Since therapy yesterday, Ellie has been desperate to take charge. She’s fed up of how successful Matilda is making us seem… how we are going back to uni and starting as a counsellor. She says she wants us to cut ourself so that her pain is visible again, because it’s like she’s being written out of the story, of how things look from the outside, because she’s in so much pain, and my life looks miles from how broken she feels.
I tried talking to her and I think I got through. I said Ellie, your pain is why we are at uni. It’s why we are studying psychology. It’s why we are a trauma counsellor. Do you think we would be doing these things if it wasn’t for your pain? Your pain is valid, but all the books on trauma we are reading say that a client has to be taught to live in the reality that the trauma is in the past. It’s not happening now. You don’t need to be panicked now. You don’t have to feel dirty or scared now. It is over.
Ellie, the trauma is in the past. We aren’t acting like it didn’t happen, I promise. Your pain will be always with us. But we have two choices – to live every day like it’s still going on and to remain forever a victim. Or to realise it’s in the past, we are safe now, and to actually live life. Your pain will always be real and what we are doing is precisely because you were hurt. We are helping other people because we know how much you hurt and they hurt too.
So please, Ellie. Work with us not against us. It’s your pain that is our very driving force. It is the reason for all we are accomplishing. We want to do it in your name. For you. We want you to get stuck in and be present and part of it because only if you are with us not dissociated can we be the best counsellor possible – without you we don’t have empathy. Without you we don’t have congruence. You are so vital to this. So please, be a part of it with me.
You can make your pain real and seen by helping us be the best counsellor we can be. That isn’t moving on and ignoring what happened to you. That isn’t dissociating from you. It’s being you! It’s acting wholeheartedly because of you! I’m doing this all for you Ellie – BECAUSE of you. Your pain is real and I get that it hurts. It’s agony. But it’s also over. You’re safe now. And you have a voice – you have so many more ways to say “someone hurt me” than just to hurt yourself. So come on board, Ellie. I need you and can’t do this without you. Be a counsellor with me because I know you’re big and strong enough to do this. Because you survived, yes Matilda got us through it but you’re still there with us. We are one. And we can do this as a team.