Welcome to the project.
To help women with histories of sexual trauma relieve suffering and self-doubt by providing clarity about the recovery process, along with hope they can overcome their traumatic pasts.
Many women have difficulty obtaining the support they need to recover from the consequences of sexual trauma. Even if you are working with a professional, recovery requires more time and effort than meeting with a therapist once or twice a week. I developed Ambivalent Goddesses to make information about recovery from sexual trauma available to those who need it, when they need it.
Recovery is best thought of as a daily practice, one that focuses on growing beyond the beliefs, emotions, imaginings, and body states that keep you stuck in a traumatic past and from reaching your desired version of yourself. Ambivalent Goddesses is a resource for both getting and keeping the process of recovery going — and in the right direction.
Getting the Most From the Project
The best way to gain value from Ambivalent Goddesses is to read the posts sequentially (perhaps one a week) and take part in the journal prompts and activities found at the end of each essay. You can also choose to read the posts according to your concerns, however some posts depend on an understanding of information provided in earlier posts. In such cases, I’ve tried to provide links to the relevant material.
My name is Laura K Kerr, PhD. I am one of the 1 in 4 girls sexually abused before age eighteen. I am a researcher and scholar and have written and lectured about sexual abuse and recovering from trauma. I am also a former psychotherapist and have supported women recovering from sexual trauma.
With focused and sustained effort, I recovered from sexual abuse and its impact on my life. I know firsthand what does and does not support recovery. I also know the process of recovery must be adapted to each individual, and is influenced by social and cultural contexts. I hope to help you find the way to recovery that best supports your uniqueness.
A bit about my training:
I have trained in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy as well as assisted training others in this modality. Sensorimotor Psychotherapy uses neuroscience, attachment theory, and mindfulness-based practices to address how trauma affects the mind and body. It’s a very gentle approach to the treatment of trauma that takes into consideration the whole person.
I am also trained in depth psychology (MA in counseling psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute), especially the work of Carl Jung and more contemporary analytic psychologists. Depth psychology focuses on the symbolic aspects of psyche, including how conscious and unconscious aspects communicate with one another. Jung believed our symptoms of illness are actually signs for the direction of our growth. I think this is a great way to think about reactions to sexual trauma. Rather than evidence that we are somehow irreparably damaged by what happened, our symptoms are trying to get our attention, telling us something needs to change.
I received my PhD from Stanford University, where I was enrolled in an interdisciplinary program based in the School of Education. I specialized in philosophy of education and symbolic systems, and studied the interrelationship between internal psychological states and external social conditions.
No matter how good the website, recovery from sexual trauma requires the support of people trained in the treatment of trauma. I encourage every woman with a history of sexual trauma to seek professional support throughout her recovery journey, even if help is difficult to find and a significant financial and time investment. Trust me, you deserve it!
“I must be a mermaid … I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”
— Anaïs Nin