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Abuse can come in many forms and is an action that results in causing harm or distress to another person. Some of the most common forms of abuse are physical, emotional, sexual, domestic violence, neglect and discrimination. Abuse can be difficult to overcome alone. As such it can have lasting psychological effects on the victims. At Select Psychology we can provide you with professional support to cope with the mental health problems caused by abuse in a safe and confidential space.

Select Psychology


Abuse can come in many forms but all result in behaviour towards a person that causes harm, injury or distress. This harm can be both physical (bodily) and psychological (mental). It can happen to anyone at any age and there can be more than one victim. Often, people who commit abuse are either in a position of power or are taking advantage of a special relationship and their actions are harmful, morally wrong or distressing.

Someone who harms a person intentionally is committing abuse. It is important to remember that the person being abused is never at fault and it is best to seek help if you are experiencing abuse. Recognising abuse might be difficult for someone who has lived with it for years. It might even make a person believe that the forms of abuse they experience are the right way to treat other people. However, it is important to remember that abuse is not a typical or healthy way to treat others. Abuse can be difficult to overcome alone. As such it can have lasting psychological effects on the victims.




You should consider therapy for abuse when:

You have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships

You have trouble sleeping

You regularly experience anxiety and/or panic attacks

You are unable to trust other people and even yourself

You have constant feelings of guilt and shame

You have low self-esteem

You are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, depression and/or PTSD


Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT)

Emotion Focused Therapy (EFT)

Couples Therapy

Family Therapy

Counselling & Psychotherapy


Helps you escape from the constant feeling of helplessness and see a way out of your suffering

Provides you with a safe space for mental and emotional support to cope with issues caused by abuse

Acts as support if you are in the process of leaving an abusive relationship

Helps restore self-esteem

Teaches you healthy coping strategies, enabling you to trust yourself and others and move on with your life


  • Physical abuse: Involves intentional use of force to hurt, injure, cause pain or bodily harm to another person. It usually a pattern of behaviour and occurs repeatedly. Experiencing physical abuse can have a lasting impact on the victim’s mental and physical health. The victim of physical abuse is likely to suffer physical injuries, emotional distress, fear, anxiety and a diminished sense of self-worth.
  • Domestic violence: Also referred to as domestic abuse or Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), is a pattern of abusive behaviour in a close relationship used for gaining control and power over the other. This type of abuse can take many forms such as emotional, physical, financial or sexual abuse.
  • Sexual abuse: This type of abuse involves non-consensual sexual activity (physical, virtual, psychological or verbal) which is controlling, coercive, exploitative and harmful in nature. Sexual abuse can occur in various contexts, including within institutions, personal relationships, communities or situations of power imbalance.
  • Psychological/emotional abuse: It is targeted at the victim’s mental and emotional well-being. It involves a pattern of behaviour focused on manipulating, controlling or undermining the other person’s emotional state. The abuser tends to instil fear in the victim’s mind through threats, intimidation or aggressive behaviour to maintain control over them.
  • Financial abuse: Also known as economic abuse, financial abuse involves restricting, exploiting or controlling other person’s financial resources. The abuser may limit the victim’s access to financial resources through various means. This may include coercion, threats, isolation from financial resources or exploitation, legal manipulation and theft. Financial abuse can have a long-lasting impact on the victim as it can affect their financial independence, ability to leave an abusive situation, 
  • Organisational abuse: Also known as institutional abuse/neglect, it refers to harmful, unethical or abusive practices in organisations or institutions. It can occur in places such as care facility, educational institution, or professional workplaces. The abuse can occur in the form of misconduct, mistreatment, discrimination, neglect or violation of rights, safety or wellbeing of individuals within that organisation or institute. It can be within the systemic structure in the form of unjust policies and practices of an institution, neglect of care and safety which can endanger the lives of individuals, psychological or in the form of abuse of power and authority.
  • Discrimination: Refers to the unjust or prejudicial treatment of individuals or groups based on their characteristics, traits or attributes that are considered different or inferior. It perpetuates inequality by creating disadvantages for the victims, limiting their access to resources and denying them basic fundamental human rights. Discrimination can be on the basis of race, sex, religion, age, disability sexual orientation and more.
  • Modern slavery: Prevalent in professional workspaces, it refers to various forms of exploitation and coerced labour that persist even today. This can involve threats, violence, coercion or abuse of power. This type of abuse can involve offences such as forced labour, human trafficking, child labour and sexual exploitation. 
  • Bullying: It is a pattern of aggressive and intentional harm and trauma inflicted on a person or group considered to be weaker or less powerful. It involves repetitive patterns and can occur in various settings such as schools, workplaces, online platforms, communities and families. It can lead to severe anxiety, depression, PTSD, lower sense of self-worth, low self-esteem and other such mental health problems.
  • Neglect: Involves failure or intentionally restricting to provide adequate care, attention, support or protection to an individual. This can be in the form of failure to meet basic needs, lack of supervision or care, physical neglect, medical neglect, educational neglect and abandonment. It can affect a person’s physical, mental and emotional well-being leaving them vulnerable, especially children, elderly, people with disabilities or those with severe mental health problems.


If you are suffering, it is best to seek treatment as soon as you are able to, but in the meantime there are some things that can help while you are waiting for your first appointment:

Acknowledge the abuse and educate yourself about the type of abuse you have experienced. This can help you understand your triggers and issues more transparently and subsequently, learn ways to cope with them.

Exercising your body also means exercising your mind. Physical activities and habits such as doing yoga and meditation can help you feel more centred and enhance your self-esteem.

Reaching out for help, professionally or personally can be immensely helpful. Though it can seem daunting and arise feelings of guilt and shame, but doing so can help provide you with emotional strength and support needed to cope with abuse.

Practice self-compassion. Being kind to yourself can transform the way you perceive your situation and help you understand your situation and experience in a more supportive manner.

Select Psychology


We offer a wide range of therapies to help with abuse-related mental health issues and give you the tools to cope and understand your emotions. We are a private mental health service with highly trained therapists and no waiting lists.

This is how therapy would work:

Step 1

Get in touch

The first step is recognising you have an issue and seeking help – BOOK A FREE TELEPHONE CONSULTATION and start the process by providing a space and time to share your needs with us.

Step 2

Telephone Consultation

You will be heard and understood through a confidential phone conversation. Often called the ‘triage’ this is where you can share more about your needs, and we can advise on therapy pathways and provide initial guidance where possible.

Step 3

Appointment Offer

We will match your needs with the best fit practitioner for your therapy pathway and offer you an appointment within two weeks.

Step 4

Initial Assessment

Before you begin a course of therapy, your therapist will need to conduct an assessment in order to agree a course of therapy with you that will best help you and address your goals. This is still part of the therapeutic process and will provide you with a better understanding of your difficulties and how you may start to approach them.

Step 5

Your Therapy

Following on from your assessment, you will move onto therapy. Appointments are 50 minutes – these can be anything from weekly to monthly, depending on your individual circumstances. The number of sessions required to feel better will depend on your needs and therapy plan, this can range between 8-16 sessions, but in general more time is needed to address more complex issues.

Step 6

Feeling Better

As you start to improve, you can agree on changes to the frequency of sessions as required. Ultimately, there will be a time when both you and your therapist agree that you no longer need to continue in active therapy


What are the signs of emotional abuse?

Some sings of emotional abuse are:

  • Disrespectful behaviour, belittling the person
  • Gaslighting
  • Constant victimisation on part of the abuser
  • ‘Hot’ and ‘cold’ behaviour which can leave you feeling confused
  • Manipulation by shifting the blame
  • Inability to accept one’s mistake
  • Outbursts of anger and yelling 
What are the mental health impacts of abuse?

Individuals who have experienced abuse can experience a range of long lasting emotional difficulties. These will vary in all individuals but may include:

  • Difficulty in forming relationships
  • Low self worth
  • Difficulty in managing emotions
  • Excess drug and/or alcohol use
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Destructive behaviours
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Flashbacks
  • Sleep problems like nightmares and insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anger
What is organisational abuse and am I a victim?

Organisational abuse is when poor practices, mistreatment of people in the organisation or lack of support affects an individual, a group of people or the entire setting. It usually takes place at any place outside of home like a workplace, school, care home, prison, or church.

Simply put, organisational abuse is when someone uses their position or authority to abuse vulnerable people.

Some signs of organisational abuse are:

  • Inappropriate confinement to rules/policies 
  • Neglectful behaviour towards overall well-being
  • Failure to provide basic living/working conditions
  • Poor communication or tendency to miscommunicate 
  • Disregard for someone’s right to choice, independence and dignity
  • Inappropriate assertion of power or control
  • Verbal, physical or sexual abuse