Step Eighteen Professional Help
  1. Confronting your parents/abusers is an issue that will require the committed involvement of your therapist in helping you sort out what you want to do and how you want to do it. Planning any kind of confrontation about the abuse, be it a meeting or simple discussion with your parents/abusers, will benefit from a full and complete airing of feelings, doubts, expectations and hopes. You will need the outside perspective of your therapist to make the best decision.
  2. If you wrote answers to the questions posed in Self-Help item 3 in your journal, discuss them with your therapist. Together you may be able to reach a conclusion, based on your writings, doubts, feelings, hopes and expectations.
  3. Sometimes it is helpful to invite your parents, family or abusers into your individual therapy for a session or more to discuss and work out selected conflicts with the help of your therapist. This would temporarily change the format and focus of your individual therapy, although you and your therapist would already have an established alliance. You should be aware, though, that family therapy is not necessarily advisable or possible, given varying circumstances and attitudes of the persons involved. Adding your parents, family or abusers to your therapy sessions would pose an ethical conflict for your therapist, at least initially. Obviously, any consideration of such a plan must stem from your desire for it and your belief that it would be productive. Your therapist would also have to agree that the benefits of such an arrangement would outweigh the possible detriment.

    If family therapy is your goal, then you will need to do a lot of preliminary planning as to what you want to say, what your goals are, and how you will deal with challenges to your point of view. If more extensive family work is indicated and/or acceptable, you probably would want to find a separate family therapist who could be more neutral than your individual therapist. In general, therapy of this sort is most likely to be successful when your parents/abusers have done some work on themselves or at least have admitted that they made a mistake.
  4. Discuss with your therapist what you think and feel about the issue of forgive- ness. Explore what feels right to you and your reasons for feeling that way. Be aware that feelings about forgiveness, like any other symbol of resolution, may shift over time.
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Survivor to Thriver, Page 116
© 2007 THE MORRIS CENTER, Revised 11/06