2018 Therapy Survey

An overview of results from the 2018 survivor survey on therapy.


In 2018, The Morris Center administered an online survey on therapy to 621 survivors. The purpose was to determine:

  1. had therapy been effective for survivors, and
  2. could The Morris Center improve that experience.

This page provides a very brief summary of the findings.


Figure 1. Issues motivating survivors to see a therapist (click arrows ↕ to sort)
Issue Portion
Anxiety 78%  
Depression 78%  
Child abuse related issues 68%  
Relationship issues 61%  
Flashbacks 52%  
Panic attacks 43%  
Suicidal thoughts or attempts 41%  
Insomnia 34%  
Anger issues 31%  
Work issues 25%  
Night terrors 24%  
Parenting issues 23%  
Self-harm 23%  
Eating disorders 20%  
Substance/alcohol abuse 15%  
Prefer not to say 2%  
Figure 2. Reasons survivors changed therapists (click arrows ↕ to sort)
Reason Portion
I didn’t connect (‘click’) with my therapist 50%  
My therapist didn’t have training to help me with my needs 46%  
I was not progressing 40%  
My therapist became unavailable 39%  
My therapist responded inappropriately 25%  
My health insurance changed 23%  
Figure 3. Number of different therapists seen

52% of the respondents had seen many different therapists:

  • 29% had seen 3–4
  • 23% had seen 5–7

What survivors want

For survivors, simply “being believed” and the “therapist is an adult survivor of child abuse" has great appeal. Almost 60% agree that therapy would be more helpful if the therapist is trained specifically in child abuse issues, and the majority agree that the most effective therapists are good listeners, empathetic, and able to teach coping skills.

Most “agree” or “strongly agree” that therapy is more effective when undertaken in conjunction with the ASCA program. Many therapists rated in the survey hadn’t mentioned ASCA, apparently unaware of it.

Many respondents would like The Morris Center to offer training or educational materials to therapists or both. Other respondents said they want The Morris Center to help members choose a qualified therapist. To help, we wrote and published the Resource Guide for ASCA Members Searching for a Therapist.

A significant number of survivors would like to see more ASCA meetings along with additional types of support, such as an online chat group or a crisis hotline.

About the survey


  • 501 respondents came from the ASCA community, including newsletter readers, website users, and ASCA meet-up and co-facilitator groups.
  • 120 came from 1) The National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse and 2) The E. Diane Champe Institute.


The first published overview of the survey results appeared in the November, 2018 issue (pdf) of Uplift, which is available in the archive.