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Page Contents: Opening up about past abuse and then losing the psychotherapist.                    


I have been going to psychotherapy for almost three years now and have finally broken through some of the biggest barriers I had in place to protect myself. I was raped and sexually abused when I was 12 and had kept it “under wraps” for over 17 years. Now that the door has been opened I am in crisis mode, barely maintaining a functional level at work and home. On top of all this, my psychotherapist just told me he is quitting his practice in less than one month. I am scared because it takes me a long time to trust people and now I feel like I’m being left behind when I need him most. I am trying to be rational about it, that it is his job, not his life, but that only goes so far. How do I deal when he has been the only one I would talk to about this sensitive stuff the past few months?

Yes, it is a loss, it’s deeply troubling, and it leaves you feeling very uncertain about the future. Still, you have only one option, aside from just returning to the past and keeping everything “under wraps” again: find another psychotherapist and continue the process of your healing.

Keep in mind here a very special principle of psychotherapy: You don’t speak about your past so that your psychotherapist can understand what happened; you speak to hear yourself speaking the truth about your life.

Therefore, it doesn’t really matter if the course of your psychotherapy involves only one or several psychotherapists. What does matter is that in the process of the psychotherapy you become so familiar with and so understanding of your pain that you also become immune to its shame. Eventually, you will consider your past traumas to be just bare facts that you can remember objectively. You can look at them without hidden resentments, without anger, without a thirst for blame or revenge.

When that happens, you will be able to look anyone right in the eyes and, without even blinking, say honestly and compassionately, “I was raped and sexually abused when I was 12. It crippled me for many years, but I dealt with it, and the pain no longer holds me back.”

Then you will know that you have been healed.


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Raymond Lloyd Richmond, Ph.D.
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