By admin 2nd Mar 2021 Domestic Violence
OneHealth.com Staff Writer
As a counselor in training, I didn’t realize how common domestic violence was until I started working with actual clients who shared their lives with me.
In 1992, I began my clinical journey counseling clients for a variety of issues ranging from depression and anxiety, to the more traditional developmental concerns of boyfriend-girlfriend break-ups, to grief and loss issues. I quickly discovered that many of my clients, both young and old, were impacted from domestic violence or trauma in their partnered lives, and the commonality of it was astonishing.
As my experiences with clients grew in number and my training progressed, I began to watch television shows differently. I quickly developed a knack for observing tendencies and statements people showed and said respectively, recognizing them as precursors to diagnoses for people who had been abused and violated. This ability led to my growth as a clinician for people appearing for treatment, but it also allowed me to know the empathy needed in my voice, as well as the reassuring statements people need to hear to be able to fully acknowledge their pasts and make right with their futures, as they try to move on in healthy ways.
In the midst of this national pandemic, people are homebound and many things in our worlds are triggering victims of domestic abuse, who have time on their hands and limited social interaction. Although I assume most people aren’t going into clinical positions, I do believe now is the time to get help ourselves or find ways to help others around us who are struggling with the voices in our heads. By voices I’m referring to the questions we often ask ourselves when feeling triggered, like about where to start. It can just seem too hard to tackle. Many have consciously tried to block out the memories, but in this new day and age under COVID restrictions, people are finding it hard to keep them out. If you are a person who has decided that now is the time to tackle these internal messages, congratulations on your start to reclaiming your life. I am consciously not calling you a victim; people like you have been victimized. We are renaming you a survivor.
The first step towards recovering is starting to get some help talking it through. I know that many of my clients just needed to BE HEARD and have someone BELIEVE them and their story.
As a counselor, I learned to take the time to slowly walk with people at their pace, who were starting on their journey of reliving what had happened in their lives. First, my job is to be there with them as they start the steps and process their life experiences, thoughts, and feelings along the way. Second, my job is to help people realize what exactly they need at this moment to move forward and get closure and healing regardging their individual situations. Every person is different. Lastly, I work to help people see this problem in their lives as a PART of their lives, but not an all-consuming aspect that debilitates them, although it may feel like it sometimes. Many people who have been victims of domestic violence or survivors find it difficult to move past their story, and with good reason, can’t get unstuck. I describe my work as helping people get back into the game and figure out how to move forward with their lives.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by domestic violence and believes now is the time to do some work healing and moving on, Let’s go! Make 2021 a time to reclaim your experience, take control of your narrative, and work towards healing. If you are supporting a person who has had an experience with domestic violence, KNOW WHEN TO REFER for help. You are not alone with them. You may not be trained to help your friend, but you can GET THEM TO HELP.