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I just wanted to thank everyone who helped me the other day with the… 
22nd-Sep-2006 09:09 pm
I just wanted to thank everyone who helped me the other day with the questions about the counselor. It really helped.

I saw my counselor for the first time today. I couldn't say that I was abused, but she knows. I'm okay with that; I just can't tell her myself yet. That'll come with time.

I think she's going to work out.

After going through all the introduction stuff, we did this one exercise that I found immensely helpful. It was this one thing with two buzzers that would take turns buzzing. I'd hold one in each hand, and close my eyes. She had me look at one of my memories. I didn't say it out loud though. She'd stop the buzzing after a while, and I'd open my eyes. She'd ask what sort of things I had noticed, then we'd go again, but this time, I'd just close my eyes and see what I'd visualize. At the end, I was in a completely different place. We visualized the memory again, and it had changed, in a sense.

I stand in the memory, like one seen in a Pensieve. I watch it happening.

Wipe the slate clean.

I see the floor fan. I see my "Take the Lead" poster. The room is empty. A flash of another memory - I see my old toy chest. Now it's gone. It is brighter. I see the light. It permeates the room, lighting everything up. Nothing to fear.

Wipe the slate clean.

Out the window, I see the grass. I see the blue sky. The trees. I am outside. A flash of a memory - I see my mother in her dress, sitting in the lawn chair. We're trying to take a picture. She's trying to hold me still as I struggle to get away and go chase the butterfly.

Wipe the slate clean.

The blue sky. Clouds dotting the horizon. I'm in the shade, by the side of the house. I see the old wooden fence. I see the gate to the front yard. It is splintery. I see the blue sky.

Wipe the slate clean.

I stand in the memory. I see the floor fan. I see the bright light. I see the blue sky. I am alone.

And for a moment, I am free.

Does anyone know what this therapy is called? It was AMAZING.

One thing I am having trouble with is realizing that, as a six year old, it couldn't have possibly been my fault. Going back in memories, I seem so BIG... I don't realize that I am only six years old. I saw some of the neighborhood kids on the way home afterwards. They seemed small, and I know that some of them were older than six. They're so SMALL! I need to realize that I was that small, and could not have prevented it anyhow, therefore, it is not my fault at all.

Anyhow, besides that, I have a question... There were some "confidentiality breakers" mentioned, but, looking back, I realize I'm a bit unclear on one of them. Unfortunately, I don't remember the exact wording or anything, but I'll try my best...

It was something about the counselor being under authority by law to report to the law the abuser(s) if they were deemed to possibly abuse somebody else. So how exactly does that work? She can't do that unless I give names, right? You see, I don't want to get into a whole legal thing at all, or have my abusers prosecuted. I don't know why; I just really don't want that to happen. Can I basically tell everything, in detail, as long as I withold names? I don't want to say something and have it prompt legal action. But on the other hand, I don't want to have to be thinking about what I can and cannot say. The point of a counselor is to be able to tell them everything. How exactly does this work?

Sorry if that really made no sense; I'm pretty tired right now.

Again, THANK YOU to all who helped me the other day. You guys gave me the courage to TELL THE TRUTH.

-Rachel Grace
23rd-Sep-2006 04:34 am (UTC)
Yay! I'm glad things went well. Sorry I don't know the name of that therapy, but it sounds good.

I would ask your counselor about the specifics of the confidentiality policy taking your age into affect. Ask her if you can speak names or if she has to report your abuse by law. She should know the laws very clearly and should be able to explain them to you in detail.

I hope things keep going well for you!
23rd-Sep-2006 04:44 am (UTC)
If you don't mind my asking, are you in the US? If you are, I know a lot about how this all works, but if not, I don't know much, so that is why I ask; I just don't want to explain how it all works and be giving you wrong information. If you aren't comfortable with saying where you're from, I understand completely so don't worry that you will offend if you don't answer or anything like that.

And I'm glad things seem like they wil work out with this counselor. It's always exciting to find someone that you think might truly be able to help you deal with such painful memories and events in your past. I completely understand the whole thinking it's your fault thing. I was older than you were, and whenever I think about it, I always feel like I could have stopped what happened, but I was so scared. It's always important to put everything into perspective and think about what you really could have done to stop it. Think about your age, think about the situation, think about whether or not you expected it to happen, think about how little control you really had over things...if it helps, you can even take the age that you were and picture someone else you know who is that age. Think about how vulnerable and unaware of things they are, and remember that you too were like that. You probably didn't know what was going on. There was probably very little you could have done, if anything at all, to change what happened in any way. There's no way that any of this is your fault; and it's hard to convince yourself of that, I know, but if you really think about all of those things, it's easier to realize. I hope that helped at least a bit.
23rd-Sep-2006 04:53 am (UTC)
I don't mind at all... yes, I am in the US.

Thanks for offering to explain. :)
23rd-Sep-2006 05:11 am (UTC)
OK, I spoke with my counselor a great deal about this then. I was very concerned as I definitely do not want to take any legal action whatsoever against the person who I had issues with.

I was told that if abuse to a person under 18 has occurred within the past 3 years, she could technically report it without my permission. In my case, my abuse was longer than 3 years ago, so this alone helped me to stop worrying about the fact that she would tell. She also added that if she has no identity, there is no way for her to force charges, and therefore there can be no harm done to the person who abused you if you do not share any name. She told me she can not force any information from me that I am not willing to share, so if I wish to hold the name of the person who abused me confidential, I have every right to do so. I told her flat out that I was not comfortable giving her a name, and we made up a name together that I use for him.

So that all should apply to your situation as she told me these laws were US wide. Also, if you want to, you could check with her about what the specifics may be, if any, in your state, as some of the laws about confidentiality can vary state to state.
23rd-Sep-2006 06:14 am (UTC)
Thanks. That helped put my mind to rest. :)

I don't really know if there are any additional laws in CA, so I'll check that tomorrow when I'm feeling rested.
23rd-Sep-2006 05:33 am (UTC)
Sounds like a form of EMDR therapy...


My therapist does it with me, and it's really really awesome and highly effective. Apparently it's a relatively new thing, and starting to become really popular because of the high success rate. I hope that it will help you as much as it's helped me! ^_^

Good luck with your future appointments! ^_^

23rd-Sep-2006 06:12 am (UTC)
Thanks for the link. It also sounds to me like it may be a form of EMDR. I found my therapist's name on the list of certified specialists on the site, so I know she *can* do it. That makes me feel even more confident of her abilities, yay!
23rd-Sep-2006 03:12 pm (UTC)
I had that done at my second therapy appointment and it was amazing. She used it to calm my nerves and distract my mind from the bad memories. I think I'm going to ask her if we can do it in general somehow when I'm discussing the event because it's so hard not to just tune myself out and not really talk to her.
23rd-Sep-2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
The therapy is called EMDR. I've tried it before and it didn't work for me. But I sincerely hope it helps you. Good luck :)
25th-Sep-2006 05:03 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sounds like a form of EMDR - a great way to reduce triggers, I'm told

The confidentiality rules are a bit complex, but, in most states therapists/counselors are considered "mandatory reporters" of abuse. If they know you've been abused, they are legally required to report it, even if they don't know who did it.

Now - most Departments of Social Services won't try to press any legal charges against abusers unless there are a few reports - so even if your counselor does report the abuse, it's possible nothing will come of it.

I'd recommend asking her exactly what she will and won't report - because it's important that you not be re-traumatized by an attempt at prosecuting your abusers - especially since the beginnings of prosecution could put you in physical danger of retaliation. If you tell her this pretty clearly, she will likely tell you what her own personal beliefs are on the matter. It's important that you know this now rather than later.

If she *does* think that reporting it without your consent is okay, feel free to give your abusers aliases so that prosecution gets blocked (change their names, etc.). While I believe that prosecution can be very cathartic in the healing process, it does no good if it's not your choice to prosecute. You've had too many choices made for you already, you know?
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