Hell, Hope and Healing – Final Part by Brian Mark Hennessey

Hell, Hope and Healing – Final Part


(Note: Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea is the author of “Perversion of Power: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church” and a psychologist who has been working with sexual abuse survivors for 30 years. In the American Catholic Journal entitled the “National Catholic Reporter”, (which can be accessed on-line at NCRonline.org.), Mary Gail Frawley-O’Dea has published four parts of an article entitled “Hell, Hope and Healing”. Mary has stated: “I am grateful to the National Catholic Reporter for publishing this series. By doing so, it has opened doors to the field hospitals that Francis wants us to staff in our churches and has hung a red cross on the doors of NCR. For me, it is tremendously rewarding to offer a psycho-educational series on ACEs that may raise consciousness and that provides resources for the many readers who have experienced ACEs or who know others who have. I have been so privileged to accompany ACE survivors on healing journeys. My work has changed my life, imbuing with it grace, hope and awe for the resilience of the human spirit”).


(This parapharse of the final part of Mary’s article has been posted on the Mirfield Memories site by Brian Mark Hennessy. It should be noted that a number of aspects of this article relate specifically to the United Staes of America, but the information is none the less valuable):


When someone decides to embark on healing from adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and/or when concerned loved ones of a survivor want to help that person begin to heal, it can be confusing to know how to start. This last article in the series focuses on finding the best healing resources. It is a slice of all the resources available to someone and does not represent either endorsement or rejection of any particular source. Many of the resources listed here provide links to still other sources of information or help.


First Responders


The sad truth is that abusive families or institutions are unlikely ever to consistently put the interests of children before their own, no matter how many laws are passed or promises made.


We are the best hope of preventing child abuse and responding to it quickly when it occurs.

If enough of us believe that every child is our child, that we are responsible for the safety of every child we know, we can be the most effective instruments of change. If we believe, with Pope Francis, that churches are field hospitals, then we are the nurses, paramedics, doctors and, of course, the patients in our own communities. Any one of us can pick up the phone at any time if we know or suspect a child is being abused or neglected. It’s anonymous and it is the right thing to do. Use it if you know or suspect that a priest, a teacher, a bus driver, your best friend’s husband, your next-door neighbor or, yes, your own Uncle Louie is abusing or neglecting a child. There are no good excuses not to call. You can save a life and even a soul.


Choosing a therapist

It can be a daunting task to begin looking for a therapist to assist in the journey of recovery from sexual abuse or other ACEs. It may be difficult to know what to ask, what not to ask, what are generally appropriate treatment parameters, etc. Since it is important to work with someone you trust, as well as someone you “click” with, the following guidelines may be helpful.



You are looking for another human being whom you can trust to guide you through the sometimes treacherous shoals of recovery from ACEs. You have both the right and the responsibility to gather data to help you make a good decision. It is not unusual for someone to have one consultation session with at least three therapists before choosing someone with whom to work. Most therapists will charge for a consultation, and it is money well spent to be sure you make a choice that is healthy for you.


What to ask at a consultation:

In addition to being a person in need, you are a consumer. Again, you have the right and the responsibility to ask a potential therapist enough questions to get a sense of the way he/she works and how comfortable you are talking with him/her. Ask about the therapist’s years of experience. How many years has this person practiced as a psychiatrist, psychologist, clinical social worker or other kind of mental health professional? Are they licensed in the state in which they practice? Ask about the therapist’s trauma training. What specific training and/or supervision has the therapist had in working clinically with abuse survivors? Until the 1980s, there was little formal training available in trauma. Since then, many academic programs and postgraduate institutes have added trauma courses. Other therapists have sought out seminars, conferences and supervision with clinicians more experienced with sexual abuse survivors.



Personal therapy:

Most clinicians feel it is imperative to have gone through their own therapy before or during their professional careers. Some postgraduate programs require that the therapist be in treatment during training. Some people disagree with me, but I think it is a fair question to ask a potential therapist if they themselves ever have been in treatment. It is not fair to expect the therapist to talk about how long they were in therapy or for what reasons. Most therapists also will not say if they themselves were abused, at least until well into treatment, if at all, and this is appropriate boundary setting.


Approach to therapy:

This can be a little tough to answer, but you can ask a therapist how they generally work. What do they think is important in therapy: changing behaviors, changing beliefs, identifying how past relationships continue to be played out unconsciously in the present? Are they active therapists who engage in a “conversation” or are they quieter, speaking mostly to make interpretations? There are no right or wrong answers here, but the responses help you get a feel for what it might be like to work with this person.


Therapeutic frame:

What is the therapist’s cancellation policy? It is not unusual for a therapist to charge for missed sessions depending on the circumstances, and insurance cannot be billed for those sessions. What is the person’s policy regarding between-session contact if you are having a difficult time? Is the therapist available for more than one session per week if you need it? What is the fee, and how does the therapist expect to be paid? For instance, some therapists collect only the copay from insured patients and wait for insurance to pay them the rest. Others want to be paid in full and let you collect the insured portion of the fee. Again, there is no right or wrong, but it’s good to know ahead of time.


Psychiatric referrals:

Does the therapist work with a psychiatrist who is also knowledgeable about trauma and to whom the therapist can refer you if medication is needed? Don’t be surprised if it is needed. Many survivors of sexual abuse greatly profit from antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents or mood stabilizers for various periods. One has to suffer to recover but not beyond what is necessary to do the work of therapy. Medication often allows someone to make better use of treatment and recover more quickly. We know now that trauma affects the brain, not just the psyche. The new medications help a lot.


Limits of confidentiality:

Review the limits of confidentiality with your potential therapist. All therapists will break confidentiality if you are a lethal threat to yourself or someone else. In those cases, the therapist must do everything possible to protect your life and/or the life of another person. If you tell the therapist that a child is being abused, by you or by anyone else, he/she must report it. If you are in litigation, you should know that your therapist’s records and/or sworn testimony legally can be subpoenaed. The therapist can argue client privilege, but if ordered by a judge to comply with the subpoena, she/he can be held in contempt of court for not going along. Beyond those limitations, the contents of your sessions and any other information about you should be held in confidentiality by therapist. In no cases, beyond these mentioned, should a therapist share information about you or your treatment without your written and very specific permission.




If any Comboni Survivor recognises the impacts of adverse childhood experiences in this series of articles and feels that he needs professional assistance, then they may contact Mark Murray on this site who will strive to assist by suggesting appropriate counselling services. Alternatively, Survivors of childhood abuse in the United Kingdom can seek the assistance of their local General Practitioner Doctor who will be able to refer them to an appropriate specialist. The following Organisations within Great Britain welcome contacts from all those in need of help to overcome the impacts of many forms of abuse and neglect. This site makes no specific recommendation, but persons seeking help are advised (without any liability of this site) to consider contacting any of the following organisations as appropriate to their needs:


Reporting Abuse as a first Responder in the United Kingdom – always call the Police on the 999 emergency Police number or the 101 non-emergency Police number.


Alcoholics Anonymous (GB) : help@alcoholics-anonymous,org.uk or Tel 0800 9177 650


UK National Drugs Helpline: 0800 77 66 00


Drug Wise: Twitter @DrugWise UK, or Tel 077121 52 99 36, or harry@drugwisw.org.uk


Drug Rehabilitation: info@openmindsrehab.com or Tel 01978 312 120 (daytime) or 07736 248 851 (nights)


Narcotics Anonymous UK helpline: 0300 999 1212


Lifeline heloline: 0161 839 2054


NSPCC – Action for Children: Help@nspcc.org.uk


NSPCC – Adult Callers: 0808 800 5000, Childline 0800 1111


National Helpline: help@stopitnow.org.uk or Tel 0808 1000 900


NAPAC Supporting Recovery from Childhood Abuse: info@napac.org.uk


  Survivors Trust : 0808 801 0818


National Suicide Prevention Samaritans UK & ROI  Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate) Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom) Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate) Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom) Website: samaritans.org E-mail Helpline: jo@samaritans.org


Survivors UK, Unit 1, Queen Anne Terrace, Sovereign Court, The Highway, London E1W 3HH: info@survivorsuk.org



Rape Crisis England and Wales: rcewinfo@rapecrisis.org.uk


Mind – the Mental Health Charity for those who have suffered Sexual Abuse:

Adult Helpline 0844 847 7879, Parent and child helpline 1800 155 1800


Bishops’ Conference of Scotland Catholic Safeguarding Organisation: tcampbell@scottishcatholicsafeguarding.org.uk



National Office for Safeguarding children in the Catholic Church in Ireland, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare: ann.doyle@safeguarding.ie and teresa.devlin@safeguarding.ie



Safeguarding Board for Northern Ireland: sbnisupport@hscni.net



Tusla – Child and Family Agency, Brunel Building, Heuston South Quarter, Dublin, Republic of Ireland: info@tusla.ie



The Church’s Child Protection Advisory Service: info@ccpas.co.uk



Terence McKiernan, Bishop Accountability Organisation: terry@bishop-accountability.org and ann@bishop-accountability.org


United Kingdom Childrens’ Helplines  There-4-Me Childline UK – 0800 1111 Muslim Youth Helpline – 0808 808 2008 Childline Scotland – 0800 44 1111 NSPCC: English – 0808 800 5000 Welsh – 0808 100 2524 Bengali – 0800 096 7714 Gujurati – 0800 096 7715 Hindi – 0800 096 7716 Punjabi – 0800 096 7717 Urdu – 0800 096 7718  Breathing Space – 0800 838587 Connexions – 080 800 13 2 19 Brimingham Space – 0800 072 5070  Samaritans – 08457 90 90 90 Runaway Helpline – 0808 800 70 70 Careline – 0181 514 1177 Youth 2 Youth – 020 8896 3675 Girls Space – 0800 072 5070 Get Connected – 0800 808 4994 Support Line – 020 8554 9004 Muslim Youth Helpline – 0808 808 2008


Survivors of sexual abuse living in the United States of America and Canada are advised, (without any liability of this site), to consider making contact with the following help organisations and professionals who are able to assist…..


Alcoholism: Alcoholics Anonymous meetings exist throughout the world and the doors are always open to newcomers. Start here to find a meeting in your area: www.aa.org/pages/en_US/find-local-aa. Once you get comfortable, look for a sponsor who honors your trauma background. If you are the loved one of an alcoholic, start here to find local Al-Anon or Alateen meetings: al-anon.org/find-a-meeting.


Other substance abuse: Narcotics Anonymous meetings also are held in many places. Start here to find a meeting: www.na.org/meetingsearch.


Childhelp: A resource about child abuse and neglect for kids, parents and teachers is at www.childhelp.org.


International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation: a resource for professionals and the public. Its website includes a “find a therapist” link here: www.isst-d.org/default.asp?contentID=18.


International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies: Though primarily a resource for professionals, it does offer a “Find a Clinician” link at www.istss.org/find-a-clinician.aspx.


MaleSurvivor.org: This is, in my opinion, the best resource available for male sexual abuse survivors. It is directed by clinicians, survivors, academics, researchers and advocates who serve for limited terms. MaleSurvivor.org offers recovery weekends, a great reading list, resources for finding a therapist, safe chat rooms for survivors, and more.


Mental Health America: an advocacy and support agency with local affiliates all over the country (www.mentalhealthamerica.net). It offers a wealth of information about mental health issues and can help you find local affiliates and other mental health resources. They also have online mental health screenings that help individuals and loved ones get a sense of what mental health issue they may be confronting.


National Center on Elder Abuse: As more people are living longer, elder abuse is becoming a greater national problem. This group (www.ncea.aoa.gov) has online resources about elder abuse. Their elder care locator will help you find the local agency to whom to report elder abuse: eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx or 800-677-1116.


National Domestic Violence Hotline: Resources for survivors and individuals in current domestic violence situations, including abusers: 800-799-SAFE, or www.thehotline.org.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: A 24/7 resource for anyone thinking about suicide and for friends and relatives concerned about a loved one: 800-273-TALK, or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.


RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network): RAINN is a good resource for those who have been sexually assaulted as adults or as young people: rainn.org/get-information.

Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute: Sidran’s website offers a host of information for survivors and for loved ones (www.sidran.org/resources/for-survivors-and-loved-ones), an extensive reading list (www.sidran.org/resources/essential-readings-in-trauma) and links to many other resources (www.sidran.org/resources/links).


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests: SNAP (www.snapnetwork.org) is an effective social justice advocacy organization that works to prevent child sexual abuse, especially by clergy.


SNAP Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, PO Box 6416, Chicago, IL 60680-6416: davidgclohessy@gmail.com



SNAP USA: snap.dorris@gmail.com and bdorris@SNAPnetwork.org


Terence McKiernan, Bishop Accountability Organisation: terry@bishop-accountability.org and ann@bishop-accountability.org


Voice of the Faithul, Boston USA: office@votf.org


United States of America Childrens’ Helplines: National Runaway Switchboard– 1-800-621-4000, Childhelp USA – 1800 422 4453, Covenant House – 1800 999 9999



List of International Helplines for our Worldwide Readers



Albania Child Helpline- +355 4 2308 20

CISMAI Italian Network of Agencies against Child Abuse: segreteria@cismai.org

Save the Children Italy: info@savethechildrenitaly and info@crin.org

Save the Children –Brussels, Geneva & Addis Ababa advocacy offices: info@savethechildren.be, geneva.info@savethechildren.org and fwandabwa@savechildren.org

CBM Christian Child Protection: contact@cbm.org and press-international@cbm.org

GESPCAN German Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect: library@nationalcac.org


ISPCAN The International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect: ispcan@ispcan.org

Austria Telefonhilfe fur Kinder und Jugendliche – 147

Belgium Kinder- en Jongerentelefoon Vlaanderen VZW – 0800 15 111 ChildFocus – 110, Ecoute Enfants – 103 Bosnia and Herzegovina  Udruzenje roditelja tesko bolesne djece u BiH CLL line – 00387 65 341 298  

Bulgaria National Hotline for Children  – +359 2 981 93 00 

Croatia Hrabri telefon (Brave Phone)– 0800 0800

Cyprus Hotline for missing children – 116 000

Czech Republic The Safety Line – 800 155 555

Denmark BørneTelefonen (Children phone) – 35 55 55 55

Estonia Patient groups – 126., AIDS helpline – 645 5555, NGO Lifeline – CONFIDENCE WHEN LIFE TÜDINUILE – 655 8088 or 1707, “Psychology Crisis intervention” NGO Lifeline (Prof. Psychologists) – 631 4300, YOUNG LINE CHAT – 646 1111, Tallinn Family Centre -6556 088 Finland, Child and Youth Phone – 0800 120400

France, Allo Enfance Maltraitee  – 119

Germany, Kinder- und Jugendtelefon Nummer ggen Kummer e.V.  – 0800 111 0333 Greece, Hamogelo – 1056

Hungary, Kek Vonal – 06 80 505 000

Iceland, RedCross– 1717

Ireland, Child Line – 1800 666 666 Italy, SOS il Telefono Azzurro-19696

Latvia, Child Helpline – 800 9000 or 116111

Lithuania, Childline  8 800 11111

Luxembourg, 12345 Kanner- Jugendtelefon – 12345

Macedonia, SOS Helpline for Children and Youth – +389 2246 6588

Malta, Supportline – 179 

Netherlands, Landelijk Overleg Kindertelefoon – 0800 0432

Norway, Røde Kors telefonen for barn og ungdom (Red Cross Helpline) – 0800 33 321

Poland, Helpline.org.pl – 800 100 100

Portugal, SOS Criança– 27 793 16 17 / 800 20 26 51

Spain, Fundación ANAR – 900 20 20 10 Sweden, BRIS – 0200 230 230 Switzerland, 147 Telephonhilfe fur Kinder und Jugendliche – 147

Serbia, NAcionalna DEcija Linija- NADEL Srbija – 0800123456

Slovakia Linka detskej istoty: 1116 111, www.ldi.sk (child helpline) Hľadané deti: 116 000 (missing and sexually abused children)

Slovenia, Tom National Telephone Network – 080 1234 Turkey, ALO – 183 Ukraine, The Odessa Samaritans Peer Line – 482 221 744

Asian Continent

Armenia Child Protection Hotline – +3741240150 or 240160

Azerbaijan ETIMAD Sumgayit – 23131

Belarus Smorgon Information Centre on children rights education/SICCRE  – +375 1592 33 129

National helpline for domestic violence victims – 8-801-100-8-801

Brunei Helpline Kebajikan – 141  or+673 238 0664;+673 238 0667;+673 238 0668 

Hong Kong, Against Child Abuse Hotline – +852-27551122

Iran, The Helping voice – +98-21-850 1414 or +98-21-850 1415

Kazakhstan, Child Helpline – 150

Korea, South, Hot Line 1391 / Rescue Line for Children – 1577 or 1391, Youth Hotline – 1388 

Mongolia, Friends 1979 – 1979

Nepal, Child Workers in Nepal – 427 1000 Pakistan, Madadgaar Children and Women Help Line – 111 911 922

Russia, Hotline for Children, Teenagers and Parents (Magadan) – +7 41322 20878, Moscow Childline – +7 095 735 8484, Teenage social-psychological support (Tomsk) – +7 83822 244442


SE Asia & Asia Pacific Region


National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Australia: contact@napcan.org.au., SNAP Australia: snapspaner@gmail.com, Australia Kids Help Line  +61 7 1800 55 1800


New Zealand Safeguarding Organisation: admin@safeguardingchildren.org.nz

New Zealand, The Kids Help Foundation Trust   0800 942 8787, Youthline Charitable Trust   0800 376 633, Kidsline – 0800 543 754


India, Childline India Foundation -1098

Indonesia, TESA – 129 

Japan Childline Support Center Japan (NPO) – 0120-99-7777

Philippines, Bantay Bata 163 – 163

Philippines Save the Children: Address: Supporter Care team Midland Building, 1040 EDSA, Magallanes Village, Makati City 1232 Call us: Please call (02) 851-3702 or (02) 853-2142, Fax us: Send us a fax on (02) 853-0215

For volunteer and internship:Volunteer.PH@savethechildren.org

Singapore, Tinkle Friend – 1800 2744 788

T’ai-wan, 113 woman and children protection helpline– 113

Thailand, Saidek – 1387

Vietnam, Childline – 1800 1567



Near East and Africa


SASPCAN South African Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect: admin@childlinesa.org.za

ANPPCAN African Network for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (Uganda & Ethiopia) regional@anppcan.org

Enfants Solidaires d’Afrique et du Monde: info@esamsolidarity.org

Botswana, Childline Botswana- 0800 3900 900

Egypt Hotline for Children – 16000

Gambia 199 Helpline – 199

Israel, L.O./Combat violence against women – 09952 8927 Jordan, 110 for Families and Children – 110

Kenya, Chidline- 116

Namibia, Lifeline/Childline Namibia – 926461226894

Nigeria, Human Development Initiatives – 0806 353 1872

Palestine, Sawa Child Protection Helpline – 121 

South Africa, Childline SouthAfrica – 08000 55555 Senegal, Centre GINDDI – 800 88 88

Uganda, 0800 111 222

 Zimbabwe, Childline – 961

Yemen, YMHA – 236622


Caribbean, Central and South America


Antigua & Barbuda Friends Hotline Antigua and Barbuda – 800 4357

Argentina 102 Childhelpline – 102

Brasil TECA – +55 21 2589 5656, 123Alô! – +55 21 2197-1500 

Chile Fono Infancia – 800 200 818

Colombia Telefono Amigo – 106

Costa Rica LÃnea Cuenta Conmigo– +506 800 2244-911 Dominican Republic Linea Telefonica para Auxilio – 538-6151

Jamaica, Friends Hotline – +1-888-991-4505 or 977 5754 Mexico, Acercatel – 01800 110 10 10

Panama, Tu Linea – 147

Paraguay, FONO Ayuda – 559 200 or 147 Peru, Fundación ANAR – +51 0800 22210 Trinidad & Tobago, Childline – 800 4321 ot 131

Uruguay, Linea Azul Servicio Telefónico – 800 50 50



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