How Online Therapy Can Help With Understanding Emotional Abuse

Emotional Abuse

A Therapist’s Perspective

As a therapist specialising in emotional abuse, I have seen firsthand how deeply it can affect individuals. Recognising the patterns is crucial, but understanding and healing from them require professional support – support that is increasingly accessible through online therapy.

What is Emotional Abuse?

Emotional abuse is a form of abuse that involves the consistent use of words, actions, and other behaviours to manipulate, control, or criticise another person. Unlike physical abuse, which is marked by visible injuries and violence, emotional abuse is often more insidious and can be harder to recognise. It typically includes:

  1. Verbal Abuse: This includes yelling, insults, name-calling, constant criticism, and belittling comments. The abuser uses language as a tool to degrade and demean the victim.
  2. Manipulation: The abuser often uses manipulative tactics to control the victim. This can include gaslighting, where the abuser denies events or reality to make the victim doubt their own memory or sanity.
  3. Intimidation and Threats: Using threatening behaviour to instil fear or making threats about self-harm, harm to others, or the ending of a relationship.
  4. Isolation: Keeping the victim away from friends, family, and support systems, thereby making them more dependent on the abuser.
  5. Humiliation: Public or private acts designed to make the victim feel ashamed, embarrassed, or worthless.
  6. Emotional Blackmail: Using guilt, sympathy, or emotional neediness to control the victim.
  7. Controlling Behaviour: Dictating what the victim can and cannot do, who they can see, what they can wear, and other aspects of their daily life.
  8. Withholding Affection or Approval: Using affection, love, or approval as a tool for manipulation.

Emotional abuse can occur in any relationship, including between intimate partners, family members, colleagues, and friends. It can have long-lasting psychological effects, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and difficulties in forming healthy relationships. Recognising emotional abuse is the first step towards seeking help and healing.

What Are the Underlying Causes of Emotional Abuse – From a Therapist Perspective

From a therapist’s perspective, the underlying causes of emotional abuse can be complex and varied. They often stem from a combination of individual, relational, and possibly societal factors:

  1. Power and Control: A fundamental cause of emotional abuse is the abuser’s desire for power and control over another person. This need often stems from deep-seated insecurity or a desire to dominate.
  2. Learned Behaviour: Abusers may have learned abusive behaviours from their family or environment. If someone grows up witnessing emotional abuse, they might come to view it as a normal or effective way to exert control in relationships.
  3. Psychological Issues: Certain mental health issues, such as personality disorders (like narcissism or borderline personality disorder), can contribute to abusive behaviours. These conditions might impair an individual’s empathy, self-esteem, and impulse control, leading to emotionally abusive behaviour.
  4. Cultural and Societal Influences: Societal norms and cultural beliefs that promote power imbalances in relationships, gender stereotypes, or the devaluation of certain groups can play a role in fostering emotional abuse.
  5. Stress and External Pressures: Sometimes, external factors such as financial stress, job loss, or societal pressures can contribute to an individual’s abusive behaviour. While these factors do not excuse abuse, they can exacerbate underlying tendencies.
  6. Personal Trauma or Abuse History: Individuals who have experienced trauma or abuse themselves may sometimes perpetuate a cycle of abuse in their relationships.
  7. Communication Deficits: Some abusers may not have learned healthy ways to communicate or handle conflicts and might resort to manipulation or aggression instead.
  8. Substance Abuse: While not a direct cause, substance abuse can aggravate abusive tendencies, reducing inhibitions and impairing judgment.

It’s important to note that while these factors can contribute to abusive behaviour, they do not excuse it. Understanding these underlying causes is crucial for therapists to address and treat emotional abuse in relationships effectively.

The Role of Online Therapy in Addressing Emotional Abuse

Online therapy offers a unique and practical approach to dealing with the aftermath of emotional abuse. The benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy online, for instance, are immense. 

As a therapist, I use this approach to help clients identify and challenge negative thought patterns, a common consequence of enduring emotional abuse. This online mental health counselling method is instrumental in rebuilding self-esteem and reshaping clients’ outlooks on life.

Affordable online therapy has made these invaluable services more accessible. Online relationship counselling, for instance, provides targeted support for those experiencing emotional abuse within intimate relationships. 

Similarly, online counselling for depression and online psychological counselling addresses the broader emotional and mental health challenges that often accompany abuse.

Specific Therapies and Their Benefits

  1. Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT): In online sessions, we work together to break the cycle of negative thinking, a typical fallout of emotional abuse. CBT is a cornerstone in online therapy for depression, helping clients to develop healthier coping mechanisms.
  2. Somatic Therapy: This therapy, which is also offered online, focuses on the mind-body connection, using techniques like yoga and meditation. It’s particularly effective for those whose emotional abuse has manifested in physical symptoms.
  3. Online Family and Couples Therapy: Emotional abuse can strain family and romantic relationships. We address these complex dynamics through online family counselling and couples therapy, promoting healing and understanding within these vital relationships.

Accessibility and Convenience of Online Therapy

The rise of online therapy has revolutionised access to mental health support. Platforms offering online therapy London-wide or in specific areas like West London have made it easier for clients to receive help regardless of location. Online counselling services provide flexibility and a sense of safety that might not always be feasible with in-person sessions.

From a therapist’s standpoint, the most significant advantage of online therapy is its ability to offer continuous support. Regular interaction with clients via platforms – considered some of the best online therapy platforms – allows for a more tailored and responsive approach to therapy.

In Conclusion

Emotional abuse, often misunderstood and difficult to recognise, requires a supportive and respectful approach to recovery. Online therapy services, including online counselling UK-wide, offer a practical, effective way to manage trauma, reduce anxiety and depression, and learn coping mechanisms. As a therapist, I advocate for online therapy as it provides a crucial step towards a healthier, happier self, empowering individuals to overcome the challenges of emotional abuse.

I you wish to discuss anything you have read here, please contact me.

Richard Gosling


Phone: 0208 5637 092

Richard Gosling
5 Blades Court, 16 Lower Mall
W6 9DJ
Phone: 0208 5637 092