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Oct
04

Can It Get Better?

In process group yesterday, the therapist asked everyone, “How does it feel to believe that life is hopeless and nothing can get better?”

Silence.

Then, “Can it get better?”

More silence.

How tragic to be so young and not know how or even if your life can get better.  How sad to believe that life is so disappointing, you’d rather be dead. How unfair it seems that these kids are so overwhelmed, so beaten down, so ill-equipped for life.

My client this week not only had a history of sexual abuse, she herself was the product of a rape and her mother reminded her of this all the time.  It finally became too much, and she had a panic attack and tried to hurt herself.  As a survivor of sexual assault myself, I specifically asked to work with her, hoping that I could offer a unique level of empathy.  We’re not supposed to reveal our own histories, which I didn’t, but I believed that being able to identify could help me better engage her therapeutically.

It was actually much, much harder than that.  Watching her struggle brought back a whole new rush of emotions that I thought I had safely tucked away.  And knowing exactly how overwhelmed she was, I found myself struggling for the right words.  But I kept my composure and did my best, and when the one-to-one was over I felt that we had connected and that she felt safe.

But it was a hard shift.

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