I am providing pastoral counseling to someone who has significant trauma from childhood sexual abuse. Where should I turn for help?
Counseling survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is challenging. You will need to refer to a professional counselor who specializes in this type of therapy. This is long term counseling that takes years of treatment.
However, there is much you can do as a pastor. You can recommend some books to the survivor: “On the Threshold of Hope” by Diane Langberg and “Healing the Wounded Heart” by Dan D. Allender. If you have the time to meet with this person once or twice a month as her pastor, that would be helpful as CSA has the potential to confuse a person spiritually.
In many ways you are the student, and the survivor is the teacher. It is helpful to listen a lot and not do a lot of talking. Find out where she is at spiritually and how the abuse has affected her relationship with God. Find out which passages of Scripture she finds comforting and which she does not. That will reveal how you might help her spiritually.
Though you are not an expert in CSA trauma therapy, you have a role in the healing process: your expertise is spiritual care. The best approach is the team approach. Your counselee may be willing to sign a consent form that allows the therapist to share significant information that will help you provide spiritual support and encouragement.