“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.” Isaiah 41:13
You were the fourth therapist I saw. My second to last therapist said she could no longer help me, because my case was too complicated. Because I was suicidal she didn’t want the risk of having me as a client. She gave me the number of a trauma therapist, but he was a man. I didn’t want to see a man.
Then I saw a lady at a special center which teaches Dialectical Behavioral Skills (DBT). After several sessions, I asked her when were we going to talk about what happened to me, the sexual abuse. She said, “We aren’t going to. You need to put that behind you and move on. It’s in the past.”
I told her I couldn’t do that, and she yelled at me. I never went back. Then I saw you. We worked together for months, but you always focused on my job and how you could fix it. Every time I brought up wanting to work on my abuse, you dodged it and then we were out of time.
Sexual abuse and assault survivors need to process through their trauma. It is the only way for us to fully heal from what happened to us. The next time someone like me comes to see you please refer them to a trauma therapist, or gain training needed to help them.
Most of all always have a smile for your client. It may be the only one they see that day. Show them compassion for what they have been through, verify it. If they want to talk about being sexually abused and assaulted let them, and assure them it was not their fault. Listen. Affirm. Care. Those three things are crucial.
I want to thank you for one thing which made the difference in my recovery. Because I left seeing you I made the call to the male trauma therapist to get help. It was the best decision I ever made. Now I am receiving the help I need.
However, I know you have it in you too. You have picked a profession which can greatly help those in desperate need to help. I know with the right training you will be able to provide the assistance needed to your next client who comes to you with a background similar to mine.
Your Former Client,
Have you had a bad experience with a therapist? Try writing to the person who hurt you. Again, a tape recorder on your phone can work well too. Don’t hold back your emotions. Let them out.
Then, after rereading your letter and days or weeks later, try rewriting the letter like I have done here. See how your perspective might change. I realize it takes time to heal and change, and I have people whose letters are not changing yet too, so don’t be discouraged.
© 2018 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.