Physical abuse counselling

This is not your fault. You are not to blame. You are not responsible for others’ actions.

Physical abuse is a traumatic experience. I offer physical abuse counselling in a safe space where you can learn to overcome the trauma and heal.

Physical abuse is an intentional act of aggression, intimidation and violence towards a child and adult, causing injury, risk of injury or trauma. Hitting, beating and rough treatment are all considered physical abuse. This may include bruises, scratches, burns, broken bones, lacerations and/or loss of consciousness.

Physical signs of abuse can often be seen, but sometimes the abuser will intentionally cause harm where clothing may hide the injuries. The impact that an injury has on your body can change your entire view of yourself. Other physical traumas may be concussions, head injuries, joint pain and more. Injuries that go unnoticed can have a profound impact on the victim and should not be diminished in any way because they are not obvious to others.

Professional support is essential

Seeking professional support is essential for helping victims of physical abuse to overcome psychological difficulties that can stem from their traumatic experiences. In many cases, physical abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, anger and other challenges such as sexual issues and trouble trusting new people.

Physical Abuse Counselling

Counselling can help in several ways, providing a supportive and safe environment where victims of physical abuse can start to explore painful memories and traumatic events in order to understand and change how they are affecting them in the present.

What is domestic violence?

If you are afraid of your partner, even if you have not been physically abused, but they have threatened to harm you or intimidate you, you are in an abusive relationship.

Do you avoid certain topics of conversation because you’re afraid of how your partner may react? Are you afraid of making your partner angry? Do you feel that there is very little you can do right to please your partner, and are constantly walking on eggshells? Do you believe that you have made your partner mad and deserve to be treated badly? Do you feel numb? Are you isolated and withdrawn from your friends and family? Do you often experience chronic headaches, fatigue, stomach pains, low mood and feelings of hopelessness?

If you have answered ‘yes’ to a few of the above questions, you may be experiencing domestic violence. Domestic violence is violent or aggressive behaviour within the home that usually involves the physical and emotional abuse of a spouse or partner.

How does physical abuse affect people?

Physical abuse is an overwhelming experience to go through. Trauma in the body occurs when our natural instinct for survival kicks in. This means that any time we feel threatened or in danger, our body summons up a tremendous amount of energy to either fight the situation or flee from the situation. This energy triggers shock and the mind and body disconnect from what’s happening, while the body is being harmed. These feelings of shock and disconnection stay with you for a long time after. Once the violent relationship has ended it may take some time for the body’s response to stop reacting in this way.

Physical abuse significantly impacts your perspective of the world and how you interact and function in it. Physical abuse affects your thoughts, feelings, behaviors and also impacts on your mental stability. Increased anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression are all symptoms that are common in people who experience this type of abuse.

Some common physical effects of physical abuse are; chronic fatigue, shortness of breath, muscle tension, involuntary shaking, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, sexual dysfunction, issues with women’s menstrual cycles or fertility. Self-medicating with alcohol or substances can become a coping mechanism. Self-harm may be another way that the survivor may try to bring control back into an ‘out-of-control’ life.

Being controlled by another through physical abuse, can create feelings of hopelessness. You may form negative views of the world and about yourself – feeling that you are unworthy of a better life. Self-esteem deterioration goes hand in hand with ongoing physical abuse, which can lead to a false belief system that you are alone in the world and that you are always unsafe. Isolating yourself from those who love you and mistrusting friends and family are direct results of being in a physically abusive relationship or situation.

What you can do to protect yourself?

Coping with the effects of physical abuse and domestic violence can be devastating because the victims control over the situation has been taken away from them.

Keeping yourself safe, while you are in a physically abusive relationship, is of utmost importance:

Stay away from places in the home that pose more of a danger to you. Don’t allow yourself to become trapped in small spaces or rooms. Move near to a room with a window or door that you can get out of, should you need to. Avoid rooms where there are dangerous objects ie. the kitchen – knives. If you can find a room that locks from the inside, you will be able to lock your abuser out.

If you are in a dangerous situation, you may need to consider giving your abuser whatever they are asking for in order to keep yourself safe. You have a right to protect yourself so if that means you need to act in the best interest of your well-being, there is nothing to be ashamed of.

Always have access to a phone and keep it on you at all times. Know your emergency numbers that you can dial out for free from almost anywhere. Call for help as soon as you are able to.

Remove yourself from the situation as soon as you can. Go to your neighbor’s house or go out in public where there are other people, to diminish any chances of a scene. Contact friends or family who will be able to protect you until you can get a ‘protection order’ or ‘restraining order’ in place.

What you can do to help others who have experienced physical abuse?

Very often victims of physical abuse try to hide what is happening from their family and friends. If you have become aware of signs of physical abuse and suspect that a loved one is being abused, speaking frankly with them about this may not get the results you are hoping for. The abuser has spent much time programming them into believing there is nothing wrong with how their relationship functions. By you telling them what you’ve noticed and then telling them what to do to get out of their situation, you will most likely isolate them even further. It is crucial to allow our loved ones to make their own decisions and determine their next steps so as to empower them and allow them to feel in control of their life.

For your loved one to find the courage to leave their abuser, they need knowledge, confidence and a belief of their truth. This is where you come in – remind them of times where they did have power in their life. Help them to see the positive decisions they make daily and build their confidence. Create a safe space where they can speak openly. Do not try to get them to see things from your perspective, rather tell them your worries and what you have noticed. Remind them that they do not deserve to be treated like this and they are not to blame for what’s happened. Be a non-judgmental sounding board for them. Support your loved one through the long haul, as it can be a lengthy and trying process for all involved.

How I can help?

As complex and as damaging as physical abuse is, it is possible to overcome. This often requires coming to terms with hard truths about your reality. It also means having the opportunity to discover new inner strengths in a protected and safe space. Through your journey of healing, learning to develop positive coping mechanisms and learning to lovingly care for yourself, it is possible to rebuild positive relationships with yourself and with others. Wherever you are in your own journey, there is always opportunity to be empowered, become insightful and be brave. When you are ready to enter this space, call me, and watch your greatest self unravel into the strength YOU choose to become.

How I work

My approach

So many people get lost in their experiences, especially the challenging ones. You forget what it’s like to feel free from the burden of a shocking incident and without even realizing, you become the experience, every minute of every day. How deeply rooted you are in this cycle can be difficult to see from the inside, because you are in it. It takes someone from the outside to gently guide you out and show you, remind you of what emotional freedom really feels like.

Everyone deserves to feel free. Everyone deserves the opportunity to step into the light. Allow me to guide you to the shining light.

My clients

Life coaching really is an investment in you! It’s a neutral space where you can learn to re-discover and become aware of yourself. Most of what you think you know about yourself is a reaction to your circumstances rather than your true core. This comes as the biggest surprise to my clients as you unravel what you have ‘become’ and start to connect with who you really are.

Coaching supports each person through their unique process and motivates them to keep going instead of procrastinating and self-sabotage.

If there is any area of your life that you would like to improve and don’t know how, life coaching is for you!

My training

As an international speaker, I value every platform because I see it as an opportunity to inspire and change lives. I speak for change so that we may own our true selves and be the best version of who we were intended to be. You can find me at speaking events, corporate events, colleges, schools and breakfasts as a guest speaker.

In 2016 I had the privilege of sharing a stage with George Ross (bestselling author, celebrity apprentice judge and former right hand man to Donald Trump) JT Foxx (The world’s number 1 wealth coach), Johanna Mukoki, Jorge Ngoko and Michael Mlengana.

Becoming my client

Life is too short for you not to be changed. My workshops will do that for you. Intensive and liberating all at the same time, going to deeper levels of yourself and understanding why you are the person you are and how you’d like to be better. Workshops are run throughout the year and have been held in the U.K., Channel Islands, Ireland and South Africa. Stay posted on upcoming dates or sign up to my blog to stay informed

On our journey together you'll

TRANSFORM every area of your life into vibrant success.

REVIVE and awaken yourself from the haze of shock and the aftermath of your ordeal.

ACCEPT what has happened to you and take strength from your situation.

UNDERSTAND who you now are because life has changed you.

METHODICALLY move beyond the limitations that you’ve been creating as a way to survive.

ACHIEVE the best version of you by rising above the superficiality of your experience, owning the depth of your wisdom and the freedom that is yours to have.

Book a free introductory call and learn how I can help you transform your life.

On our journey together you'll

TRANSFORM every area of your life into vibrant success. REVIVE and awaken yourself from the haze of shock and the aftermath of your ordeal. ACCEPT what has happened to you and take strength from your situation. UNDERSTAND who you now are because life has changed you. METHODICALLY move beyond the limitations that you’ve been creating as a way to survive. ACHIEVE the best version of you by rising above the superficiality of your experience, owning the depth of your wisdom and the freedom that is yours to have.

Book a free introductory call and learn how I can help you transform your life.

What my clients say

"If you feel that your long-held beliefs and deep rooted problems are holding you back in life, then I can recommend this course to you. Over two days, the counseling and encouragement triggered a catalyst for me to begin a journey of self-discovery, all within a safe environment with others who felt the same way."

Sarah (Guernsey, Channel Islands) 2005

"I feel that the structure of the course would challenge anybody and their boundaries on many levels. I cried a lot during the weekend but maybe that was meant to happen. I didn’t feel sad after we finished the sessions each day, drained yes, but not sad. Optimistic in fact, because you’ve been given some tools to help you cope with stress and problems in your life from now on in. I learned something important too that I deserved to be happy. A lot of the time I don’t think that I do … The Louise Hay workshop has left a lasting imprint on my heart and I will never forget the women I met or what we all learnt about ourselves and from each other with the help of our tutors. Going back to what I said at the start, I am so glad I took part and I would highly recommend this course to anyone."

Alne (Lusty Beg, Belfast)

"I saw her (chiropractor) this morning and she said it was the first time in four years that she has been able to adjust my lower back its thanks to the wonderful work you helped me with last weekend. All my emotions were ‘stored’ down there and I was holding on to them for dear life! Now that I’ve been able to let go emotionally, my body has been able to let go as well. I am so much better off since meeting you... The work we did has had a wonderful effect on my life! I can now truly see each new day as a gift, without needing to look backwards or forwards. Thanks to the lessons you taught me, my life has a whole new meaning and it is so liberating to be able to leave the old behind… Keep up the wonderful work that you are doing!"

Joanne (Johannesburg) 2008

"GETTING ALONG MARVELLOUSLY!!! I am really astounded (and believe me when I say this – it takes a lot to move me). I am more positive and getting more so. My outlook has changed completely (more positive thoughts and so forth). The reason for all this is: On Tueday last week got phoned from a hotel group that previously did not approve my application – went for interview last Friday (awaiting positive results) and on Wednesday last week my current employer offered me a higher position and remuneration and so forth (I have wanted this for the last 6 months or more – new job and higher income). Things, (big and small) seem to really fall in place.”

Lucas (Johannesburg) 2008 

"I attended the ‘love yourself, heal your life’ course this weekend with Gaelene and I can’t even express how awesome it was. I felt as if the content was ‘written’ especially for me and it is going to push me over that last little hurdle after which, I plan to never ever look back on this dark time. I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the life changing course this weekend. I cannot believe how much it has helped me and how much it feels like I have been lifted out of a very deep, dark hole. I am aware that this was not the only thing that has helped me (and gratefully so, because then I would doubt the longevity thereof) but it certainly was pivotal and I will forever be grateful for your time. I would highly recommend this to anyone. Thank you so much."

Theresa (Johannesburg) 2008

"This workshop has truly transformed my life! While I had read books on the subject the workshop really brought these ideas and principles to life, bettering my understanding of them and their relevance to my life. The exercises in the workshop really helped me see the negative beliefs I had – some I was aware of, and some that I had no idea existed until the workshop. The exercises were facilitated in such a way that I always felt safe, feeling free to discover my beliefs and patterns, but secure in the sense that a loving and experienced facilitator was guiding my journey. The take home materials and CD’s have really allowed me to apply the techniques to my everyday life. The most important element of the workshop for me was that I felt I could truly be and explore who I really am. The environment that Gaelene creates is a warm, loving space where unconditional acceptance and safety are a given. I highly recommend this workshop to everyone, whether you are looking to make changed, or just merely want to improve your quality and understanding of life."

Lara (Johannesburg) 2007

"On a more profound note, the past week and a bit have been extremely challenging in so far as life throwing everything at me to test the newly leant belief system. It has been harrowing to say the least, but I have survived with a lot more positivity becoming my reality. I also wake up singing ‘I love myself…’ and have been doing so since last week."

Liz ( Johannesburg) 2008

"Thank you for all the support and encouragement you give so generously! We are blessed to have you!"

Karin (Johannesburg) 2008

"Just want to say thank you for the course this weekend I thought I was not going to learn something new for a youngster like you but at the end I really got emotional and that’s what I needed just to see every time is a new journey and you (ma) go with the flow with what comes up… Thank you!"

Rene (Johannesburg) 2008

"Gaelene gave me the tools and wisdom to find my truth, and to finally like the person that I am. She has a quiet, gentle strength which I came to rely on quite a bit in my journey of self discovery."

Coralee (Johannesburg) 2016

"I indeed entered a new chapter after the wonderful course I did with you three years ago. I am engaged to be married, to my ex husband. Its been a wonderful two years back together (after 5 years of divorce). Our daughters are so happy and still ‘congratulate’ us on a daily basis. Who would have thought?"

Charinne (Johannesburg) 2016

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I’m Gaelene, a qualified social worker with practices in JHB and Durban, I specialise in creating a safe space for people who feel lost and paralysed by their experiences. A space where people feel accepted and supported through their journey whilst reclaiming the greatest version of themselves.

Watch my videos to learn more.

We’re not so different, you and me, join my soul tribe and become more of who you were meant to be.