T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 36488
posted 01-25-2008 03:54 PM
A few days ago I went to see a therapist in training at a sexual assault centre here. My psychiatrist told me that she wasn't equipped to deal with sexual assault related problems and referred me to the centre. It didn't go very well, in my opinion. She seemed more nervous than I was and seemed to have trouble knowing what to say or ask. It felt awkward and uncomfortable. Needless to say, I didn't feel any better when I left. I felt worse.
Now, I know that I can call the centre and perhaps I will be able to see someone who is older or more experienced. (I don't mind seeing someone the same age as me but it seemed to throw her for a loop) But I'm beginning to wonder, what's the point? It seems as though everyone has been telling me that I need therapy to get through this. I haven't been able to find a helpful therapist to work with yet and it will probably take another two to four weeks to get referred to someone new. So can't I just do the work myself? Can't I just heal myself?
Member # 3
posted 01-25-2008 04:00 PM
You know, therapy and/or counseling is one thing that often helps people. Mind, it is typical to have to shop around a few times until you find the right therapist or counselor for you. That's a given no matter what someone's issue is.
One reason that tends to help with sexual abuse and rape is because talking is often so important to healing, due to how much rape and sexual abuse victims are silenced, and how much the world at large silences the whole issue. Must it be a therapist that you talk to? Nope. Must counseling be the meat of your healing? Nope. So, if you feel tired from trying two different therapists so far, and want a break, give yourself what you need. You can also spend that time to do the kind of healing and work you can go alone in that time. But eventually, you likely are going to want, or need, SOME way of healing and working things out that involves talking about all of this, talking out your feelings, talking out your rough spots. One thing you might ask the centre about is if they have peer support groups. Sometimes talking to other survivors, moderated with a counselor, works better for some folks than one-on-one therapy does.
Member # 36488
posted 01-25-2008 04:48 PM
Thanks for responding, Heather.
I agree with you that talking is often very important to healing. Talking about my feelings and frustrations with my partner and my close friends has been a big part of my healing process so far. Talking about the assault here as well has been helpful too. I think I'm feeling frustrated because I want so badly to be "better" but I'm anxious about relying on people I don't know. I don't want to have anxiety attacks when I'm walking home at night. I don't want to feel tense so much of the time. I'm also very angry about the effects this has had on my body image and sex life. Being able to talk about these things has been helpful - creates trust, makes me feel listened to and validated - but it doesn't stop them from happening. Sometimes I just want to be doing things I can feel - yoga or meditating. That way I feel as though I am getting better because I get scared that it won't.
Member # 36488
posted 01-25-2008 04:57 PM
Also, I will ask about the peer support group. That sounds as though it would be helpful. I'm also looking into therapy through my school.
Member # 3
posted 01-25-2008 05:14 PM
I know that it's so hard to deal with the fact that healing from assault often takes a really long time. Anyone who tells you they're better really fast, or that it isn't often a long, hard process is either being untruthful or is in denial. And yes: that seriously sucks.
It might also help to think of yourself, with things like therapy, not as being reliant on those people, but of those people as helpers for YOUR process, which is yours, which you own. You don't have to -- and obviously would want to avoid -- become codependent on anyone else to heal. As I suggested to you before, bodywork is absolutely one way to help with healing, and yoga can for sure be part of that. Meditation, too, is a great way to center your mind and to unionize your mind and body: good stuff for healing wounds. I'm of the mind that there's something of a vision-quest deal when it comes to healing from assault. In other words, it tends to be a pretty individual process, and there will be times we need one thing and times we need others. By all means, trust your instincts. If you want to ditch therapy for now, and focus on bodywork, go right ahead.
Member # 36725
posted 01-27-2008 06:02 PM
I think that something big to think about is that it is difficult a lot of times to rely on people that you don't know. Heather's right, it can take some time and a few tries to find the therapist/ counselor that's right for you. It's a big step to say that you want to talk - so you're on the right path. And you will find someone that you're comfortable with, even if it takes some time. If you're anxious walking home at night some things that may lesson that anxiety at least a bit are small steps in "self defence" techniques. For instance, on a key ring you can attach a small whistle with a high pitch frequency, or even a personal alarm (they're inexpensive and generally come in tones as up to as loud as a car alarm). If you have a cell phone, you could try calling a friend of family member to talk to you while you walk - walking with a friend is always a good idea as well. And it does get easier- even if you can't wipe it away. When you find a way that helps you to deal with/ through what happened you make steps towards this. I wish you all the best, and if you ever need to talk - there's always ears to listen. ~S
Member # 36749
posted 02-24-2008 01:20 PM
if you're in the UK you could talk to someone from a group called "Samaritans"
i've never spoken to them myself but i hear theyre like counselling
Member # 36488
posted 02-26-2008 02:52 PM
I just wanted to thank everyone for their advice. I've been having a hard couple weeks - lots of sifting through and experiencing intense emotion. Things are getting easier though. I did take a break from therapy and focused on just trying to feel things again / move my body.
Now I'm working with my psychiatrist on a biweekly basis. She's really great and understanding. We've started working with a book called "The Dialectical Behaviour Therapy Skills Workbook". It's very helpful so far and deals with a lot of assault related issues - emotional regulation, mindfulness (being present), creating boundaries, etc. I'm also slowly reading Healing Sex: A Mind-body Approach To Healing Sexual Trauma by Staci Haines. This has been a hard book to read at times but also incredibly useful. At times I feel as though the author and the women who are quoted are giving me hugs of support. That's how supportive the language is. If anyone here finds books as helpful to healing as I do, I highly recommend those two.