Protect Yourself When Seeking Support
( What to Consider When Choosing Therapists, Support Groups, Etc. )
Getting outside help for ourselves is important.
We humans are social creatures, we need others to survive.
And we cannot do all our healing on our own.
When we are wounded in relationships, we need reparative relationships to help us heal.
And trained support groups and professional therapists can be an invaluable resource for this.
In fact, I recommend that everyone have at least one non-friend/non-family support person
that they can contact on a regular basis for emotional processing and support.
This way, you can have a one-way relationship where you get to focus solely on YOUR healing.
However, it's also important to remember that no one is infallible!
We humans all have our own past traumas, coping mechanisms, trust issues, addictions, etc.
Just because someone has a fancy degree does NOT mean they are an expert in all areas.
Just because somebody has been sober for years does NOT mean they know what you need.
Just because somebody has a good reputation in the community does NOT mean they are trustworthy.
Likely, you've heard the tragic stories of unethical doctors, therapists, and sponsors who've
committed physical, verbal, sexual, or financial abuse against people they are supposed to protect.
This means it's important to remain alert and find a support that suits YOUR needs.
Finding a good therapist/support group can be like finding a good life partner:
you are allowed to take your time, ask questions, and move on if it doesn't work for you.
And just because a support worked wonders for someone else, doesn't necessarily mean it'll work for you.
If at ANY TIME you start to feel uncomfortable, unsafe, or disrespected,
please take a break and discuss what's happening to make sure you are safe,
and that the support is still a good fit for your needs.
These guiding criteria can help you find supports that will be most beneficial for YOU.
( Remembering that healing happens in layers - if a healing approach triggers you, it may be that more
time and safety is required before you are ready to examine that particular issue. Especially with trauma,
I recommend titrating your healing - tackle what you can handle for now, a little bit at a time. )
THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE TIME, I FEEL:
- Safe and comfortable around this support.
- This support shows me respect through their words and actions.
- This support is trustworthy (and they continue to prove that to me with their actions).
- I can say "no" to this support at any time without fear of repercussions.
- I am an active participant in planning and choosing what we do for my healing.
- Heard, seen, and validated by this support.
- I can speak my mind and ask questions of this support without fear of repercussions.
- This support truly cares about my wellbeing.
- This support has adequate training and knowledge to help with my specific issues.
- Even when it's difficult/triggering, I want to continue working with this support.
- I am making positive progress with the help from this support.
If the above criteria are not met, it may be time for a talk with your support,
and/or with an outside party to see if you can repair the therapeutic relationship.
Or it may be time to walk away and find a new support that better suits your needs.
Trust your intuition - only you can know what is best for you. <3