You can’t deal with a domestic violence crisis or the long and hard healing journey alone. Broken to Brilliant strongly recommends that survivors seek additional professional support. A counsellor, psychologist, psychotherapist, or psychiatrist can provide that extra and needed support alongside the programs and services we offer.
On the journey of rebuilding after abuse, seeking multiple forms of support will help you heal as a whole person.
Dr Carolyn Russell, General Practitioner and Counsellor, and co-founder of Foundations Counselling Centre taught the group of survivors during our Blogging STARS self-care education session.
We learned about the importance of support and the different types of support provided by various people and services.
The meaning of support
The Merriam Webster dictionary definition of support includes: to promote the interests or cause of, to assist or help, or to keep something going.
Have you heard how hard it is to seek support?
These are my real-life, recent examples of what I have been through to seek support.
It's not as easy as picking up the phone and making an appointment.
Support can cost between $60-$180 per hour for counselling or $150-$260 for a psychologist.
If you can’t afford to pay for counselling or psychological support, an alternative is to visit your general practitioner (if you can get an appointment) and seek a mental health care plan. You can receive a Medicare rebate on up to 6 sessions at a time.
When phoning for an appointment:
You may find that many services have waiting lists.
They may ask you to complete an intake questionnaire and ask whether you have 30 minutes to answer their questions, or you might be able to complete the questionnaire online.
You may need to meet the eligibility criteria to attend.
After completing their 30-minute questionnaire, you might receive an email letting you know that you do not even meet their criteria. Then, the search for a support service starts again.
If and when you find a service where you can afford the costs and you meet their criteria, next, you need to find a person you can work with.
Do they understand domestic & family violence and coercive control? Not all support people do, which is a problem.
Factors that may be important to you may include cultural background, philosophical approach, therapeutic techniques, age, gender and more.
When you are recommended to seek a support provider, you need to know that it is not always easy to find the right type of support. When looking back at the definition of support, you may ask: is the system set up to provide support?
In fact, it is so darn hard you might get to the point where you feel like giving up. You might want to yell:
What’s the point! It’s too hard!!
Seeking support is increasing my anxiety!!!!
So, why persevere?
From years of experience, I know the benefit of good one-on-one counselling support, crisis support, group support, more one-on-one support and telephone counselling and mentoring.
Seeking support has numerous benefits, I felt listened to, understood, and not alone. From group sessions, I have made lifelong friends. The support allowed me to get my concerns off my chest in a safe place. This helped me to stop ruminating and to put things in perspective.
Finding the right support provider for you is like climbing a mountain. It is a difficult journey to get there. But it will be worth the effort when you reach the summit.
Blogging STARS program
This Blog is a part of the Broken to Brilliant Blogging STARS self-care program, which supports domestic violence survivors to practise the self-care strategies of Sleep, Tapping, Activity, Regulation and Support, (STARS). As they practise the strategies, they blog about it. You can read their survivor STARS Blogs: