Stopping the Cycle Matters, and It’s Hard

For those who are taking on the life’s work of recovering from any kind of childhood abuse, what you are doing really, really matters. You are blocking the spread of abuse with your own body and heart.

It takes an enormous effort to put something positive out into the world, or to pass something better on to your own or others’ children, when you weren’t even given enough resources yourself to begin with.

Being the one to stop the damage from propagating further means you are spending energy repairing your own injuries while also spending energy moving forward and putting good into the world. You are working twice as hard with fewer resources and while healing from your injuries. In a way, you are repairing the past, present, and future all at once.

No wonder changing the world is so exhausting!

Trauma Survivors and Assault in the News

If you are a survivor of abuse or assault, it may at times be very difficult dealing with the news cycle on a day-to-day basis. Not only may we hear and read about details of experiences that mirror our own, we also hear a great deal of public discourse around those kinds of traumatic and personal events. In some ways this may be even worse.

Hearing public figures and people in authority expressing doubt, denial, and minimization of survivors’ experiences is often a rerun of the kinds of responses we may have experienced ourselves when we tried to tell parents, friends, family members, or others we hoped would help us. People in our present lives may also be expressing disbelief or minimization about other survivors’ accounts in a way that re-opens our own past wounds and invalidates our experiences.

The lack of support or even belief around assault is in some ways as injurious to survivors as the actual assault was. The underlying message we may internalize is “I’m not important enough to protect or believe.”

You may find you are having trauma symptoms without recognizing them for what they are. It’s common to see increased insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, depression and anxiety symptoms generally (OCD, GAD, panic, etc.), irritability, difficulty concentrating, hopelessness, and so forth. Always pay attention to an increase in your symptoms–it’s a sign that whatever the reason, you need to make sure you are giving yourself more support, flexibility, and care.

What can I do?

Limit your exposure to triggering material: we certainly want to be informed about the world around us, but it’s easy to get sucked into obsessively monitoring the radio, social media, or TV for news that goes over and over the same points. If you need to, give yourself a specific window of time to take in the material. But make it short, and recognize that you may need to account for how it may affect your functioning afterwards. If others insist on discussing it, it is okay to say you need to not hear about it for a while.

Be around supportive others: if you have friends or family who are especially minimizing, it will be harmful for you to be around them all the time with no validating voices to neutralize them. Spend some time in person, on the phone, or even online with people you know are supportive and trustworthy. Maybe friends, your therapist, a relative, or your clergy. (If no one you know is available when you really need to talk, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline [800-656-4673].) For those lucky folks who have a pet, hug an animal companion. They are often our most ardent and nonjudgmental supporters!

Take care of yourself. If you tend to dissociate from your symptoms, you may not even realize how stressed you are feeling. Re-visit how to do self-care if you have allowed it to slide a bit. If you have worked on your recovery before, now is a good time to re-visit interventions that have worked for you before. If you have not worked on your recovery, now is the time to start!

For a general overview of how PTSD affects survivors of sexual assault, here is a short article.

 

Therapeutic Art Group for Adults: Limited Space!

Therapeutic Artistic Expression: Autumn series ([corrected] session dates 9/21, 10/5, 10/19, 11/2)

Creative expression can help make managing emotions and thoughts easier!

This therapy group is appropriate for those 18+ who are working on issues of:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dissociation
  • Trauma History
  • Relationship Issues
  • Societal Issues
  • Chronic pain / illness
  • No artistic talent or skill is required!
  • Materials will be provided (but you may bring your own)
  • Small, closed group for confidentiality and safety
  • Structured sessions led by licensed PhD-level clinical psychologist

Written referral from current therapist required OR you may request a screening interview (phone or in-person, 1/2 hour)

Please contact us soon! ~Registration closes September 6th~

 

 

Seminars: Mental Health for Medical Practitioners

Mental Health Topics for Medical/Dental Practitioners (individual or team-taught):

Seminar format: Brown-bag or longer (30-90 minutes)

  • Treating Patients with Trauma History
  • Mental Health Issues in General Practice
  • Outpatient Treatment Teamwork With Mental Health
  • Psychology Issues of Medical Students / Practitioners
  • Multicultural Issues in Health Care

Depending on focus of topic and availability of speaker, co-leaders of team-taught sessions may include Dr. Latinia Shell, Dr. Radhika Sehgal.

Previous teaching in related areas has included:

  • York Hospital psychology outreach
  • Undergraduate and graduate classes

Rates vary depending on several factors including length of seminar or training, travel distance, number of attendees and facilitators. Please contact us for further information:

Email:

IntersectionalLife@gmail.com

Phone / fax:

Phone (717) 947-4623 / Fax (717) 947-4625

Dissociative Identity Disorder and Responsibility

For those experiencing Dissociative Identity Disorder, it is important to understand the difference between “blame” (which is about “fault” and “punishment”) and “responsibility” (which is about self-management and taking care of what needs to be taken care of).

Blame is not useful, in fact it is injurious. Responsibility is useful and necessary, however.

Every person has different sides or parts of their personality. Those whose sides or parts are dissociated can usefully develop responsibility as a whole by learning to accept and re-connect all parts. Sometimes this means that parts merge, but not always. No sides or parts should be shut out, silenced, eliminated, or disappear. It means the feelings and thoughts of all parts are heard and accepted as valid, though not necessarily acted upon.

The more we can listen to and supportively accept different sides of ourselves (whether we have dissociated parts or not!) the less likely it is that we will act out impulsively in ways we may regret later.

– Dr. Liz

Read more on D.I.D. in this article by researcher Dr. Michelle Maiese.

Specialties

∙ Practice Focus & Specialties:
∙ Adults and young adults
∙ College issues
∙ Intersectional & multicultural concerns (prejudice & discrimination)
∙ LGBTQ/NB concerns
∙ Race / gender issues
∙ Expectant / new mothers
∙ International culture issues
∙ Family of origin issues
∙ Adult disordered eating
∙ Fitness / body image
∙ Depression and dysthymia
∙ Anxiety / panic
∙ Bipolar disorder
∙ Trauma history / PTSD / dissociation
∙ Insomnia
∙ Chronic illness