Archive for April 18th, 2008

Man behind desk (c) Lynda BernhardtIf you were abused as a child, then you need therapy. Even if the child abuse only happened one time, just that one time did a lot of emotional damage that is difficult to heal on your own.

I did not want to enter into therapy when I started having flashbacks. I was in the process of seeking to adopt a second child. I feared that entering therapy would end the possibility of adopting again. (I was wrong. As long as a therapist assures the social worker that your reason for seeking therapy will not affect your ability to parent a child, then being in therapy will not prevent you from adopting a child.)

I chose not to enter therapy. I thought I could handle it all myself. I couldn’t. The information from the flashbacks was bad enough, but the emotions that came with them were more than I could handle on my own. I did not know what to do with them. I feared that I was going crazy, and I had no one to tell me otherwise.

Choosing to enter into therapy was hard for me, but I did it. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had a professional reassuring me that I was not crazy. I also had someone who understood what I was going through and who could guide me through the maze of healing. My therapist was always one step ahead of me, always encouraging me to follow where my intuition led me and cheering me on along the way.

I learned that the healing work happened between sessions. Yes, we talked about things during the sessions, but it was mostly what had happened since the last time and what might be around the corner. Therapy sessions were checkpoints. I was doing the work at home.

My therapist did not try to get me dependent upon him. I saw him weekly for the first six months. Then, as the intensity of my healing slowed, he suggested every other week, and I was fine. Two years into therapy, he suggested monthly sessions, and I was fine. That moved into every few months until I ended therapy, with the understanding that I could come back at any time. I took him up on that offer two or three times and now have not been back in a couple of years.

Many people fear therapists, but there really is nothing to fear. Just make sure you get a referral, and walk away if your therapist makes you uncomfortable. You need to feel comfortable with your therapist to make progress.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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