This is my experience and opinion only. This should not be seen as advice, only what I feel has been helpful for my healing.
I will admit that I didn’t consider what I needed in a counselor before I went looking for one. I had no idea what would help me. How to get over trauma. It is only by the grace of God that I ended up with one that knows how to help me recover.
What I have learned from my experiences is that the first few counselors, or therapists, I sought out did not have the training to help me. They also didn’t have the ability to help me work through what I needed because they had their own issues they let interfere.
My first counselor let me go after I tried to commit suicide the first time. She told me I was too complicated for her to help and she gave me the number of my now current counselor.
However, since he’s a man I didn’t want to see him. I had no idea how I could trust a man with details of what had happened to me. Let alone feel safe in a session with him.
So, I sought out another women counselor. My first counselor was a Christian, but I didn’t keep the standard for my next ones. I just wanted someone to help me. I didn’t know that the best counselor for me needed to help me heal emotionally and spiritually. They really go hand in hand.
My second counselor refused to help me work through any sexual abuse or rape because she said I just needed to forget it and move on. That was the entire reason I needed help so I couldn’t forget it. I left our last session in anger and cried for a really long time. I had no idea how I was going to get the help I needed if no one would help me work through my past.
The third counselor I saw would only talk about what was going on with me at work. If I brought up anything else she simply redirected the conversation to what she was comfortable with.
I had become more suicidal, mainly because I had all these memories and flashbacks coming at me and no one helped me know how to deal with them.
My third counselor threatened to put me in a group home. I was still teaching full-time, living my life, and she thought I was beyond help enough she wanted to place me permanently with people who couldn’t take care of themselves rather than go too deep places with me.
During the hospital stay after she threatened this I pulled out the number to my now current therapist and out of desperation made a call to him.
I saw him first in January 2010. Many of the next years were spent on medication and I don’t remember a lot of what happened, but he was supportive of what I was going through. He went to the hard places with me. He let me talk about what had happened to me and share the memories and flashbacks coming up.
It took me several years to get stable and then work off medication so I could think clearly. I could not process events that happened to me while on medication. They literally blocked part of my brain from being able to connect well.
Once off the medication the past couple of years I am more aware of my sessions and can take in what’s going on. My therapist encourages me spiritually and emotionally. He has dealt with his own issues in life so he is able to go to painful places with me. He doesn’t share what he’s been through, but I am aware he can’t help me without first working on himself.
He is kind, patient, understanding, and really shows me Jesus in how he helps me. He treats me as Jesus would treat someone. It helps me understand God in a whole new light.
He has also received extensive training in helping trauma patients, so he’s certified in EMDR, sensorimotor therapy and havening. All of these help process through trauma.
My therapist puts my needs first and is able to assess what I need for a session. I have a long way to go as I’ve just begun processing events that happened to me, but I am thankful I have someone who knows what I need now.
I am also comfortable with him. I do not feel threatened and we have built a trust that allows me to share what I need to without judgment; which is also important to healing.
I hope you can find a counselor, therapist, who is willing to work with you through trauma. Someone with training and who is willing to go to dark, painful places so you have the opportunity to heal. I would encourage a Christian as well, because we need healing emotionally and spiritually and they don’t really separate. I hope and pray you are able to find someone to walk with you as you recover.
(C) 2019 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.