Abuse Therapy in Toronto


Abuse is the misuse of power used to intentionally harm another person. It is usually committed by someone close to the victim, and it often has long-lasting effects. 

Those who have suffered the devastation and pain of abuse understand that these experiences remain very present during the course of their life. Trauma is often a result of ongoing abuse, and it takes its toll psychologically, emotionally, and physically. 

Talking about the shame and guilt associated with abuse is extremely difficult. Abuse is very isolating and many victims suffer in silence. 


There is hope, however, that you can overcome these emotions and lead a healthy and happy life.


What are different types of abuse?

woman with anxiety abuse therapy services from therapist in Toronto at KMA therapy

Although the most commonly depicted type is physical, abuse comes in many different forms, and often, abusers will inflict abuse in multiple ways. 


Types of abuse include: 

  • Physical abuse
  • Emotional/Psychological abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial abuse

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse refers to the use of bodily harm that results in injury, pain or impairment. This can include:

  • Slapping
  • Punching
  • Burning
  • Cutting
  • Bruising
  • Choking
  • Physically restraining
  • Using a weapon on someone

Physical abuse often occurs along with other types of abuse.

If you are fearful that your health and/or life may be in danger, contact your local emergency services.

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

Emotional, or psychological abuse is one of the most common forms of abuse. It can include:

  • Yelling
  • Neglect 
  • Insulting
  • Gaslighting
  • Humiliating
  • Threatening 
  • Name calling
  • Imitating or mocking
  • Isolating from loved ones
  • Ignoring/purposefully withholding affection

Victims of emotional abuse often don’t recognize that they’re being abused. Ongoing emotional abuse may leave victims with low confidence, unable to make decisions for themselves, and isolated from their families and friends. 

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is any type of sexual contact made without consent. This includes: 

  • Rape
  • Groping
  • Molestation
  • Sexual harassment
  • Non-consensual exposure of body or pornography
  • Releasing sexual images of someone without consent

Most perpetrators of sexual abuse usually know the perpetrator. It is important to understand that lack of consent is not only saying “no”. It is also lack of enthusiasm or being coerced into a sexual act.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse is the use of money or assets to control or hurt someone. It can include: 

  • Coercing someone into debt
  • Extorting someone for money
  • Cutting off someone’s bank account
  • Sabotaging someone’s employment

Financial abuse can occur in any kind of relationship including familial, professional, romantic or social.

How does abuse affect mental and physical health?

Abuse has both immediate and long-term effects. In the short-run, abuse may cause spiked fear, panic attacks, and elevated anxiety. 

Abuse can cause trauma, which has lasting effects on one’s mental, physical, and emotional health. Trauma as a result of abuse puts victims at risk of developing: 

It can also negatively impact one’s self-esteem and future relationships. Victims of abuse may feel intense shame about their experiences, have trouble trusting others, and only feel comfortable in abusive relationships.

There’s a vast amount of evidence that trauma leaves physical changes in the body. 

Trauma may contribute to the development of chronic conditions, and makes measurable changes in the brain’s chemistry. These changes may leave victims feeling “stuck” in their memories of abuse, unable to deal with them.

What is the best therapy for abuse?

Although victims of abuse often feel defeated, there is hope for recovery. Through therapy, those who have experienced abuse can learn to get “un-stuck” from the past, trust others, and regain a sense of control of their lives.

There is a variety of options for those looking for abuse therapy:

Abuse therapists are trained to understand the feelings that arise while reliving painful and difficult memories.

Aims and objectives for treatment in abuse therapy include: 

  • Improving self-esteem 
  • Learning how to recognize signs of abuse
  • Gaining tools to express and manage emotions 
  • Processing traumatic events in safety and confidence
  • Alleviating symptoms like nightmares and flashbacks
  • Understanding how to trust others and the world again
  • Relieving accompanying issues such as depression and anxiety

You can talk to your therapist about what you’re looking to achieve during therapy and they can tailor an approach that works for you. 

If you’re not sure what your goals are yet, that’s okay! You and your therapist can explore potential options, and figure it out together.

How does abuse therapy work at KMA?

Abuse therapy at KMA begins with a 50-minute introductory session with one of our intake therapists.

In these 50 minutes, we will ask important questions to determine the treatment approach needed for your experiences with abuse:

  • What is the nature of the abuse?
  • How do the effects of trauma show up in your life?
  • What are your current coping mechanisms?
  • What would it look like to ‘feel okay’ again?

At KMA Therapy, we believe it’s important to get to know you so that your therapist is the right fit. The consultation is also a wonderful time to address any questions you may have.

We will provide you with a customised ‘plan of action’. It includes the recommended therapist best equipped to help you, as well as any additional testing or psychological services that may be helpful.

Get started with abuse therapy today

KMA Therapy has five locations throughout Toronto. We also offer therapy from the comfort of your own home, through Zoom. 

To learn more about abuse therapy, give us a call at 416 487 6288 or fill out our registration form to have our care coordinator reach out with more information. You can also book a session with us directly. 

If you want to learn about other mental health concerns, visit our issues page.

If you’d like to learn more about how trauma may be affecting you, check out What are the 4 Trauma Responses – and How to Cope

Looking for a trauma therapist? Read How to Find a Trauma Therapist in Toronto to learn more.

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