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Mike had experienced sexual abuse and rape for a number of years in his early childhood.

Mike referred himself to New Pathways* on the advice of his GP.  His GP had recommended he seek specialist counselling because Mike had experienced sexual abuse and rape for a number of years in his early childhood.  Mike had attended some short-term sessions in the past but had not found them to be very useful. He was experiencing some suicidal thoughts at the start of counselling.  Mike found it difficult to sleep and experienced nightmares. He felt that his anxiety and low mood were affecting him from spending time with others and often led to him isolating himself. Mike realised he held shame and low self-worth due to what had happened to him. 

Mike began one-to-one sessions of art psychotherapy. He began to focus on ways to help him cope and process his thoughts and feelings. Mike realised that his poetry and music could become a way for him to express and vent his feelings. He began to explore this as an expression both within sessions and in between.  Mike found the books and articles shared by his therapist really helped him to gain an understanding of how his brain and body were reacting. He began to build coping skills and strategies and found he was able to ground himself more and be more present and in the moment. As coping increased, Mike and his therapist began to work on trauma processing, at first, he experienced relief from processing some of these memories and was able to manage flashbacks. However, at one point during the therapy journey his suicidal thoughts returned and he retreated and isolated himself and attempted suicide. During this time, he realised that he wanted to live and wanted to work with his therapist and this was a turning point. He used creative writing and music composition to working collaboratively with his child-self and found this was the most powerful part of the journey. 

By the end of counselling Mike had begun to build his own self-belief and self-worth, he no longer used humour to put himself down and belittle himself, he is ridding himself of shame and lack of belief and starting to accept himself and know his value. This has led to positive changes for him, he is now building his musical career, producing his own music and an EP. He is setting up events to raise awareness for other men who are finding it hard to speak out about their feelings. He is raising money for charity and promoting his own music. He has also changed jobs and is feeling positive about his future. Mike understands that self-belief and self-esteem takes work and commitment and he is dedicated to continuously building on this.

Name has been changed

* New Pathways is a registered charitable company that provides a range of specialist counselling and advocacy services for women, men, children and young people who have been affected by rape or sexual abuse.

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