I had an experience the other day that reminded me of why I do what I do, professionally speaking :). It was an opportunity to share my philosophy with others who work with trauma survivors. From the difficulties survivors experience to the incredible growth they are capable of. I left feeling re-energized and more dedicated to the clients I work with.
As I spoke about what drew me to this work and my approach to helping clients heal, I was reminded of the strength, courage, and resilience of childhood trauma survivors. I am truly amazed at your willingness and ability to heal.
The purpose of this post is to provide hope and give acknowledgment to those whose lives have been impacted by sexual abuse. Maybe a survivor, or someone who cares about, or is in, a relationship with someone who is a survivor. However, before I continue with that piece, it is important to have a basis for the reality of how many people are affected by sexual abuse.
Depending on where you find the statistics, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused before they reach the age of 18. Think about what that number really means. I’m sure each of you have at least 3 females, and very likely 5 males in your life. Which means you likely know at least 2 people who have been sexually abused. Maybe, one of those people is you.
The impact of childhood sexual abuse can be devastating to a person’s life. From the very moment the abuse occurres, the child’s reality is forever changed. The affects can range from low self-esteem to severe depression and suicidal behaviors (with many other affects and symptoms somewhere in the middle). It impacts intimate relationships and can change the direction of a child's life.
So, getting back to my increased dedication and feeling of being reenergized…. . When I left the meeting I found myself thinking about the clients I’ve had over the years who had the strength and courage to risk opening up to a stranger with the hope of “getting better”, even when they may not have had any idea what that even meant. For some, it was the first time they ever shared anything about their experience. For others, I was one, in a long list of people they’d shared with. For many of those, their previous experience of sharing was not particularly helpful. And yet, here they were, willing to try again. This, in and of itself, is pretty amazing.
As a therapist, there is nothing more gratifying than to see a client who has struggled with having any sense of who they really are to becoming the person they might have been. Well….at least not for me.
Thank you to all of you who have/are allowing me to be a part of your healing journey.