Therapy can help you move forward after an abusive relationship


Have you ever felt like you were reliving the symptoms of the original trauma? Emotional memories of past abuse can be triggered by anything from specific places or movies to physical sensations even in your body.

“Some survivors of domestic violence find that certain sights, sounds, tastes or smells can trigger painful and intrusive memories of their trauma,” says Whilde.

The good news is that a therapist can help you identify your triggers, as well as ways to manage your emotional responses and soothe you when they arise.

Obviously, there are a multitude of benefits to continuing with therapy after an abusive relationship, but it is not always financially feasible for everyone. If that’s your case, experts say there are several ways to get the support you need and deserve.

Dr. Feuereisen recommends calling local clinics to find out if they offer sliding scale services. You have nothing to lose by reaching out to trauma and abusive relationship therapists, and asking if they offer income-based rates or do volunteer work – in fact, mental health professionals are strongly encouraged to take at least a few professionals. bono clients for ethical reasons. Dr. Feuereisen also notes that many universities have clinics where graduate students learn to become psychologists, and the sliding scale rates are often as low as $ 1 per session. Even if you go to see a therapist in training, there is usually excellent supervision in these situations, according to Dr. Feuereisen.

Many community centers, hospitals, and places of worship also sometimes offer free or low-cost counseling, and some organizations host peer support groups for people facing similar issues.

Another thing to check is whether or not your business has an employee assistance program. If so, you can benefit from a number of free counseling sessions.

Whether you need help exploring low-cost treatment options or creating a self-care plan that’s right for you, The Hotline advocates are available 24/7 by phone (1-800- 799-7233) and online chat to provide assistance. They may be able to put you in touch with free services for you in your community, including one-on-one professional counseling specifically for survivors of abuse. The hotline also has a directory of other organizations that may be able to direct you to free or low-cost therapy, such as the Domestic Violence Coalitions.

If you decide to seek therapy, Dr Klapow, Whilde, and Dr Feuereisen strongly recommend that you specifically seek out a provider who is experienced and trained in the treatment of abuse. Experts agree, however, that the most important thing is finding a therapist you trust and who makes you feel safe, heard, and understood.

There are many reasons why therapy can be a game-changing next step in coming out of your abusive relationship. Most importantly, it is a step that signals a powerful change towards getting your life back. Of course, only you can know when you feel ready to begin the journey to unravel your experiences with a therapist – but just know that once you feel ready, there are endless opportunities to heal, regain hope, and rediscover yourself. on the other side. .

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence, call 911 or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit You can also text “loveis” at 866-331-9474, or call LoveisRespect at 1-866-331-9474.


Dr Patti Feuereisen, psychotherapist

Peggy Whilde, Director of Programs for the National Domestic Violence Hotline

Dr Joshua Klapow, clinical psychologist


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