My name is Tobi, and I recently did my counselling therapy internship at Laura Gatien and Associates. One of the greatest therapy experiences this winter was attending the First Responders Peer Support Group on Wednesdays from 6-8. Initially, I went as a therapist, hoping to share some knowledge on the research behind supporting those who have experienced trauma. However, the warm welcome and invitation to be part of the conversation quickly made me feel at home. That’s the power of peer support…a deep level of connection…like finding your tribe that speaks your language… a communal language of suffering that not many others can understand. And suddenly, you realize that you are not alone.
We have all heard the saying: “The sickness is in the secrets.” When we are stuck because we feel alone in our suffering, mental health concerns can snowball into mental illness. But how do you know when it’s time to get help?? It may be time to reach out when your thoughts, feelings, behaviours, and/or bodily sensations become troublesome enough to impact your daily life and routines. You may also notice that you need to “self-medicate” with alcohol or drugs to relax, or those close to you may share that they are worried about the changes that they are seeing.
Joining a group may not be the first stage of your recovery, though. Finding a mental health clinician who specializes in trauma might be the first step. Your therapist can apply many empirically supported types of treatment depending on your specific needs and their training. Having said this, remember that it is not human nature to click with every person you encounter in life, so give yourself permission to try out a few therapists before you find the one best suited for you and your needs.
And have hope. Research tells us that therapy, whether it be group or individual, can help you heal. I know it can be hard to ask for help and talk about your trauma, but you are brave and strong… that’s how you emotionally and mentally morph from a victim to a survivor.
We’re here when you feel ready to talk either in person, on the phone, or online. We have several therapists taking on new clients. We also offer free and low-cost options with our interns. Book your appointment here or call 506-651-1239.