The last three weeks since my sexual abuse therapist came back from leave have been amazing. I thought I might find it difficult to get going during the first session because it had been a three week break and I anticipated I’d feel awkward and stilted. I was a little awkward and stilted for the first 15 minutes and then we broke off from catching up and talked about day and times for the next two sessions.
That few minutes focusing on such a mundane issue seemed to break through my awkwardness and caution and when we began to talk on how I’d been and how I’d coped and dealt with all that had happened in her absence I was talking much easier and more freely. I was really surprised.
I think I’m at a place where I trust her around 85% which is amazing and incredible. I’ve only been working with her since November. So just six months in I know as I know, as I know, that she is safe and I am safe with her. She is really good at putting me at my ease. Everything she does and says is stuff which shows enormous respect towards me.
In the first session back I was able to discuss with her stuff being triggered and stirred up by the impending change of CPN. We looked at how I deal with change and other traumatic events. She explained to me how trauma changes the way your brain develops which underpins and informs my current ways of coping and dealing with changes and other traumatic events in my life.
There was a flip chart in the room which I utilised. I wrote in the centre of the paper “Traumatic events”. Around that word I wrote several words describing feelings, processes and emotions I experience at such times. Above it I wrote several statements my abusers used towards me during traumatic events and times of change. From that I was able to see the effect of that brain-washing on my mental and emotional processes today. Underneath I wrote some of the things I’m learning about myself during my healing journey which help negate some of those early negative traumatising statements.
My therapist commented that one day she’d love me to write that bottom statement in massive writing across a huge sheet of paper. It was a very powerful piece of work indeed.
The following week I talked more in depth about my thoughts and feelings concerning the change from Kathy, my CPN to a new one. My therapist asked me if I wanted to do anything practical and I said I wanted to do some painting.
When I paint I have no idea what I’m going to paint just that I need to and that was the case this time.
I painted two paintings. One of them symbolised my hurt core and the other one my abandoned core. Those are the two main areas being affected by the impending changes.
In my work with my sexual abuse therapist I’ve always felt like she really respects me. I’ve had to overcome my fear of my efforts at painting being belittled and put down because although I’m creative I’m no artist and I was terribly belittled in childhood and wasn’t allowed free expression of myself creatively.
But I’ve discovered that my therapist respects and honours my painting and understands the processes I’m going through as I paint. She frequently reminds me that it’s not about being able to draw but just about expressing things that cannot be expressed verbally.
I take photos of the paintings and other things I do as a record. That enables it all to be accurately dated. I’m sure it will be really useful to look back on.
Last week we began the session looking at the paintings I did the previous week. We discussed what each painting was about, the emotions, memories and thoughts. The discussion took us to some very deep places and I surprised myself at how freely, candidly and honestly I shared deep painful stuff. It was a very powerful session.
My relationship with my sexual abuse therapist is very therapeutic and healing. It is releasing me to be ‘me’ in a very real deep way. She is also helping me understand and accept myself better as well as bringing soothing and healing deeply wounded traumatised parts of me.
The work we are doing is slow and gradual. She anticipates working with me for at least another two to three years until I can take part in group therapy before returning to her afterwards to carry on the one-to-one therapy.
The changes I see in me already are huge. I’ve come a long way to trust her and feel safe with her to the extent that I do. At the same time I know we have barely started. But the work we are doing is giving me hope.