Although words like therapy and counseling are part of our culture, for some of us survivors, they're intimidating terms. In the early days of my healing, I didn't go for any kind of therapy. "I don't want to have to pay someone to listen to me," I said.
"Therapy feels clinical. Impersonal." I recall saying that once. "Why should I trust a therapist? It's only a business."
As I realized years later, it was a defensive attitude. For me, it meant I still wasn't able to be fully open.
Three years into my healing, I joined a one-year group of male survivors of childhood sexual assault, sponsored by the state of Georgia, and run by two therapists. By then, I didn't really need counseling, although I found the group helpful.
My response these days is that not everyone needs therapy, if you have someone you trust, whom you know won't divulge your story. Maybe that will work.
And there are bad therapists, especially the kind that seem to rivet their attention on all the lurid details. Or they give stock answers to questions and you feel they're responding by rote.
There are also good therapists who have been trained to hear what you're not saying and to sense your turmoil. They don't get sidetracked by your defensive strategies.
And why not a professional as well as friends and family members who care? We've been deeply wounded and we need all the help we can get.
Be open to those who can make things easier. It may be difficult—especially in the beginning—but remember: You've stored up years of secret suffering.
Isn't now the time to open up?