How do I tell my psychologist?
I am new here and wanted to ask a question if I could please.
I suffered some sexual abuse when I was a child which I have disclosed to only a handful of people. I've never told anyone any details though. I started seeing a psychologist a few months ago for a different reason and I found my anxiety was increasing and becoming unmanageable. This anxiety and life situation brought up repressed feelings and subsequent memories of my abuse. I haven't shared this with my psychologist yet however feel that I need to as it's becoming quite all consuming.
Does anyone have any tips on how to discuss this in a professional context? I don't feel ready to share explicit details with her but feel like I need to start the healing somewhere.
Thanks in advance.
Hello, welcome to RYL.
I'm sorry to hear you had such a traumatic experience as a child and that memories are resurfacing. What about just printing off what you've typed here and handing it to her?
I just want to throw out there, I am not saying not to say things to your psychologist, I think talking about things could be a really good idea! Just know that a lot of mental health professionals are mandatory reporters, and depending on where you live, your age, etc., there might not be a time limit on this. So it might help you first to look up either specifics of how reporting abuse works, or just ask your psychologist about it in that sense without bringing up that it happened. Like what would they do if a client brought it up. If that makes any sense?
So, I would try bringing it up in a very generic sense and say it is something you have never spoken about but seem to be struggling with. Hopefully your psychologist can help you talk about it in a way that feels safe to you, while also keeping in conduct with what they are required to do. I'm sure you could ask them about what types of things they are required to report. I know people have told me before as long as you do not give enough identifying information about the abuser, they cannot report it, and other similar things.
Best of luck.
I typically find writing things easier than saying them, especially in terms of a first disclosure, but your mileage may vary! I've often asked for things back or to shred them because I don't want physical records of some of these things and my treatment professionals have been very understanding of that. But I know for some people writing it down is scarier. I don't think you need to share any explicit details, but I do think that disclosing could help start the process of healing.
As Auror mentioned, I would actually recommend asking your psychologist what their reporting requirements are - I just moved and found out the state I moved to recently eliminated the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, which means that my therapist would have been legally mandated to report what happened had it not been reported before, whether or not I wanted her to. Because this is becoming more common as legal systems recognize that many children are unable to report and shouldn't have to bear that burden, I think it's a good idea to check in with any professionals about the mandatory reporting requirements where you live, just so you don't unexpectedly end up in a situation you may not want or may not be ready for.
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