I specialise in working with adult survivors of childhood abuse and trauma. Many people who were abused in childhood believe that they are to blame and that the abuse was their fault. But this is never the case – a child cannot consent to abuse. Abuse is never the child’s fault and is never an accident. A child cannot consent to abuse.
In countless circumstances children were too young to fully understand or articulate what was happening to them. For some they spoke out at the time but weren’t believed and for others they were too embarrassed to tell anyone or did not know who to turn to.
For many, the abuse may have been too difficult to process and they may only remember aspects of what happened as they get older. Others may have lived with the memories all their lives. Whether the abuse happened once or hundreds of times, ten years or fifty years ago, whatever the circumstances. It is never too late to seek help. There is no excuse for abuse.
Please contact me to find out how I can help you recover from abuse suffered in childhood.
Types of Abuse
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What Is Emotional Abuse?
Emotional, psychological and mental abuse are often closely linked terms that can be used interchangeably. The aim of the perpetrator of emotional abuse in relationships is to reduce confidence and esteem in order to make their victim increasingly reliant on them. They use tactics such as intimidation, bullying, constant criticism. Emotional abuse in relationships is often a means of controlling the victim by having a strong mental hold over them.
Emotional abuse can include (but is not limited to):
- Constant put downs, humiliations and criticisms which make their victim feel stupid, worthless and useless.
- Threatening, shouting at a child or calling them names.
- Making them feel that they are bad/incapable.
- Making them feel ugly or fat.
- Making the child the butt of jokes or sarcastic retorts.
- Telling them they are mad or ill.
- Isolating them from family and friends.
- Not allowing them out alone, constant checking up or following them, controlling aspects of their lives.
- Playing on their fears or phobias.
- Ignoring or using silence against the victim.
- Making false allegations about them or endlessly making accusations.
- Pushing a child too hard to achieve.
- Allowing the child to witness domestic abuse or substance abuse.
- Failing to promote a child’s social development.
- Never saying anything kind, expressing positive feelings or congratulating a child on successes.
- Being completely emotionally unavailable.
Emotional abuse has often been described as a dripping tap, the abuse “drips almost drop by drop” until it begins to have a real and lasting impact on personal development.
Non-Recent Physical Abuse
Physical abuse can be defined as any intentional act causing injury or trauma to another person by way of bodily contact. Witnessing physical abuse also constitutes physical and emotional abuse.
While not strictly physical, there are other interpretations of physical abuse:
- Name-calling and put-downs; overt anger; threats; attempts to intimidate by the abuser
- Restricting the victim’s movements (preventing them from attending work or school, controlling what they do or say)
- Restricting the victim’s access to money
- Overt jealousy or possessiveness over the victim
- The abuser harming other people or animals in the victim’s life
How physical abuse received in childhood may have affected you
Children who have been abused or neglected may experience physical or emotional harm even if they, themselves, were not the victims of violence. It has been found that one-third of children who witness the battering of their mother/father demonstrate significant behavioural and emotional problems. The effects can be short term but sometimes they last into adulthood. If someone has been abused as a child, it is more likely that they will suffer abuse again. This is known as revictimization.
Long term effects of abuse and neglect include:
- emotional difficulties such as anger, anxiety, sadness or low self-esteem
- loneliness, isolation
- mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), self-harm, suicidal thoughts
- feelings of guilt, blame or shame
- problems with drugs or alcohol
- disturbing thoughts, emotions and memories that cause distress or confusion
- poor physical health such as obesity, aches and pains
- struggling with parenting or relationships
- worrying that their abuser is still a threat to themselves or others
- learning difficulties, lower educational attainment, difficulties in communicating
- behavioural problems including anti-social behaviour, criminal behaviour.
Non-Recent Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse is when someone is forced, pressurised or tricked into taking part in any kind of sexual activity with another person. Whatever form of coercion is used, be it physical, financial or emotional, any sexual act which is not based on mutual consent constitutes sexual abuse. Child Sexual Abuse can be defined as any sexual act with a child performed by an adult or an older child. Child sexual abuse could include a number of acts, including but not limited to:
- Sexual touching of any part of the body, clothed or unclothed;
- Penetrative sex, including penetration of the mouth;
- Encouraging a child to engage in sexual activity, including masturbation;
- Intentionally engaging in sexual activity in front of a child;
- Showing children pornography, or using children to create pornography;
- Encouraging a child to engage in prostitution.
- Someone flashing or exposing themselves online or offline
- Sexual abuse can include rape and sexual assault, sexual harassment, online grooming.
- It can also include sexual exploitation (being pressured into having sex with someone in return for getting something like money or drugs), child pornography.
- Criticising you sexually
- Forcing you to strip, or forcefully stripping you
- Minimising or denying your feelings about sex or sexual preference
Someone could be sexually abused by a stranger, by somebody you love and trust or a boyfriend or girlfriend.
The following list includes some of the effects now being recognised and acknowledged as the consequences of childhood sexual abuse, it is not inevitable that all victims will suffer from all effects – the mix, severity and complexity is a unique experience for each individual.
- Irritability and outbursts of anger
- Lack of confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Strong feelings of inadequacy
- Inability to trust
- Problem relationships
- Sexual dysfunction
- Food/ Drug/Alcohol Abuse
- Low or over emotional control
- Panic attacks
- Sleep disturbances
- Inability to touch or be touched
- Suicide attempts
- High risk taking
- Security seeking
- Alienation from body
- Aversion to making noise
- Memory blanks
There are very few parents that rub their hands with glee when a child is born and say “let’s see what we can do to make this child’s life a misery”.
It is more, that some adults become parents themselves without resolving their own personal issues, perhaps they didn’t know how to, or they simply didn’t want to. When this happens, it can lead to parents being less than ideal with their parenting skills which can in turn lead to issues in a person’s adult life.
A child will have both positive and negative experiences throughout his/her development. Eric Berne stated that “a child needs “good enough” parenting in order to thrive”, he saw the negative experiences as bad pennies in a pile of straight pennies, which represent good experiences. Provided there are enough straight pennies the pile will stand. Too many bent pennies and it will collapse.
Common issues that can arise from ineffective parenting are:
- People pleasing
- Lack of assertiveness – inability to say no
- Irritability and outbursts of anger
- Inability to handle emotions
- Lack of confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Strong feelings of inadequacy
- Inability to trust
- Problem relationships
- Sexual dysfunction
- Food/ Drug/Alcohol Abuse
- Low or over emotional control
- Panic attacks
- Fears & Phobias
- Sleep disturbances
The Effects Of Abuse
Many people believe that sexual and physical abuse experiences do the most damage to children – it is true that damage is done and that the experiences are generally traumatic for children. However, emotional abuse (poor parenting also qualifies in this category) is the real ‘killer’, because it subtly undermines a child’s true identity. The misinformation that is learned from poor parenting and the damaging, derogatory comments of emotional abuse create a warped understanding (belief system) about self, others and the world. Because it is learned from infancy onwards the misinformation seems to be the truth. The children are too young to realise the misinformation or the damaging, derogatory comments are not true and because they trust that their parents know what is right and wrong, everything the parents/carers say is taken to heart, as truth.
The two most common mistaken beliefs poor parenting and emotional abuse create are, ‘I’m not good enough’ and ‘I’m unlovable’. Those exact words may not be said by parents/carers, but the meaning will clearly be the underlying message received by children. Although, children assume their parents know what they are talking about, in reality, the parents are only projecting their own mistaken beliefs onto their children. It becomes a family inheritance – passing on mistaken beliefs to the next generation (and wouldn’t we all have preferred jewels and money!).
Whatever you believe about yourself creates your reality. The two beliefs mentioned (as well as many, many more) create a reality that prohibits people from reaching their full potential. Whatever is good or loving that crosses their path will be sabotaged because it does not match up with the mistaken belief and therefore has to be rejected. These people will desire to have love and happiness in their life and may seem to be pursuing it, but at the end of the day they will end up shooting themselves in the foot because the underlying mistaken belief rules the day.
As children and adults, they will underachieve, have problems interacting with others, problems making decisions, suffer from depression or anxiety, chronic ill health, experience sleep disorders and lack confidence. Depending on the level of emotional abuse, you can also expect some of the problems generally attached to physical and sexual abuse: self-harm, eating disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), drug and alcohol abuse. Generally speaking, the only problem that is not usually generated by emotional abuse is Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID). It is a good idea to remember that sexual, physical and ritualistic abuse does not happen without a foundation of emotional abuse to build on – emotional abuse prepares the child for further ‘invasions’. Never underestimate the damage of emotional abuse or consider it to be a ‘lighter’ form of abuse.
Until recent years there was very little help offered to adult survivors of childhood abuse. Some of those who displayed acute symptoms of abuse were judged mentally ill and sent for psychiatric treatment. As a result of not being understood, little help was forthcoming and patients did not receive the support that they needed.
Childhood Abuse Symptoms
There is no specific ‘personality type’ attached to the effect of childhood abuse. Some people become introverted, others are loud and brash; some are sexually inhibited, others are promiscuous; some are overly neat, others are untidy; some are good at hiding their problems, others are obviously experiencing difficulties. However, there is a list of symptoms that are common to people who have experienced childhood abuse. People in general can have a few of these symptoms and it doesn’t mean they have been abused, but those individuals who have been abused will have several to many symptoms.
Below are the most common symptoms/problems resulting from childhood abuse. This is not a complete list, just the most common problems.
The response to childhood abuse varies and people will often have many of these difficulties. These symptoms/problems all stem from the mistaken/limiting beliefs each person developed as a result of childhood abuse.
Also, remember that some of these mistaken beliefs will be so familiar that they are invisible to a person. Although someone may even be using the exact wording of the belief as they speak (i.e. “It’s all my fault, everything is always my fault.”). Seldom are people consciously aware of the mistaken beliefs that operate their behaviour and life.
Alcohol or Drug Abuse
These may be used as a form of self-punishment; a buffer to try to numb feelings; a comfort or a memory blocking device. There is evidence to suggest that a large number of drug and alcohol abusers experienced sexual abuse during childhood.
Alienation from body
Some victims and abuse survivors find it difficult to be comfortable in their own body. There is often a failure to heed body signals (pain; fatigue; hunger or thirst) and a lack of care for their body in either fitness or health areas. They may have a poor body image and sometimes manipulate their body size to avoid sexual attention. This is often concurrent with food, drug or alcohol abuse and low self-esteem. People may spend much of their time in a dissociated state i.e., ‘watching’ their life happen rather than experiencing it.
Aversion to making noise
This includes noise during sex; crying; laughing or body functions. Some people may be softly spoken and pause a lot while speaking as they monitor their words.
Depression can occur as a result of damage to a child’s developing emotional and stress systems. Common symptoms include tearfulness; fatigue; feeling ‘numb’ and an inability to enjoy life. Depression can lead to a cycle of negativity, especially when there is no obvious reason for it. People may feel that they ‘should’ be able to be happy, or like there is “nothing really wrong”.
Flashbacks can take the form of quick visual images, or of sensations or feelings. These often take place during intimacy but can also accompany everyday activities or simply reading or hearing about other’s abuse experiences. They are triggered by some connection with the abuse through visual, auditory (a partner’s heavy breathing during intimacy is a common one), kinaesthetic, gustatory or olfactory sources. Flashbacks are usually fragmented experiences or representations of the abuse and can offer a ‘way in’ to a more complete memory if necessary.
Food abuse may be manifested in the conditions of anorexia, bulimia and other eating disorders. People who have experienced abuse sometimes hold the belief that they will not have to face their sexuality if they are unattractive. Eating disordered behaviours such as starving oneself (is considered as self-abuse and) self-punishment. Those who are obese can use food as a form of comfort and may maintain their excess weight as a defence against feeling small and vulnerable.
Emotional trauma that has never been resolved can produce physical illness. Migraines; stomach and digestive problems; gynaecological problems, general aches and pains are some of the most common.
Inability to touch or be touched
This problem can be triggered by feelings of dirtiness (a fear that the other person will somehow know of the abuse and be rejecting); fear of contaminating others (an irrational thought stemming from feeling dirty and bad); low self-esteem and the fear that by allowing physical contact one is at risk of further abuse. Touch may bring back memories of unwanted touch from childhood, or an experience that produced pleasurable feelings but now brings shame and disgust. It can also reflect a fear of one’s sexuality.
Inability to trust
When trust in a respected adult is broken at an early age, a child quickly learns to believe that no-one can be trusted. As an adult they unconsciously respond to the belief that others will let them down.
Often, victims of abuse will sabotage relationships by cutting off from people they care about. It seems easier to hurt yourself before others have a chance, particularly when you believe the pain is inevitable. This separation is often done by setting unrealistic tests for friends, partners or family- when the test is failed, the person’s belief that no-one can be trusted is strengthened. This in turn enforces the belief that it is safer to stay behind emotional walls.
Others believe that they will not be accepted if people know about the abuse. Although most are crying out for love and acceptance, their fear and erroneous belief system keeps them trapped within themselves, feeling isolated and hopeless.
Lack of confidence
This common symptom can stem from feelings developed in childhood of guilt and an innate sense of ‘badness’ or feeling defective. It may also result from a lack of rights or opportunities to learn or demonstrate healthy boundaries, and/or from a lack of opportunity to speak up or be truly heard.
Low or high emotional control
Some people will perceive ordinary stressful situations as a crisis, resulting in a shock response or emotional shutdown. They are often termed ‘dramatic’ or ‘hysterical’ types. Others are in a fairly consistent state of emotional and physical numbness.
People who have low emotional control are generally seen to overreact; easily burst into tears; have outbursts of anger; laugh loudly or inappropriately and generally appear demanding and vulnerable. This behaviour may temporarily give a sense of comfort from the attention received, but comfort is short-lived because the attention is usually negative.
Some people are over-controlled emotionally and may appear almost robotic. They are often terrified of their anger, believing that to show any strong emotion could cause them to lose control and give in to the violent rage they fear. At other times the control stems from a misguided childhood belief that the less emotion displayed, the less chance of being noticed. The idea that extreme control lessens the chance of further abuse is an illusion of safety.
Some children learned that they had no rights to emotion and may find it difficult to laugh; cry; complain or even express an opinion. Parents or guardians may have crushed any sign of emotion from these children from an early age. As adults they often build an invisible wall around their feelings in order to protect themselves from being hurt again.
Low self esteem
This feeling is often associated with the person’s outward appearance, believing they are ugly and repulsive, regardless of what they actually look like or positive input they may receive, but is also associated with their inner feelings of not being ‘enough’.
People who have memory blanks of a year or several years during their childhood and who have several of the above symptoms may have repressed abuse memories. This usually happens when trauma experienced during childhood is so threatening that the child shuts off all memory of it as a coping mechanism.
(It is imperative to note that if someone has memory blanks but shows no symptoms of abuse, one should not feel obligated to search for memories of such events. If there are no symptoms, it is probably just a case of fairly uneventful incidences blurring into each other and appearing as a blank.)
One common experience for those with repressed abuse memories is that they will have strong emotional reactions to information concerning anything they actually experienced. Any one of us may hear about a horrible experience involving someone else and be moved or upset by it; that is natural. However, if someone has an over-the-top reaction, as though they are experiencing the event, it may indicate that they have experienced it at some time.
Additionally, there will sometimes be certain words that abuse survivors do not want to say or hear; behaviours that they cannot watch; or everyday events that they cannot bear, but do not know why. All of these may be connected with a previous abuse experience that their memory is blocking off.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive and compulsive behaviours or thought patterns are unconsciously created to provide a sense, or more accurately, an illusion of safety.
In the case of an abuse survivor, these behaviours may have been created during childhood in order to try to create some control in their environment. One example could be a small child who uses their internal resources for thought and reflection to consider how they can make life better or safer. They may conclude that placing a teddy bear at the foot of the bed will keep an abuser away. It doesn’t work, but it is comforting to be able to ‘do’ something. When the abuse continues, as long as the child can blame themselves, perhaps thinking they didn’t get the teddy bear in the right place, or that they should have put another toy there they then have the illusion of safety, believing that if they can “get it right” they can be safe. The reality is too terrifying to face: that there is nothing that can actually keep them safe.
This childhood strategy unconsciously carries on into adult life and various behaviours will be repeated in an attempt to feel safe. Seldom do people know why they are acting and thinking in these ways, and it can be very surprising for them to learn it is a childhood safety strategy that is no longer adaptive, but at the same time it helps make sense of their life.
PICT therapists utilise a resolution technique to address the feelings running the behaviour; this in turn releases the need for the illusion of safety.
Panic attacks may include many physical symptoms including difficulty breathing, heart palpitations; vision changes; sweating; shaking; nausea; feeling out of control, that something terrible is about to happen – often leading to a fear of dying.
Panic attacks may be triggered by a thought; smell; taste; sound; feeling, sensation or action that somehow reflects the abuse suffered in childhood, even when the survivor does not have a clue what that trigger might have been.
Some people who have not yet remembered abuse suffer from panic attacks and are confused about the cause. Panic attacks may seem like they appear from nowhere, but there is always a trigger.
Fear is a normal emotion and we need it for our survival. The anxious feelings created within us mean we can avoid taking unreasonable risks in order to keep us safe.
However, when a person is afraid of something that is not in reality dangerous, this is usually described as a phobia. Phobias do not normally appear nor disappear of their own accord. Typically common examples of phobic stimuli include heights, flying or specific animals.
Phobias may be a form of self-sabotage or self-punishment. They may be caused by an underlying feeling that “I am not worthy to enjoy life and if I cannot function properly then I will not enjoy life”.
Phobias can also be used as a distraction. When a person has a serious phobia to deal with, the fear of facing the deep emotional scarring of childhood abuse can be put off and not prioritised.
Individuals with a phobia can sometimes believe they are “being silly”. It is worth remembering that the existence of a phobia shows how effective the brain is at learning. Phobias are often the result of a singular learning experience and can be eliminated just as quickly as they were first established.
Parks Inner Child Therapy (PICT) can help update any incorrect information that may have been underpinning a phobia. PICT work incorporates several phobia-specific techniques which are quick and comfortable and can assist a person in removing phobias thoroughly and gently.
Childhood abuse, sometimes emotional abuse alone, can cause many symptoms including sexual dysfunction, inability to touch or trust, that in turn cause serious relationship problems.
Risk-taking (high or low)
Some people find they have a compulsion for ‘daring the fates’ and their work or social life may be a series of very high-risk-taking events.
Conversely, there are other people who lean in the opposite direction and find it impossible to take even the smallest risk.
Survivors of childhood abuse may choose an abusive or inadequate partner because damaged personalities feel more normal to them. This is because the experience of growing up in a dysfunctional family causes dysfunctional people to seem familiar, and it is only natural to be drawn to what is familiar. Equally, some people choose an inadequate partner as a result of believing that their own ‘unworthiness’ prohibits a partnership with a nice person.
In stressful situations some abuse survivors may physically hide or cower in a corner; they may also report feeling watched when no-one is around. They are usually hyper-vigilant and have a strong startle response to unexpected situations, which may be followed by anger or nervousness.
This is best described as hurting oneself deliberately, but generally without a desire to commit suicide. Methods of self-harm include cutting; burning; hitting or bruising; biting; pulling out hair, and less frequently, breaking bones. It is a method of coping with extreme emotional distress.
There are many reasons that people self-harm. Below is a typical (but not exhaustive) list of some of the typical reasons that people engage in self-harming behaviour:
A way of releasing anger. Some people feel that they cannot release anger to anyone, so they release it on the only person they have permission to hurt – themselves.
A way of demonstrating the level of emotional pain they are experiencing. Some people generally feel they are unimportant, not listened to or not believed. Self-harm is one way to say to others, “See how much pain I am in; help me!”
A way of releasing pain. Some people are so removed from their feelings that the only way they can release pain is to self-harm. It is their way of showing the depth of their pain to themselves. Physical pain from self-harm can also be a useful distraction from the sometimes even greater emotional pain that abuse survivors may feel.
A way of feeling that they have some power in their life. When someone feels an overall sense of powerlessness, they unconsciously take power over the only thing they have left – their self.
A way of punishing oneself. Many people who have experienced childhood abuse feel that whatever happened is their own fault, or that they made it happen in some way. This level of guilt can lead to self-punishment – self-harm is one way that people may carry it out.
Self-harming behaviours can become addictive, no matter what the underlying root cause or reason for use.
Some people who were abused as children may be sexually repressed, while others may be promiscuous. Many lack accurate sexual knowledge and therefore do not have proper information about their bodily functions or sexual organs. They may have become frightened of their sexuality, or believe their bodies are dirty or shameful. Some have had many sexual experiences but have not shared love with those partners. Others may use sex as a way of gaining acceptance or as a manipulative tool. (Mistaken beliefs may be I’m bad, dirty, ruined. I’m defective. I don’t count. I’m contaminated. I’m not important. I don’t deserve happiness.)
Recurring nightmares are a common sleep disturbance amongst childhood abuse survivors. Insomnia is also a frequent experience; others may use excessive sleep as a form of escape or a method of coping.
Strong feelings of inadequacy
A belief of innate ‘badness’ or feelings of guilt and blame prohibit personal achievement; this may be followed by self-sabotage. An abuse survivor’s vocabulary may be full of “I can’t” statements.
People who have suffered abuse may see suicide as their only way out of the pain.
What therapy do I offer for Abuse?
I am a PICT (Parks Inner Child Therapy) practitioner.
Parks Inner Child Therapy (PICT) is a powerful and versatile visualisation-based therapy model that aids rapid and positive change.
PICT was originally created to specifically help people recover from the trauma and damage of sexual, physical and emotional abuse during childhood (such harm may have been caused deliberately, caused by neglect, or by inadequate parenting which was not intentional).
PICT is a directional model following a flexible structure adapted to the client’s individual needs. As a practitioner, I can assist you with the unloading process (the initial talking through of past events) should you need it before moving onto the process of deep and lasting change work.
Benefits to Clients
The most significant feature of PICT is that it can bring about change gently because there is no need to disclose any details of traumatic events. PICT addresses the effects of the trauma (whether the trauma is in conscious memory or not) rather than focusing on the detail of an event and therefore allows the option for clients to retain their privacy, dignity and to work comfortably.
PICT produces measurable results and contains thorough, quick and effective techniques to bring about beneficial and lasting change. PICT therapy can be relaxing and satisfying, with times for light-heartedness to counterbalance the more serious moments.
How PICT Works
When adults with good reasoning power find they are unable to resolve ongoing problems they can often be heard to complain in frustration, ‘I know I shouldn’t feel (think/do) this, but I still do!’ In other words, their logic is at odds with their feelings and their feelings seem to be winning the battle. This is usually a depressing experience for people who want to be in charge of their life and they often blame themselves, feel guilty and call themselves ‘weak’ or ‘useless’.
So, why are people with good reasoning power trapped in an unwanted feeling or behaviour?
PICT teaches that the core beliefs we have about ourselves (our identity), about others or about the world are learned during early childhood, before we are old enough to determine if the information is correct or not. Because this process happens so early on, the information/beliefs we have learned seem more like a basic truth that has always been with us. In other words, it is difficult for a person to think in terms of ‘belief’, it seems much bigger than that – it seems like a truth about identity, i.e. ‘That’s just how I am’, ‘That’s just how life is’. That belief learning process is fine if we have emotionally healthy families who demonstrate good parenting, because then most of our beliefs about self, others or the world will be positive and supportive.
However, when families are dysfunctional or parenting skills are lacking, the beliefs we learn are mistaken and limiting, i.e. I’m not good enough, I can’t get anything right, no one can be trusted, there is no safety, etc. Mistaken beliefs learned during childhood remain active in the background, essentially invisible to us, as they rule our decision making, influence our self-esteem, affect our relationships and our ability to motivate ourselves.
At the conclusion of PICT therapy clients regularly report feeling a sense of completion, a new sense of understanding of how and why they had the problems and a feeling that they now have all the puzzle parts of their lives put back together – ‘My life now makes sense’ and ‘I now feel free to be me’ are common statements.
How is PICT Different to Other Therapy Models?
PICT has a flexible structure with a clear beginning, middle and end, as well as measurable results. PICT can quickly and gently deal with even the most traumatic experiences because there is no need to reveal painful details. The model is designed to obtain thorough understanding and resolution of problems, rather than leaving gaps that can cause the same problems to resurface later on. It is designed to work quickly whilst creating deep and lasting change; work that would generally take six months to a year using most therapeutic models may on average be completed in ten two-hour sessions using PICT.
Sessions can be run weekly, fortnightly or at a schedule to suit you.
There is also the opportunity to experience the therapy over a shorter time frame – typically 5 days – this process is called Quick Change and is suitable for those who live a long distance from the therapist or who simply do not have the free time to attend weekly or fortnightly sessions. Please note an assessment is required to be completed to assess suitability for Quick Change work.