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TherapistMarryAnn
TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5770
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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We recently found out that an 8 year old girl who was sexually

Resolved Question:

We recently found out that an 8 year old girl who was sexually abused for a period of about two years and has eating issues is attending a Bikram Yoga class (Hot Yoga). She has felt shame over the abuse. I am concerned this may place to much importance on body image, etc. Am I correct ? Is this appropriate for her ?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.

 

Has this girl received any kind of therapy?

 

How are you related to this girl? If you are not, have the parents been made aware of the situation?

 

Thank you,
Kate

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

She did attend therapy for about 1 year or so after the abuse was discovered with the same counselor and has seen several others on and off, but nothing regular in a while. She is 8 now, the abuse was discovered in 2008

 

I am a close friend of the families. Yes, her parents know.

 

Thank you.

 

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for the additional information.

 

I understand your concern. It is hard to balance knowing what is ok for this child and what may make her feel worse. How she reacted to the abuse is a big factor. If she is having body image problems and is self conscious, then any kind of focus on her looks may make her feel worse.

 

How you go about this depends very much on her reaction to the yoga. Does she want to participate? If so, then she should be fine. At her age, playing with her peers or siblings is the focus activity. A disciplined class such as yoga, particularly one that uses heat, may be overwhelming to her if she is not a willing participant. Unless there is a specific therapeutic use for the class, then she may benefit more from free play or an organized activity such as softball or swimming. This will allow her to explore her strengths and give her a sense of power physically.

 

As long as the focus is not on her changing or improving her body (such as being told she is too heavy for yoga or an emphasis put on her trouble with body movements), she should be fine with anything she chooses to do. Here is a link to help you and her family learn the warning signs if she should develop body image issues:

 

http://children.webmd.com/features/eating-disorders-children-teens

 

Let me know if you have any more questions or want clarification,

 

Kate

 

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