In office physical therapy or musculoskeletal exams

  • Many childhood sexual abuse survivors in one study said that they experienced fear and anxiety even before their first physical therapy appointment. 37
  • Since touch is inherent to childhood sexual abuse, being touched during physical therapy can bring back painful feelings and memories for survivors 37
  • Survivors may feel vulnerable, especially if they have to undress and put on paper gowns.
  • A survivor in one study stated, "[Sitting in the clinic waiting room. I felt] nervous. Apprehensive, not exactly knowing what was going to happen...Just as far as clothing was concerned or...touch, just not knowing..." 37

  • Survivors may be distressed by the power imbalanced related to undressing and
    having the provider come in fully clothed to discuss the therapy with them.
  • Some survivors may have dissociative reactions and feelings of hate or shame
    about their bodies during the therapy as a result of memories of sexual abuse.
  • When CSA memories are triggered, some survivors may experience feelings such
    as fear, anxiety, terror, grief or anger 37
  • Even ultrasound gel can trigger CSA memories 37
  • One survivor said, "And the goo that they put on me for the ultrasound gave me flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia. I just couldn't deal with it." 37