Guest Author - Marisa Seale
In this article I want to address the importance of choosing the right therapist.
Adult and children survivors of abuse are sometimes so tired of conventional therapy where they have to re-live the abuse repeatedly by talking about it in order to be assisted in healing themselves. Frequently they may even have to go to many therapists before finding one they are comfortable with and who can help them on their healing journey.
Not all therapists are sympathetic or know how to treat abused people. Some therapists may even cause secondary trauma. A woman once shared this with me: she said the first therapist she saw after years of being too scared to see anyone told her that she was the one with a problem as she had experienced a physical reaction to being physically stimulated by her abuser. She was 3 years old at the time.
Therapists experienced in abuse will know that some children experience physical reaction during abuse. It is not because they enjoy being abused, but because physically; their bodies may react to physical stimulation by the abuser. This is not the case for everyone that has been abused.
The ideal would be a referral by someone that has experienced abuse and found a therapist that has been able to help her or him heal.
In the case of being blindly referred to a therapist, you can enquire from the receptionist whether the therapist has experience in abuse cases. If the answer is no, ask her to refer you to someone that does have experience as this is vital to your well being.
When you do find someone with experience; you can ask questions like:
1. How many years of experience does she have?
2. What types of abuse has she come across and does she specialize in any and if so which one?
3. Why did she choose this field?
4. Does she work with children and adults and which does she have more experience in?
5. Does she use alternative healing methods and what are they and why does she use them?
6. Ask her for referrals of past clients that you may contact. This may not always be possible due to confidentiality issues, but that must not stop you from asking for them.
Think what else is important for you to know before sharing information with her and write it down so as to remember to ask it of her. Get as much information as possible so that you can make an informed choice.
This may sound silly, but can cut many hurdles to your healing. It can save you time, money and spare you further trauma. Remember, this is about you and just because someone has a psychology degree, does not mean they are the right person for you, so clear up any issues before commencing with sessions.
I refer to the therapist as a she in the article, which brings us to another important issue. If you are a female child victim of abuse and have been abused by a man; itís best to see a woman therapist, even initially. The same goes for a male victim abused by a woman. See who you are comfortable with; if you are uncomfortable with someone, state so immediately and seek another therapist if the issues cannot be resolved. The last thing a victim needs is to be further victimized by a therapist.
This does not mean to hop from therapist to therapist because they bring up issues you may not want to deal with, but means that you have the right to protect yourself from further abuse; especially in the case of being in therapy, after all, this is the place where you bare it all to be able to heal yourself. This is the place where you are very vulnerable as you work through all the issues of the abuse you may have suffered and it may take years of therapy with this person. So be as sure as you can be.
I hope this makes you realize how important the right therapist is for you and how vital it is that they have the necessary experience to help you heal and that the few questions I have listed, will help you to do this.