with an Anti- Oppressive, Feminist, Strength- Based, Client-Centred framework. By this, she means that all people are treated equally, welcomed and deserve to have this service. She does not discriminate on the basis of colour, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, socio-economic status, ability, age, size, sexual orientation and marital status. By Feminist, she aims to acknowledge the power imbalance inherent in a therapist- client relationship and consciously works to engage in a power- with dialogue. Andrea strives to empower, shine light on clients’ inherent strengths and resilience, normalize and raise consciousness through psycho education. By Client-Centred, Andrea works from where the client is at.
The Purple Heart Stress and Trauma Therapy has a legal responsibility to report to the Children’s Aid Society any suspicion or disclosure of abuse to any child under the age of 16 years of age.
Sexual assault/abuse is defined as ANY form of sexual activity with another person without his/her consent. It is a violation of power and control.
EMDR is a therapy that was first used with combat veterans with PTSD, but has quickly come to be useful in eliminating all the symptoms associated with stress and trauma.
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A person who experiences a sexual assault, who has endured childhood sexual abuse or has been exploited in some way may all react differently. Each individual is unique and each traumatic incident is unique. Thus, there is no prescribed way of reacting. However, there are some common trauma impacts that have been expressed and researched. Some of these are the following.
- little or no memory of the traumatic event
- intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares
- hypervigilant – startle easy, jumpy
- numb or feeling shut down
- avoid or constrict activities – isolate oneself
- emotionally overwhelmed
- feelings of shame and worthlessness
- dissociate – “zone out”, “not here”, disconnect from the present because feelings are too painful
- self-destructive behaviour
- loss of a sense of the future/ hopelessness
- loss of a sense of “who I am”