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For a while, now, I’ve sensed that I am reaching the point where I will no longer need to be in therapy. Oh, I don’t mean that I am “cured” or even completely “healed” from C-PTSD. I don’t believe that C-PTSD is ever completely gone from a person’s psyche. But I do believe that a person can reach the point where C-PTSD is manageable without the support of therapy. And I believe I’m reaching that point.

As you know, I’ve been working on my healing for many, many years—sometimes with a therapist and sometimes on my own. My active journey began in about 1980 when I was married, raising two kids, taking care of my family and working at a part-time job. That’s when I had my first flashback, the one that brought vividly to mind my sexual abuse at age four.

Prior to that flashback, I had some odd experiences which I can identify now as having been dissociative experiences, but at the time, I just chalked them up as “odd experiences” and forged ahead with my life. One particularly memorable experience took place in a train car one day when I lived in West Berlin, Germany, in the 1970s. I was eager to get home from the produce market, so I took the U-Bahn rather than the bus. The car was crowded, and I found myself pushed into a corner, unable to move. A fog came over my mind, and suddenly, I was up on the ceiling of the train car, looking down at myself, a figure pressed into the corner by the bodies of the other riders. The train stopped, people left the car, I had a bit more room, and I popped back into my body. An odd experience, one that I didn’t forget, but one I was afraid to talk about. I filed that experience in the mental file in which I stored the derealization and depersonalization experiences that filled my childhood. Not something I wanted to talk about!

I first entered therapy in October of 1980 because I had auditory hallucinations that interfered with my daily functioning. In order to take care of my home life and my work life, I talked out loud, directing my behavior aloud so that I could hear myself and follow my own directions. I was not capable of hearing my inner voice, my thoughts, because my thoughts were all scrambled and buried under the loud classical music I heard in my head. But when I told myself out loud what I needed to do, I could hear my voice and follow my own instructions. I knew I had to do something about my situation, that I could not continue living in that condition, so I made an appointment and began the therapy journey that has brought me to the point where I am now—thirty-three years later.

I’ve seen a lot of therapists, some effective and some not so effective. I will say that even the ineffective therapists have been, for the most part, concerned and well-intended; the problem was that most of them neither understood my condition nor understood how to help me. One I saw in the late 1990s both understood and knew how to help but moved before he could help me. A few were so in need of help themselves that they traumatized me in their attempts to help themselves. So from 1983, the year my first therapist retired, until 2010, the year I began seeing my present therapist, my therapeutic journey led me through a wasteland of partial oases and lots of seemingly-endless miles of burning hot sand. Why didn’t I just give up? My answer to that question is that I had a wonderful therapist in the beginning of my journey, so I knew that wonderful and effective therapists existed and I knew that sooner or later, if I just kept looking, I would find another one. And I have. I’m a stubborn old gal, and I’m not the easiest client to work with, most likely. But, then, my therapist is pretty stubborn, too.

Thursday she and I are going to see if we can do some planning for my future therapy. I’m glad we are doing this. She and I both sense a shift in my focus, and I feel good knowing that we are working together to understand and figure out what I need. There have not been many times in my life where another person has cared enough to see life through my eyes and to understand what I need. My parents were incapable of this, and my former husband was too busy satisfying his own selfish and sick needs at the expense of our children and me. So just knowing that my therapist cares enough to put forth the effort needed to understand me and work with me to plan my therapy is validating for me.

I called my therapist yesterday afternoon, after I returned home from seeing her. She had teased me about the fact that I do so much of my work outside my sessions, and on my way home, I began worrying that maybe she felt unneeded. I wanted her to know that was not the case, so I called her. She returned my call, and I told her my concern. I let her know that without her, I could not have succeeded in alleviating my PTSD symptoms and achieving the sense of peace that I experience now. What has she done that has been the most helpful? Well, she has been herself, her kind and wonderful self, but even more important: she has had faith in my ability to succeed in therapy. She has had faith in me. And her faith in me has worked wonders!

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
– King James Bible “Authorized Version”, Cambridge Edition

My prayerful wish for you is that you, too, have a therapist who has faith in you, and, even more important, may you have faith in yourself! Shalom . . .

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