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#MeToo #WhatNow? #HowDoIHeal?

The #MeToo Movement has sparked a historic paradigm shift in how sexual harassment and abuse are being perceived, discussed, and addressed in our society. Women, men, and children from all backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, ability levels, economic backgrounds, and ethnicities have started to find their voices. With strength in numbers, many people are gaining the courage to talk about their painful, abusive experiences publicly for the very first time in their lives. On the other hand, many still have not yet felt safe enough or ready to speak their truth about such traumas.

It is encouraging that many powerful perpetrators are finally being made accountable for abusive behaviors that have been historically ignored. The culture of many companies, schools, and organizations has begun to shift, including creating or updating their policies on sexual harassment and abuse by adding significant consequences for such misconduct. Of course, the hard work of change on local, state, and national levels has just begun, and has a long way to go to achieve acceptable levels of safety, regulations, and justice.

Perhaps you have one or more of your own #MeToo experiences. Now you know that you are not alone, and that an enormous number of people have had similar traumas. These experiences can often result in depression, anxiety, fear, a sense that you are not safe in certain circumstances or with specific people, panic attacks, insomnia, anger, grief, confusion, powerlessness, and other problems. Whether or not you have shared your experiences with anyone, what do you do now?

You may feel safe confiding in family members, friends, or supportive groups whom you trust. However, many people fear that sharing such upsetting experiences with those closest to them might disrupt those relationships or cause further painful conflicts that could worsen things. Other people might fear that no one would believe them. Many people might be isolated, and have no one with whom they can discuss their #MeToo experiences. It could feel that sharing such incidents might make your world fall apart or explode in your face. Some experiences might seem too heavy to carry or too difficult to face. How do you heal from these abusive experiences?

Outpatient individual counseling with a trained therapist could help you to:

  1. process what happened and how it affected you;

  2. learn what your strengths are;

  3. develop skills to overcome the impact of those experiences; and

  4. gain wisdom on how to prevent future occurrences.

Many mental health clinicians are trained to help people process and heal from traumas.Although you may be able to heal yourself from your #MeToo experiences, psychotherapy could help you to heal more quickly and thoroughly in a supportive, empowering environment with a trained professional.Imagine yourself as powerful, wise, overcoming, and joyful! If interested, feel free to call me at 512-687-3436 for an appointment.You can overcome!

~Linda Eldredge, Ed.D., Psychologist

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