Survivor's Badge

Body Image Betrayal & Related Issues:

Body Image  Betrayal & Related Issues Logo:Designed By: Amy Medina: something-fishy.org

A Voice In The Darkness


THERAPY ABUSE: THE HIDDEN HORROR

The therapeutic relationship is one of the most "sacred" institutions in our culture today. It is in this place that we are encouraged to be vulnerable, to allow ourselves to feel emotions long buried and forgotten, and often times, relive some painful and violating past memories. In this relationship, a therapist can often times be looked upon with the same trust that a small child would place upon a parent, or an adult would place in a mentor/guide. S/He is the one who is counted upon to help us rebuild broken dreams and shattered souls. Yet, sometimes it is that very person who can violate us the most. When this happens, who do we look to for help, Where do we turn, how do we learn that we are not alone, and how do we heal?. Do we go to the libraries and look up information about what has happened to us? We can, but odds are the library shelves will be barren. For therapy abuse is a "silent topic", one rarely talked about and often swept under the carpet. For instance, try this simple task. Bookmark this page, then jump to your closest, most trusted Search Engine. Once your there, type in the words "Therapy Abuse" and note how many exact matches come up. Then, type in Abuse By Professionals and see how many responses you receive. Once you've done this, try a different approach. Type in the words "Abuse" and note the number of URL's that this search retrieves. Notice a difference? Remember that difference, and image how you would feel if you were a survivor of such betrayed trust.


BulletTHE PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION:

I have placed this special section here to help educate those about the value and trust that is involved in the therapy process, and how a violation of this relationship can effect the survivor. You see, I AM a survivor of therapy abuse. I know Never Forget Ribbon first hand how devastating it is to be abused by the one who was supposed to help me through an awful period in my life. I know the fear, the denial, and the coping behaviors that followed. Most of all, I know the shame and the secrecy. What I no longer wish to know, nor wish for anyone else to experience, is the SILENCE.


"Its hard for me to acknowledge that someone who was supposed to help me, hurt me. I want to say I'm bad if I think he did. I tried so hard not to cry, to be afraid, panic, fear the fear while he held me. It was like being held down while I was raped {which was why I was there in the first place}. I watched from a safe distance, like a movie happening to someone else. I pass over the fear and anger and confusion because it doesn't belong to me. It belongs to whoever watched the film take place. When they try to meet each other, I am lost and alone and it swallows me up. So I starve or purge it away. I push my body hard to punish it, to punish that one for not running away, for not telling sooner. For being afraid." - an excerpt from a journal entry I made in 1994.


BulletBREAKING THE SILENCE: WORDS ON THE WEB

Sun


NOTE: Therapy Abuse can manifest itself in many forms. They may include, but are not limited to: actual sexual contact with the client, frequent inappropriate jokes and or sexual comments from the therapist, encouraging dependence on the therapist, and emotional manipulation.


BulletWORDS TO LEARN BY: SUGGESTED READINGS

Sun


"All of us will take different paths in our healing process. The critical thing to remember as we travel, is that we do not travel alone." Words from a survivor


BulletCOUNTING THE COSTS: MY PERSONAL LOSSES

Sun


How could you do this to me. I came to you for help, not to be abused again. I came to you hoping to find peace from my nightmares, yet you only made them grow by leaps and bounds. You told me the rape was my fault, or perhaps I had simply misunderstood the events. You told me I was defective. Do you know how much I HATE that word?! Can you see me now? Can you see me sitting here alone in the dark, crying silent tears and trying so desperately to get out the ugliness you planted in me. Can you hear the words spinning in my head: 'defective...defective... DEFECTIVE' I won't let you break me. Do you hear? Your touch will not be the last thing I remember. Your words will not be the last ones I hear." Journal entry


BulletYOU ARE NOT ALONE: OTHERS WHO HEAL WITH YOU ON THE WEB

Sun


"I am lost. Where do I turn from here?"


BulletA LIGHT ON THE JOURNEY: PLACES TO TURN TO FOR HELP

SUN


PERSONAL EXPERIENCE: I spent quite awhile on the phone a few years back talking with BASTA. The people there were helpful in providing me with information and referrals. Just this week, I had a need to call them again for information in another state. I feel it is important to note that Estelle Disch, PHD, CCS (a director of BASTA) was not only kind and full of resources and information for me, but she treated me with respect. The same was true when I placed a second call to the WALK IN COUNSELING CENTER. Again, this was my experience, and it will tend to differ based on the person you speak with, and the personality of the caller, but I felt it worth special recognition here. All to often, those who help us, forget that we are courageous survivors, not just a voice on the other end of the line.


BulletPICKING UP THE PIECES: TAKING THE STEPS TO HEAL

FINDING A REPUTABLE THERAPIST: This is one of the hardest parts to healing. Now, not only do you have the event(s) that brought you to therapy in the first place, but you have a deep betrayal as well. To think of turning to someone else, to allow yourself to be placed in that position again, is terrifying. Yet, this is exactly where we need to begin. So how do we reach past the fear and try again, while making sure we are protected and believed? We learn to make informed selections based on what we need and want.

CHOOSE INFORMATIVELY: SOME TIPS TO FINDING SOMEONE YOU CAN TRUST:

  1. Call or write local hotlines in your area or national organizations, such as the ones listed above, and ask for information and referrals.
  2. Ask other survivors for names and resources
  3. Check credentials!
  4. Ask if the therapist has worked with other survivors. Does S/He "believe" you or try to change your perception of the abuse.
  5. How long has S/He been practicing?
  6. Follow your instincts! Choosing a therapist can be a long term investment in your growth and healing. Whether you are able to see it and believe it or not, you are a valuable person, and deserve the best care possible.
  7. Schedule an evaluation session. While you're there, pay attention to how you feel in the office. Is it a safe and comfortable feeling?
  8. Talk about it to other friends whom you can trust. If you aren't comfortable talking face to face, try an on-line chat room, bulletin board, or newsgroup. Reaching out is hard, but in the long run, its worth it.

BASTA has graciously given me permission to copy their pamphlet on what to look for and what to question in the therapy relationship. Please follow this link to view the chart. If your browser does not support FULL view of this table, you may e-mail me and I will happily send it to you. If you choose to print this table, please be sure that it is copied with Full credit being given to BASTA: BOSTON ASSOCIATION TO STOP TREATMENT ABUSE. Click here to view this valuable information!


BulletTHE GREAT DEBATE: SHOULD YOU PRESS CHARGES OR NOT

SOME LINKS TO LEGAL RESOURCES ON THE WWW:

OTHER OPTIONS:


CHOOSING FOR MYSELF: KNOWING WHAT WAS RIGHT FOR ME

When the truth was finally out in the open, and I had to decide how I would proceed with it, I was literally overwhelmed. Those who knew me and knew of my experience were quick to offer opinions and advice. It seemed as if everyone suddenly knew what was best for me, what I could "handle" and what I should do. Funny, those were the same words my ex-counselor had used to justify his actions.

In truth, the decision to go to court, to keep quiet, or to confront him had to be mine and mine alone. It couldn't be based on what others saw in me, though their opinions did matter. Instead it had to be based on what I felt I wanted. That's such a hard decision to make when you are no longer confident in your inside instincts. Each path seems to bear it's own consequences.

In the end, I chose to confront. I chose to give him back what was rightfully his. I may never know if he accepted it and learned, but I will always know, I did what I needed to do for me.

Sun & Moon Rule

SPECIAL REQUEST: From The Centre for Research on Violence Against Women and Children


Disclaimer: The views and opinions that have been presented on this topic are based on my own personal struggle. I am not a therapist, or even a professional. I AM a survivor.


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Let The Truth Ring Out!
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A large part of the building of this page was to speak out against a silent and sinister form of abuse taking place in our society today. Those who are abused in the therapy process live under a cloud of silence and shame. For this reason, as well as many others, BIBRI is proud to join the members of the "LET THE TRUTH RING OUT" WebRing. May the truth ring out loud, clear and strong, and may it be well received throughout the land.


  Candlelight Vigil Join The WWW Candlelight Vigil Against Violence

The content of this site is always open for expansion and revision. If you have information or links you would like to see addressed or added, please feel free to e-mail them. Thanks! 1997

Sun

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This Page Last Updated On 09/16/2002