Sexual Assault Resources


If you feel overwhelmed or are having trouble dealing with problems on your own, seeking counseling might be a good option for you. There are many ways to take care of yourself and heal through counseling options, stress reduction techniques, support groups and other resources.

What is psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” refers to the process in which a counselor will work with you to provide strategies or give you tools to address your concerns. Through psychotherapy, a counselor can help you work through your problems or concerns to live a happier, healthier and more productive life.

How does psychotherapy help people deal with the effects of trauma?

If you have been sexually assaulted or experienced some other type of trauma, psychotherapy can help you learn to react in ways that are less upsetting. Therapy may:

  • Teach you about trauma and its effects.
  • Teach you relaxation techniques or anger management strategies.
  • Provide tools to help improve your sleep, diet or exercise habits
  • Help you identify and deal with negative feelings about the traumatic event, such as feelings of guilt or shame.
  • Help you identify and deal with negative thoughts about the traumatic events such as self-blame.
  • Assist you in making behavioral changes to reduce anxiety when exposed to people or places that are reminders of the trauma.

Is psychotherapy effective?

Yes, psychotherapy has been shown to help people make positive changes in their lives. Approximately 75 percent of people who begin psychotherapy feel some improvement. And 80 percent of people who engage in psychotherapy do better than those who do not receive therapy at all.*

It can be difficult to open up to a counselor, but your counselor will be more effective in helping you address your concerns if you are open and honest with her or him.  At the same time, it’s important to take your time and share at a pace that feels safe to you. Psychotherapy works best if you find a good balance between taking the time to build trust with your counselor and taking the risk of sharing what you’re experiencing.

For myths vs. realities of psychotherapy, please visit the American Psychology Association’s website.

About confidentiality

UW Counseling Center records are not part of academic records and no one on or off campus has access to them or any information in them. Communication with your counselor and your records will be kept in confidence and will not be shared with anyone outside of the Counseling Center, unless you give written authorization and/or except under these extremely rare circumstances:

  •  If there is risk of imminent harm to yourself or another identified person, we are required to notify appropriate authorities to ensure everyone’s safety.
  • If there is reason to suspect that a minor or an elderly person is in danger of being abused or neglected, we are legally required to report this to the Department of Social Services.
  • If a court of law orders the release of certain information about a client, we are legally required to comply with this order.
  • If you file a lawsuit or other legal action against the Seattle, Bothell or Tacoma campuses or their employees, agents or officers contesting your services at the Counseling Center, information contained in your records could be released to UW attorneys if relevant to your lawsuit.


 *Citation: Lambert, M. J., & Archer, A. (2006). Research findings on the effects of psychotherapy and their implications for practice. In Goodheart, C. D., Kazdin, A. E., & Sternberg, R. J. (Eds.) Evidence-based psychotherapy: Where practice and research meet, (pp. 111-130). Washington, D.C: American Psychological Association.