Let's take a look at what we share and with whom
Over the past 14 years of working with women, one phenomenon I have come across is women sharing their very intimate and sacred stories with those undeserving to know and sharing their therapy sessions without discernment - with consequences. These are very real issues worldwide, but I am (we are) aware of the realities of our culture here in T&T. I’m all for love, trust, openness and being evolved - topped with rainbow sprinkles, honey and unicorn glitter. Yet, wisdom must reign.
Your Sacred Stories. What you consider to be sacred is your right, be it sexual trauma, other abuses, grief and all other experiences. None is worse than another as the eminent issue is how it affects YOU. We should never undermine anyone else's suffering with one-upmanship and simultaneously we should not undermine our own suffering with: “it have people out there worse off than me” or “people have real problems, I don’t”. These types of statements do not serve your healing and can be considered a form of bypassing.
I applaud those of you who desire to speak your truth to those around you. However, I have seen this malignantly forced upon us by "instacologists" to the point where you are shamed or are ashamed if you do not want to share "your truth" and "authenticity" with the world and engender "real healing" because that makes you a fraud. No one wants be be a fraud. These posts, TikToks, and what-have-you fall into a treacherous blend of new-ageism and pop psychology that can be dangerous. If you thought having critical thinking skills were important before - it is more so now.
What I ask you to do is be WISE when you choose who to share with! I have heard too many stories of women sharing their sexual traumas with new boyfriends within the first 6 months of the relationship. You need to gently push aside the excitement of a new beau and be practical. It takes an average 3 years to really get to know another human being. Six months for a boyfriend/friend/colleague/coworker/neighbor/relative, etc., is too soon to start sharing – in as much as you want to. What you all would have already been aware of is that much gets thrown back in your face during tense times, or even just regular, normal days. It is unexpected (and even if expected) - deeply painful and jarring to the system. Sometimes these people share YOUR story with others – which can be considered betrayal.
I always tell clients that you should never use your dreams to play Play Whe – it is a travesty to your unconscious mind. YOUR story is YOURS. It is to be worked with as you choose in your own time and way – not as entertainment for compassionless, disturbed people seeking escape and enjoying voyeurism.
I have had situations where men have been extremely and frighteningly interested in your past sexual encounters (including trauma) and desire that you tell the stories over and over again. In vivid detail. This is prurient and a massive red flag as it is not about understanding as much as you may desire that. RUN.
I have come across therapists, counsellors and psychologists who PUSH for female clients to tell their sexual trauma stories to help heal the distance between them and another, by wrongly assuming a specific trauma is THE basis of the issues. Many times this is not the case and this too has backfired in horrid ways that cause further damage. That being said, perhaps even after 3 years it may still not be the best choice. Be discerning. VERY discerning as to IF and WHEN you share. I have clients who have never shared with husbands as they KNOW these men well and rather not go down that road. This is a right they exercise. Exercise your right.
Sharing Therapy. This is another point of contention – except clients can usually hold their own and that makes it a bit easier. I love that people learn new concepts and devise new life philosophies as a result of the work they do in therapy. It’s deeply rewarding when the shame and stigma of receiving therapy is cast off and clients want to share their experiences with others.
Yet again – be discerning with WHOM you share this process with. Those who appear accepting in the beginning sometimes spin therapy on its head and make derogatory comments about what is an intensely personal journey. Sometimes if you understand the theory we are working with, it may not be understood by others who will Google and come up with little to go on but much to spew. E.g., EMDR which can be misunderstood by others as hypnotherapy, which it is not, and all that comes with the misunderstandings and stigma of hypnosis.
Too few people fully grasp that attending therapy usually doesn’t mean that someone has a severe mental health issue, but is just seeking objective support as they learn to navigate their lives in a more intentional and wholesome way.
All counselling and psychology practitioners appreciate those who wish to change this mindset and teach others the true value of therapy, and I honor you who have held your stories sacred with you.
Thank you for reading.