Jamie (changelingjane) wrote in _survivors_,

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Annoyed at Anti-Therapy Sites

I recently did a search on some survivor-related stuff, and the top hits were all these webpages about "THE DANGERS OF THERAPY/SUPPORT GROUPS" and it really ticked me off, and I ended up having to write something about it before I went crazy...

I've read several web pages about the "dangers of abuse survivor support groups" and of going into therapy. The argument is that these methods do more harm than good, based on what happens during the first several months or weeks of therapy.

What nobody seems to be looking at, however, are the long-term effects of either going or not going to therapy. Of course choosing to heal from abuse makes things harder for awhile. Switching from a long-standing unhealthy habit to an unfamiliar, healthy one always makes things difficult in the short-term, but pays off in the long-term.

Denial and avoidance, conversely, work great in the short-term, but have dire consequences down the road--not just for the person who was abused, but for those around him or her as well. That is often when things get passed on from parent to child, allowing the "circle of abuse" to continue to the next generation. Ever wonder why abuse is so common?

When undertaking anything new and life-altering, it's a good idea to lay down a support network first. If a person's problem is only something like her diet or an incompatible boyfriend--and not her ability to function in general--then chances are she already has support networks in place, making the potential dangers of changing a major part of her life very small.

But somebody who has been damaged severely by abuse typically has very few real support networks, if any at all. Many survivors maintain superficial relationships to "keep up appearances", but don't feel they truly have anybody they can turn to when things get bad.

So when something major comes up outside the therapist's office or a group therapy session--as it inevitably will--that same survivor will probably look for an escape instead of looking for help, because she feels that no help is available. Sometimes the escape she might choose in that situation is self-harm or suicide. But it is often the lack of real support outside of therapy that enables these things to happen, along with other factors. Not the therapy itself.

If you toss aside things just because they're difficult or cause a strain, you'll never get to a better place. Changing to a healthier diet is usually a stressful experience. Is the answer then to keep eating unhealthy food? Breaking up a relationship can be traumatic--dangerous, even, if it was a very serious relationship. Is the answer then to never fall in love? Coming out of denial about an abusive past and going into therapy can be painful (and also potentially dangerous). Is the answer then to suffer in silence?
Tags: therapy

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