Struggling to open up to therapist about SA

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Elizabeth137

Hi! I have been seeing my therapist for about a month now and have been working through some current issues and she has been great. I did briefly mention a past sexual assault. There were actually 3 different times over a span of 6 years or so and I am having a hard time bringing them up to talk about it in depth.

It’s also difficult to talk about because I don’t remember a ton of details and even though I keep telling myself it wasn’t my fault I question the situations I put myself in and if maybe it wasn’t even rape or wasn’t really that bad. I have a lot of shame and am embarrassed and even experience inappropriate arousal sometimes when I think about it. I know this isn’t totally unheard of but I just feel so weird to tell her about it.

I’ve seen a lot of people have mentioned giving their therapist a note about something they can’t talk about, but my therapist is blind. I’ve considered emailing her but I know I’ll read the email over and over until I meet with her and be really nervous about it. Also the thought of her playing my email out loud terrifies me. I know maybe part of me is not ready but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to tell her about it since our last session so I really want to just get it out there.
 
I found it really helpful, when I have struggled to talk about something, to talk about the ‘struggle to talk’ rather than the thing I can’t mention. Because then you can explore your fears, your internal messages and your barriers that are preventing you from speaking. You get reassurance from her. You get clarity about yourself, and it opens the door a little at a time.
 
There were actually 3 different times over a span of 6 years or so and I am having a hard time bringing them up to talk about it in depth.
Say exactly this.

Ditto @Movingforward10 , talking about the struggle to talk? Both introduces the subjects you can’t talk about, WITHOUT having to actually talk about them… as well as sets up the framework to learn HOW to talk about them.

Avoidance of memories, thoughts, feelings, & external reminders of your trauma? Which includes talking about it? Are symptoms of PTSD. And need as much focus/work as any other symptom.
 
...and really, details are not necessary to start with. They may or may not come back.

As much as that - your T doesn't need details. They want to help you with what happened in your head first. At some point you may go to details but I have never had to do more than suggest or use euphemistic terms to describe things to my T.
 
Hi! I have been seeing my therapist for about a month now and have been working through some current issues and she has been great. I did briefly mention a past sexual assault. There were actually 3 different times over a span of 6 years or so and I am having a hard time bringing them up to talk about it in depth.
This is very normal to feel like this
It’s also difficult to talk about because I don’t remember a ton of details and even though I keep telling myself it wasn’t my fault I question the situations I put myself in and if maybe it wasn’t even rape or wasn’t really that bad.
Also a very normal reaction we tell ourselves
I have a lot of shame and am embarrassed and even experience inappropriate arousal sometimes when I think about it. I know this isn’t totally unheard of but I just feel so weird to tell her about it.
I totally get this. I also have experienced this and it's very very difficult to talk about... I completely relate..I don't think you need to pressure yourself to talk about this early on... the other thing is maybe consider what you want to tell her for? Think what you need out of it... you, as I, have done nothing wrong in having these feelings.. they are a result of programming from what happened to us..
I’ve seen a lot of people have mentioned giving their therapist a note about something they can’t talk about, but my therapist is blind. I’ve considered emailing her but I know I’ll read the email over and over until I meet with her and be really nervous about it. Also the thought of her playing my email out loud terrifies me. I know maybe part of me is not ready but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how to tell her about it since our last session so I really want to just get it out there.
This was me completely when l started therapy...I have 2 main sources of SA and with the first one, I just knew if I didn't get it out all in one go, it would take an age to get it out in session and I would spend a long time stressing between sessions... so I wrote it down and he made me read it out in session... it was a really good approach for me...

Could you discuss the fact that there's something difficult to discusss and you've been stressed about how to do this? And maybe use something you've written before session as a back up to read out in session?

Regarding the email, if she listens to emails out loud she will do this in privacy with no one else around.. perhaps you could discuss all the options with her?
 
This is very normal to feel like this

Also a very normal reaction we tell ourselves

I totally get this. I also have experienced this and it's very very difficult to talk about... I completely relate..I don't think you need to pressure yourself to talk about this early on... the other thing is maybe consider what you want to tell her for? Think what you need out of it... you, as I, have done nothing wrong in having these feelings.. they are a result of programming from what happened to us..

This was me completely when l started therapy...I have 2 main sources of SA and with the first one, I just knew if I didn't get it out all in one go, it would take an age to get it out in session and I would spend a long time stressing between sessions... so I wrote it down and he made me read it out in session... it was a really good approach for me...

Could you discuss the fact that there's something difficult to discusss and you've been stressed about how to do this? And maybe use something you've written before session as a back up to read out in session?

Regarding the email, if she listens to emails out loud she will do this in privacy with no one else around.. perhaps you could discuss all the options with her?

Thank you appreciate it! I did bring it up last week when she asked if I’d been feeling anxious lately so I told her why and she understood that I was having trouble talking about it. I felt that I wasn’t able to say as much as I wanted so I did send her an email about some of the feelings I have about what happened. I did include the part about the inappropriate sexual feelings. I think that's the part that I am most ashamed and distressed about so I want to talk about it and learn to deal with it better or figure out how to make it go away. I may end up asking if we can hold out on talking about that though. I just kind of spilled my guts in that email lol.

This is very normal to feel like this

Also a very normal reaction we tell ourselves

I totally get this. I also have experienced this and it's very very difficult to talk about... I completely relate..I don't think you need to pressure yourself to talk about this early on... the other thing is maybe consider what you want to tell her for? Think what you need out of it... you, as I, have done nothing wrong in having these feelings.. they are a result of programming from what happened to us..

This was me completely when l started therapy...I have 2 main sources of SA and with the first one, I just knew if I didn't get it out all in one go, it would take an age to get it out in session and I would spend a long time stressing between sessions... so I wrote it down and he made me read it out in session... it was a really good approach for me...

Could you discuss the fact that there's something difficult to discusss and you've been stressed about how to do this? And maybe use something you've written before session as a back up to read out in session?

Regarding the email, if she listens to emails out loud she will do this in privacy with no one else around.. perhaps you could discuss all the options with her?
Thank you I appreciate it! I did bring it up last week when she asked if I had been feeling anxious about anything and she understood I was having a hard time talking about it. I ended up asking her if would be ok to send some of feelings I was having trouble talking about and we’re going to talk about them next week. I did include the part about inappropriate sexual feelings because that is one of the most embarrassing and distressing things for me. I want to learn how to make it go away or just feel better about it. I’m not sure I’ll feel ready to talk about it next week but I did at least get it out there. I kind of just spilled my guts in the email and let it all out so feeling nervous
 
Thank you appreciate it! I did bring it up last week when she asked if I’d been feeling anxious lately so I told her why and she understood that I was having trouble talking about it. I felt that I wasn’t able to say as much as I wanted so I did send her an email about some of the feelings I have about what happened. I did include the part about the inappropriate sexual feelings. I think that's the part that I am most ashamed and distressed about so I want to talk about it and learn to deal with it better or figure out how to make it go away. I may end up asking if we can hold out on talking about that though. I just kind of spilled my guts in that email lol.
I get this approach alot! And just remember you're in the driving seat... so now she has that info but you can bring it up when YOU want... and if you can't, you can ask her to instigate it...

Feeling nervous is such a normal response... totally textbook... and she'll be used to this type of response too... be open about it...

you're being really brave just going forward despite how difficult it is for you... keep going! And don't worry if it all slows down a bit...
 
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