Physical, Emotional and Sexual Abuse

Abuse is the intentional harming of one person by another

Although abuse can occur between any two people, it typically involves a relationship in which the abuser can control and coerce the other person. For that reason, it is often occurs between partners or is perpetrated on children by adults.

Abuse is depressingly common. The Crime Survey for England and Wales estimates that one in five adults experienced at least one form of abuse before they were 16 years old. The same organisation estimates that 6% of adults experience domestic abuse each year, with women around twice as likely to experience it as men.

There are many different types of abuse

This involves one person forcing or manipulating another into sexual activity. It may involve physical contact, such as sexual touch or rape, or it may be non-contact abuse, such as showing pornography to a child. Non-contact abuse can happen in person or online. If children are being sexually abused, they may not understand what is happening or that it is wrong, and may feel unable to object even if they do.

Physical abuse involves intentionally harming another person through physical means. It may include acts such as kicking, hitting, slapping, poisoning, shaking, burning, biting, choking, pinning someone down or drowning them.

This is deliberately trying to make a person feel bad emotionally. Some of the ways a person might emotionally abuse another are humiliating them, gas-lighting them (convincing them that they are wrong about things so that they start to doubt their sanity), using degrading language, not allowing them to have friends or ignoring them.

Neglect occurs when an adult with responsibility for another person (usually a child) does not take care of that person’s needs. It may include not feeding them, leaving them alone when they are unable to look after themselves, failing to provide medical care during illness, not responding to their emotional needs or failing to provide the stimulation or education they require to develop.

Financial abuse is controlling another person’s money or financial assets. Examples of financial abuse are monitoring someone else’s credit card bills, coercing them into handing over wages, taking their bank cards or threatening other abusive behaviour if they spend money without permission.

The term “domestic abuse” is used when any form of abuse happens between people in an intimate or family relationship. They need not live together and the abuse need not happen inside the home. UK law now recognises witnessing domestic abuse as a form of abuse in its own right. The term “domestic violence” is often used, but there need not be physical violence involved for it to be domestic abuse.

This is any abuse that happens online. It is widely associated with social media but can also take place through others platforms such as emails, texts and online gaming sites. Examples of online abuse are cyber-bullying, online emotional abuse, grooming and sharing private sexual imagery without permission (“revenge porn”).

The impact of abuse

Abuse can have a devastating effect on a person’s life. Many people never talk about the abuse they have experienced to anyone. Instead they carry their secret around with them, and with it heavy feelings of shame and guilt. Often, they blame themselves, whereas in fact it is never their fault.

It’s common for survivors of abuse to find it harder to study or to thrive in their careers. Sadly, experiencing abuse as a child also makes a person more likely to find themselves in abusive relationships as an adult. This isn’t surprising when you think about the messages that abuse gives a person about how relationships work and their own self-worth. Survivors of abuse may also experience mental and physical health problems or may turn to self-harm, drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with their feelings around the abuse.

Both face-to-face and online counselling are available to those who have experienced abuse.

Take the first step in dealing with abuse

At One Therapy London, we work with individuals and couples who have experienced abuse in the past or are experiencing it currently. We know how valuable it is for survivors of abuse to be heard, but we also know that that needs to happen at their own pace. For many, thoughts of the abuse have been locked away and there is great fear attached to “opening Pandora’s box.”

So we take things slowly and there is no pressure for anyone to talk about anything before they feel ready. Invariably there is a mixture of feelings around the abuse – sadness, anger, shame, confusion and more.  There may also be really confusing feelings towards the abuser, particularly if it is a family member. These feelings can be expressed and processed in therapy without judgement.

The first step is to make an appointment for an initial consultation. We know it can be terrifying for survivors of abuse, but we also know how important it is to take that first step on the path to healing.

Abuse comes in many forms and is common in childhood and throughout all stages of life.

Client Testimonials

Does talking help?

With text messages, online networking and email so easy, talking to another person may seem old-fashioned. These days, communication is abbreviated and electronic. A quick text message or a short email is usually enough to get our message across. But humans have been talking to each…

Read more

What do I talk about in counselling?

One of the most common worries I hear expressed by people starting counselling is that they won’t know what to talk about. Some people think their problems aren’t significant enough. Others fear they have too much to say, that they might overwhelm the therapist…

Read more

Confidence counselling

Many people come to therapy looking to improve their self-esteem and self-confidence. Speak with a therapist about how to be stronger and more assertive within your life.

Trauma counselling

Difficult, traumatic experiences can be difficult to overcome. Trauma can live in us long after the traumatic experience is over. Counselling for trauma is a specialised for of therapy.

Counselling for men

More men are seeking therapy more than ever before. We have both male and female therapists experienced in working with men’s issues, including anger, aggression and rage.

One Therapy London

Counselling, psychotherapy, couples counselling in London since 2006

Therapist Asma Gharbi
Asma Gharbi

Consultant Psychodynamic Psychotherapist Couples and Relationship Therapist Counselling Psychologist Asma offers psychodynamic, humanistic and integrative therapies to individuals and couples She tailors her approach to meet the needs and preferences of her clients She offers short and long term therapy Asma provides a non-judgemental space for her clients, where they...

Oxford Circus


Therapist Marta Pisarri
Marta Pisarri

Consultant Integrative Psychotherapist Visiting lecturer at Regent's University Diploma in Somatic Trauma Therapy Advance Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapy MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy MSc in Clinical Psychology Marta is a psychologist and an integrative psychotherapist: she has been working in the field of mental health for over 12 years in both private...



Therapist Barbara Perini
Barbara Perini

Consultant Therapist MSc in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy DIT - Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy BSc in Clinical Psychology Barbara is an accredited member of BACP, holding an MSc in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and adhering to the BACP ethical framework Her approach is open-ended, offering both short-term and long-term therapy Barbara has also trained in Dynamic...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Yussef Ferguson
Yussef Ferguson

Consultant Psychodynamic Psychotherapist MSc Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy BA (Hons) Social Work Yussef is a Psychodynamic Psychotherapist who offers both long and short term personal therapy to individuals He has experience of working with a diverse range of clients and can provide a warm, confidential space to explore and gain insight into any past or...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Magda Piesiewicz
Magda Piesiewicz

Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist MSc in Psychology Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Sexology Magda helps couples and individuals who are facing psychosexual and relationship struggles She also specialises in compulsive sexual behaviours (often misunderstood as sex addiction) She aims to create a non-judgmental, supportive space where her clients can be open...


Therapist Ben Brackenbury
Ben Brackenbury

Consultant Therapist Head of Therapy Training Programmes Ben believes that at times we all struggle with the challenges life has to offer and therapy provides a safe, confidential, non-judgemental space to explore this Ben works with individuals to make sense of who they are and how they respond to the world today, and to explore new ways of being Ben is also...

Oxford Circus

Therapist Geraldine Lothian
Geraldine Lothian

Consultant Therapist Geraldine (she/her) is a psychodynamic psychotherapist who works with individuals Geraldine’s style of therapy is to work collaboratively with her clients and at each client’s pace  It is sometimes difficult to make the decision to start therapy but Geraldine works together with her clients to address any issues that may feel difficult to...


Therapist Stamatia Lorentzou
Stamatia Lorentzou

Senior Consultant Therapist Stamatia draws on a broad range of theories of psychotherapy She works collaboratively with her clients to understand the causes of their concern and find ways to move forward Stamatia offers both short-term and longer-term therapy She has worked in various organisational settings with individuals seeking to address relationship issues,...


Therapist Rhiannon Whipps
Rhiannon Whipps

Consultant Therapist Rhiannon is a psychodynamic counsellor and psychotherapist with over ten years experience of working within the field of mental health Rhiannon provides an empathic and non-judgemental therapeutic space for her clients to explore any difficulties which they may be facing Within the safety of a confidential environment, she encourages her clients...

Oxford Circus


Therapist Patricia Connolly
Patricia Connolly

Consultant Psychodynamic Psychotherapist Patricia works within a psychodynamic approach This focuses on early life experience and  relationships to help you understand how they shape who you are in the present When you begin to more fully explore your emotions and attitudes you can find a deeper self–knowledge, which can also transform the way you relate to...