What Therapy Meant For Me

And why it worked so well

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

In 2017, I finally attended talking therapy with Family Matters, in Kent. I wanted therapy. I needed it. In fact, I had needed it for many, many years. I had something happen to me when I was just 18. At this age, a lot of the guys I knew were a lot more mature than me, but I had not experienced much of what they had. I was vulnerable, I guess. Which is tough to admit. Possibly tougher as a man, but who I am to say?

I was taken advantage of by someone I trusted. I won’t go into any more detail here, as that incident isn’t the point of this article. It may well be the topic of another, further down the line. For 12 years, I had lived with what happened. I had moved away from it. I tried to forget about it. It followed me around like a bad smell or a sense of dread.

A person encouraged me to get help. An aspiring author writing a biography as a means of therapy after what had happened to her. She was so honest in the writing groups on social media and I marvelled at how open she was able to be.

At first, her honesty scared and shocked me. Then, I realised how difficult it must be for her to be so brutally honest about what she had been through. The potential abuse she may suffer, and yet she fought for what is right and would not be silenced. Her story was nothing short of horrific, but it was also heroic. I looked at her with new eyes. With a mix of wonder and pride. She had told the world what had happened. Anyone who would listen. She fought through her ordeal and won the case against her vile attacker. She also helped countless others who were going through the same thing.

All of the other people she had helped were women. It felt strange to reach out to someone like that. We began talking as authors and I offered to assist with the writing of her book. However, I soon had the confidence to tell her what I had told no-one else. I was abused. I just knew that she was the right person to tell for my recovery. I realised that hiding from it and pretending I was OK was not working.

She put me in touch with family matters and helped get me on the path to reclaiming control over my life. I did not have to wait long for therapy, and Family Matters were fantastic throughout the 12 weeks counselling.

I was finally able to voice what had happened to someone, out loud and face-to-face. It was liberating but also very, very difficult. I cried, sobbed actually. Openly in front of this stranger. I struggled through the raw pain of it all and was able to get the words out.

As an author, I have always loved words and appreciated their power. I have never appreciated their power more so than the moment I had to relive the most traumatic day of my life.

I think that you get out of therapy what you put in. Of course this depends on the therapist and luckily enough, mine was excellent. She knew when to listen, when to talk and, more importantly, she knew the right questions to ask. I went in really ready to face my issues head on and deal with them. My mindset was finally right, after so many years, I was ready to face the demons.

I’m not going to lie and say that I have been cured and everything is fine now. It’s still difficult and some days, it’s really difficult. But, I am definitely better than before. My advice for anyone who has been through something is to talk about it. Find someone you trust, preferably a professional, and open up. Secrets do not like being secrets, they want to be set free. They don’t like cages. Set them free.

Children/YA author and literacy teacher. I write articles about writing, teaching, fatherhood, and gender/racial equality among other things!

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