Domestic violence is something many people experience but refuse to talk about freely, for varying reasons. Least of all with a counsellor.
But, if we are to continue breaking the domestic violence stigma and making a difference in the world, it's important we focus on the benefits that come from seeking counselling, not the perceived awkwardness that tends to be associated with seeking out support.
Receiving help when you may be feeling trapped, isolated, confused or overwhelmed is a good thing.
It's a sign of strength, not of weakness.
Counselling helps you feel more powerful and in control of yourself and your circumstances so that you can make the decisions that are right for you going forward.
Not only this, it helps you process your experiences so that they eventually refine you rather than define you.
Speaking with a counsellor about your domestic violence experience will help you to feel heard, supported and empowered.
It will allow you to release your story and start moving from a victim mindset to a survivor mindset and will help you organise your thoughts and 'tidy' your mind so that you are able to feel more confident, particularly after abuse.
It will also provide you with the space to decide who you want to be and what you want for your future.
Additionally, if you are able to find a counsellor who too has experienced domestic violence, you are sure to feel understood and validated on a whole different level.
Call me biased but I fundamentally believe counselling works.
It frees people from years of psychological turmoil, unravels pain and allows people to write new stories of hope where there has only ever been heartache.
Quite simply it puts people on the pathway to the life they deserve. For many, counselling is literally a lifesaving intervention.
- Erica is a women's health counsellor in private practice in the Southern Highlands. You can read more about her work at www.shecounselling.com.au. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, on 0412 707 242 or via socials @shecounselling.