When Mental Health Providers are not Helpful by Kylie Devi

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Kylie Devi

I am pleased to have guest writer Kylie Devi writing about Unhelpful Mental Health Providers this week at Emerging from Broken. Many of us have been through the mental health system with less than wonderful results. In this post Kylie shares examples of how helping professionals failed her in her quest to overcome the devastation of childhood sexual abuse and how she emerged victorious in spite of them.  ~ Darlene

 To Shrink? Or Not To Shrink… by Kylie Devi

 I have been raped, repeatedly. I have lived to tell my story. I healed by creating my own support systems, and not so much from psychology or therapy. I am sure there are many loving people with good intentions in the field, but the “system” is not set up for healing. The “get better” industry doesn’t thrive on people “getting better.” So for me, I realized I was going to have to take it into my own hands. I did whatever it took. And it took a lot. Writing, crying, sharing my story, connecting with anger, releasing guilt and shame. Forming bonds with people who deserved my trust. Simple things that seemed complicated at the time. That is what allowed my healing to occur.

 I made FOUR solid attempts at rape and crisis counseling. These experiences are comical to me now, but at the time they were re-traumatizing, life shattering, and felt like a second rape. I was addicted to drugs, destroying my relationships, and hanging on to my will to live by a piece of dental floss. I knew that childhood sexual abuse and rape in my teenage years was the root of why I was creating my life in such a way. I reached out for help where I could. Free county rape counseling, student rape crisis centers, expensive psychotherapy. Every time it was so hard to find the courage to ask for help when the previous counselor had either failed to create space for my experience to be real, thickening the denial I already had to deal with within myself, or practiced questionable therapeutic techniques. 

 I recount some of these experiences in a book I am currently writing called Love After Rape. The following three paragraphs are excerpts from this book:

 I wanted to talk to her. I really did. She was a counselor I went to see. I had twelve weeks with her. Twelve weeks to make her understand – to know where all the pain was coming from and how to heal it. By week six she said: “I have to fill out forms to track our progress together, in six weeks with you I have only gotten as far as where we should have been half way through the first session.” Paperwork. Everything was about paperwork, and progress, and moving forward, and being orderly. I could not feel. I just wanted to say “I can’t feel. Can you help me?” But I could not allow the broken notes to escape my locked throat, I wanted to say so badly. Every week I thought about that one hour and I knew that would be the week I could say it. The unspeakable, unsayable, unknowable, shameful thing. I could not, I was not willing, the words were not there. The words were scrambled, the memories. The twelfth week never came. One day she looked at me and said: “I wish I could help you.”

 I did try again, a few years later. I wanted someone to understand. I went to the free state or county funded therapy on the bus. Once again, I had twelve weeks. If I was really effed up, they would reapply at the end of my twelve weeks and see if I could qualify for more. I rode the bus for an hour each way, watching the town sink into itself, watching the filth and the gray of the city I will never call home buzz by. Watching the gray after gray finally turn into brick red and then it was my time to get off. The whole time my stomach was in knots. Could I say it, could I say? What would I say. My clever mind would plan the whole way. Plan it’s defense against the truth being seen, all the while wanting desperately for the truth to be seen. She was short, and had a face that reminded me of a bulldog. It looked out at me with a kind of meanness. A bulldog therapist with brown hair. She kept on telling me that I had anger, I have anger, I must have anger. I don’t have any anger, I have made my peace in the world, have found peace. Peace through marijuana and promiscuous sex. She sent me to Barnes and Noble to buy a book about shame. Healing the Shame that Binds You, by John Bradshaw. I was desperate. Bulldog or not, I needed her. I read it, cover to cover. I was proud of myself for doing so. The next time I got off the bus at the red brick building, and walked up the long flight of stairs, down the hallway that smelled like an attic and too many years of unfiled paperwork, yes, that time. She was not there. Something had happened to her. Instead, a chipper blonde bird lady was there. She said “I cannot tell you what happened to Mary, I cannot.” I hadn’t asked. She went on to say a whole lot of other things. She talked and talked. She did not ask me about the Bradshaw book I had in my hand. We made another appointment, even though not much had happened in this one. I went back the next week, on the bus, through the gray, up the stairs, same as before. She was ranting and ranting. Her son was too young to have a baby. His girlfriend had never even held one before. Did I see the Jodie Foster movie with the rape scene. Did I know how many times she said no in that movie? Did I wonder if I would be raped again? It could happen again. It could keep happening, again and again. This was therapy? She looked at me wide-eyed, at the edge of her seat, and talked, and talked and talked. I am glad someone was getting help.

 I tried one more time, years later. At college. My relationship was falling apart. My drug addiction was literally killing me. I went to the place on campus where they specialize in dealing with rape and sexual assault. I was tired of talking. I wrote a letter to the therapist. I told her everything. That I had been raped as a child, as an adult, that I was killing myself with drugs, that I couldn’t have sex with my fiancée without blacking out. I told her everything. She rustled through the papers quickly, clinically. She said, “You know, we can talk about the assault you experienced in high school. As far as childhood goes, I really don’t want to put ideas into your head.” Ideas into my head? I just told her what happened. It took so much, so much courage to share that. I could not even speak it. There were no ideas put into my head. There were penises put into my mouth. That was all I was trying to say. Even those who are meant to serve this population of me, of me’s, of the women and men who endured what I had, couldn’t speak. Even those specially trained and educated. They did not want to know. They did not want to hear about it. Why were they there? What were they doing there? I never saw her again. Later I learned about an “epidemic” of women accusing families of origin of sexual abuse that supposedly had never happened and it ruined those families. Therapists all over the country were suddenly afraid to touch it. Like it was rotting meat, stay away, don’t touch it, its raw. You could get an infection, a disease. Don’t ruin the families, protect those who abuse, protect their rights, they have them too. File your paperwork. Go home. Enjoy your house, your television. Collect your paycheck. Allow those you serve to suffer in silence, continue this for years. One day, before you die, in the last moment of your life, you will think to yourself. Maybe they were telling the truth. Maybe they had been raped by their fathers, their mothers, their brothers, their uncles. When they confronted their families, it tore their families apart. We were afraid to tear a family apart. Telling the truth is not what tore those families apart, and if it were not true, it would not have torn anyone apart. I will tell you what tore them apart. Sleep well. Enjoy your life.   

You know, I am no longer a drug addict. I no longer consider suicide, I value my life. I may have been victimized, but today, I am not a victim. I am thriving and living on purpose. The “get better” industry is not to credit for that. Not one bit. I healed myself, with the help of others who shared their struggles and their solutions. In the end, we are our own solutions. We all have everything we need inside of us, and within the communities we create, to live the life we are meant to.

Kylie Devi

NOTE: Kylie has written a follow up post ~ Breaking through the Fear of Speaking about Child Abuse

**As always, please feel free to contribute to this article with your own stories, feedback or comments.  ~ Darlene Ouimet ~ founder of Emerging from Broken

Kylie Devi is a writer and healing artist working with men and women who have survived sexual trauma. She offers an eight week course “Recovering the Spirit from Sexual Trauma” in Gainesville, FL, and is writing two recovery oriented books. Her passions are poetry, qigong, bodywork, and transformative communication. She can be contacted through her blog at www.kyliedevi.com

Related Posts ~ Official Notice to Oppressors, Abusers and Perpetrators

Emotional Healing does not depend on…………

112 response to "When Mental Health Providers are not Helpful by Kylie Devi"

  1. By: laura Posted: 18th April 2015

    In my country,therapists are entirely focused on giving medication.They usually do one or two sessions with the patient,with the only goal of putting a diagnoses.They do it no matter the patient’s problem:be it rape,emotional abuse or other.Unfortunately,the most horrific traumas are treated in the same way.I think the problem stems from what therapists study in university as students.They are given cold facts about the human brain,which medication is associated with which disease,and that’s about all.

    A good therapist should be human and capable of empathy first of all.A true professional goes to the root of the problem and heals the patient from the inside,by rewiring the brain.He teaches the patient how to live so as to feel happy and healthy.

  2. By: Tara Posted: 17th April 2015

    I feel both sad and mad when I hear about therapists getting it so badly wrong. I had a very bad experience with a female therapist and it put me off for years and years.

    My current therapist is a man, and he is brilliant. Not because he is some kind of genius but because he does the things every therapist should do.

  3. By: JP Posted: 15th February 2015

    Thank you for your bravery and strength in sharing your story. I too have a life-long story of abuse and have felt several pulls to work as a health coach with people who have suffered these traumas and stand up for victims in a world that celebrates the perpetrator. It’s a challenge where there is no support, but I thank you for your courage. I hope to one day be ready to share my story and overcome my fear of public speaking to share and help people overcome such a taboo topic.

  4. By: Katie Posted: 21st June 2014

    I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you, for this article. I am a survivor of familial abuse, and also a brand new professional. I was blessed to come in contact with capable and compassionate professionals when I sought help in my own healing process. It helps me to read criticism about helping professionals. It was especially moving to read about therapists not making space for your emotions, whether fear, disgust, or pain. And I am shocked and dismayed that they seemed to make the hour about themselves–paperwork, their own families, etc. The hour is about and for YOU. For you to be so invalidated, for them not to make space for YOUR TRUTH, that’s the antithesis to helping and professional. You had the courage to come talk to a complete stranger, then they tell you what you have to say isn’t true or isn’t appropriate or isn’t important. Unacceptable! This article and the comments gave me a lot of insight into what people need in a therapist. Thank you all for your perspectives!

  5. By: liz Posted: 4th June 2014

    I guess I’ve been lucky. I’ve been seeing a counselor now for just over 2 months. He’s been great. last week I shared with him about being sexually abused when I was very young. I too did it by writing it all out and sharing it. He not only validated what I told him, but when I acknowledged that I was probably not remembering things well because I was so young, he even told me that the way I remembered things was probably more important than if something happened differently.

    it’s been incredibly freeing.

  6. By: Lisa Hendrics Posted: 8th November 2013

    In response to Karen’s story, that is great! I had no idea that therapists went this far, until I finally saw a therapist when dealing with my aged father. You see, I had to take in the abuser for a whole year, he was now losing his memory and brother thought to make a nice profit by him selling the house and me taking dad in for zero. But then, I think my parent’s abuse of my brother for years left him totally heartless. That is the danger of abuse that goes unchecked. In my brother’s case it was verbal abuse but it left him without a soul I think. They turned him against his own sister, the only one that helped him when he was a kid. My therapist also heard this stuff “matter of factly”. What a great choice of words. I also did the same thing! I thought all this stuff was normal! I asked the therapist if she could give me a rating from 1 – 10 of how screwed up was this family compared to the thousands of other sad stories she had heard, and she told me 10! That totally shocked me. I had no idea it was this bad. I just thought I was whining. Anyway, this therapist talked to my husband and instructed him not to allow me to even pick up the phone when these people will call, and she warned they will call to screw my life again!

    5 years after dad left, he was living near my brother and I never even got a thank you for all the money I spent putting him into his own apartment. Since they were going to cash in selling that house, I wasn’t spoken to. So I get a call from a policeman saying my dad is in a hospital because they found him confused in the street. That was the day my grandaughter was being born! Imagine, they did want to screw up my life. THe policeman told me my brother had not kept the apartment clean and that my father needed care. I told him I lived too far in another state (truth) and my brother lived 10 minutes form dad and owned his condo, so gave him my brother’s number and hung up.

    It was just like the therapist said, they were going to drag me into the insanity as soon as they figured they could make a buck from me.

    I thank all therapists for helping people beyond what we pay them by the hour. It’s terrific.

  7. By: Karen K. Posted: 8th November 2013

    Hello Everyone,

    Just wanted to make a quick comment on one of my experiences with professional help, which I didn’t realize at the time because I had gone in for some education counselling; not sure what field of work/study I wanted to pursue my education in…
    The guidance counsellor started asking specific personal questions about my life at home, which I thought was odd but then realized that she probably just wanted a picture of who I was, in order to get a better idea of how to help me with my future plans.(In hindsight now, I think she had certain intuitions where I was concerned). I answered her questions matter-of-factly, because I thought she didn’t need to hear the gory details of everything, but in my being so matter-of-fact like with my responses, the counsellor burst out crying and told me that I needed to get out of the house because the relationship I had with my mother was NOT normal…and she got that from just the few simple things I was saying. My treating it all as normal to deal with, frightened her and she even went as far as to help me get out of the house and find me my own place to live. WOW! I realized that I must have brought up some triggers for her and recognizing the signs in me, made her want to help me as much as she could. I am thankful to her for that, because getting out of the house was exactly what I needed to further emancipate and heal myself. So, in the end, I ended up taking psychology at university, to better understand myself, people, human behaviour and I used every possible resource within the field and elsewhere in other cultures to begin my healing journey. I do not practice psychology professionally but it has certainly helped me more in understanding human behaviour. My own healing journey has brought me to wanting to help others in theirs however I can; thus passing it forward just like my guidance counsellor had all those years ago…
    Cheers to those FEW people who cross our paths and really do have our best interests at heart.

    Karen

  8. By: DXS Posted: 1st November 2013

    But what I would point out to the young poster who is 33 is that she will receive some sort of brain jolt at 50 or past menopause. I don’t know what the mechanism is, but memories of childhood become more vivid. As if they go from the bottom to the surface.

    VOUCH FOR THAT! That is what happened to me. I’m almost 58 and first confronted my Mom when I was 51. Yeppers, I was in denial, to include living 3,000 miles away to “Deny” it. When I was a kid and I went to, say, summer camp, I hated having to go home.

  9. By: Lisa Hendricks Posted: 1st November 2013

    Denial is always typical in dysfunctional families. I wrote an article on Oxygen about my own dysfunction. In my case, the memories of childhood included beatings, beltings and horrid verbal abuse. What happens to the brain, when you still maintain a family relationship with your abusers is that the memories are there, but something is saying “not that bad, you are exaggerating” internally. You yourself are denying.

    But what I would point out to the young poster who is 33 is that she will receive some sort of brain jolt at 50 or past menopause. I don’t know what the mechanism is, but memories of childhood become more vivid. As if they go from the bottom to the surface.

    When this happened to me I confronted mom and dad and asked why they thought it necessary to punish a 5 year old with belts, beatings, and horrible verbal abuse? Denial was of course the answer. Fortunately I had an aunt and others who had actually witenessed the abuse, and I spent years neglected by these people who left the country and left me with relatives. The same pattern then repeated by their son, whom they molded to be like themselves. There was always verbal abuse. My aunt who tried to interfere and save me, was called “the crazy one”. When I tried to confront them I was “the crazy one”. In their minds a person who takes a belt to a skinny 5 year old is not crazy.

    After years of trying to pretend they were good people in my head, and feeling guilty for secretely hating them, my brain did me a huge favor at 50. I moved on. You see,you can’t inject memories of childhood into someone. Even the Nazis couldn’t do it. What happened to you is recorded vividly in your cells.

    I say to anyone that has endured this abuse, it is never too late,and “it didn’t happen” or “so what it happened long ago” are not excuses. I believe they can do jail even years later. Don’t get bullied into not telling. Save that child inside of you, give her or him justice because that child could not defend herself.

    But just getting it out of your system and declaring it to the world, and damn how they feel is liberating and will help others. They should have thought of the consequences when they abused a child.

    I lost my parents, finally they thought they might take revenge by giving all the cash to my brother and not talking to me. They were punished because my brother dumped one of them on me, and took all their cash. It was pretty awful, but they reaped what they sowed. My brother suffered in other ways from their mind games.

    In the end, brother took them both and they died 2 years after he sold their house and took every penny. I don’t think they were happy. I wasn’t invited to the funeral and could not force myself to shed a tear. Remember that I was OK with my parents from age 13 to 23 and thought I had forgiven the early abuses. But it doesn’t work that way.

    I was glad they suffered for what they did to me as a child. I was helpless then and they had no right.

  10. By: Lily Posted: 11th May 2013

    Darlene & Kylie: Thank you!

    Darlene, My therapist responded to my voice mail and booked a Monday appt. Any advice on how to approach this constructively? Therapist has a P.H.D. I was referred to this person by one of the authors of a pretty well known book so I assumed this person’s approach was in alignment with the group of authors view points. It was only the 2nd session so I might be overly sensitized right now and responding to this from that place instead of a place of calm.
    Also, I will look up your info & get in touch about June.

    Thanks again and in advance for any additional help.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th May 2013

      I Lily,
      I don’t really give advice but I look forward to hearing from you.
      Hugs, Darlene

  11. By: Kylie Posted: 11th May 2013

    Hi Lily,

    Thanks for being here and reading my story.

    I see that Darlene has offered to work with you, and I have also worked with her on my trauma issues. It was actually the last time I needed any coaching or professional help, since then I’ve been able to manage it myself and with my close friends when issues still come up. So that is a sign of a great coach, someone who empowers you to be able to be your own coach!

    I’m glad you are willing to keep moving forward on your healing journey. You deserve it.

    Much Love,

    Kylie

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th May 2013

      Hi Kylie
      Wow, what an endorsement! Thank you so much.
      You made my day today through your assessment of my passion and purpose; My goal is exactly that; to teach others to coach themselves. To teach a method that can be used over and over again to resolve the false belief system that has developed through the things that we experienced as children.
      Hugs, Darlene

  12. By: Lily Posted: 11th May 2013

    At Vicki, March 19 5:51 PM: EXACTLY!

  13. By: Lily Posted: 11th May 2013

    Thanks for this blog. Recently, I decided to go to therapy (again). Armed with tons more information this time, I was referred to someone who specializes in sexual abuse and ritual sexual abuse. After two sessions, I’m finding that I’m back in the talk therapy format and feeling tortured by the drudging up of trauma. Headaches and stomach aches from the past are back full force and I’m left to deal with the side effects of all of that drudging up of the things that happened. Before I entered into therapy, I researched a bit. I felt that EMDR and CPTSD therapies might be best for me. After the 2nd therapy session, I began to suspect, that my therapist might be like a hair stylist who went to school 20 years ago, gives adequate hair cuts but hasn’t tweaked the approach by submitting to ongoing training. I’ve referred to several of the techniques I thought might be helpful. I’ve mentioned many books that I have read on the subject. There is no recognition of any of them, much less a discussion. I didn’t want the same old same old to happen again, which is my head is cracked open and the albumen and yolk are running out all while the therapist hands me a card for my next hour long appt. next week. I’m really not looking for commiseration here as much as I am truly looking for ideas or referrals to any professional who might partner with me on this healing journey vs making me feel like I’m one of many in a large petri dish.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 11th May 2013

      Hi Lily
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      I work one on one with individuals all over the world on the phone or on Skype through a coaching format. If you are interested in more information about that, please email me through the contact form here. I have an opening coming up in mid to late June.
      hugs, Darlene

  14. By: Kylie Posted: 22nd April 2013

    Hi Lora!

    Thanks for sharing.

    Bless you too.

    Much Love,

    kylie

  15. By: Lora Posted: 22nd April 2013

    That was absolutely brilliant and well expressed. Could not agree with you more. It was when I took my healing into my own hands that my real healing began. I love these stores of hope, courage and strength and I am so grateful when people discover their real worth and value.

    If we all keep sharing we will all be healed, this I know to be true.

    Bless all of you on your healing journey!

  16. By: Mel Posted: 13th April 2013

    Some people who are victims of the type of organized bullying called gangstalking, can’t seem to get good mental health professionals. They are either nasty and sarcastic in the beginning or if they seem to be helpful in the beginning, they soon change and become nasty and sarcastic. There is something very strange going on with the gangstalking and very strange how so many people can be so rude and nasty to the victims even when they go someplace they have never been and no one knows them, they still run into people who are so mean and rude to them. Does anyone know what is going on and how a person becomes a victim of gangstalking in the first place and how to make it stop. They are bullied, harassed and abused by so many people including the police, firemen, ctiy hall, etc even postal workers and librarians,

  17. By: Anetta Posted: 7th February 2013

    Thank You Kylie:)

  18. By: Kylie Posted: 6th February 2013

    Hi Anetta,

    I hear that you are frustrated and angry with the system as you experience it in your country and I totally understand!

    I’m glad that you are here. A major part of my healing has happened because of the freedom to express in these forums, and knowing that people are here, and they understand.

    Kylie

  19. By: Anetta Posted: 4th February 2013

    i’ve just have enough so called psychologists, therapists or whoever they are who live in my country and who I met since I started searching for help.They weren’t supportive, there was not truth at all or in a half but it didn’t help me at all. I’ve just looked at my facebook friend’s page and she put up an article about a famous person who said publicly: there is no good parenting without spanking kids. My friend got angry and she shaid it should be banned and that man is reponsible for crime and should be punished, And I found comment by her “friend”, who works on Blue line( which is a call line for victims of abuse in Poland) that she is getting angry without any reason, because he didn’t anythink wrong!! “He just expressed his own opinion, and maybe controversial” bu he’s right to do it!! and the abuse in measured by its consequences, isn’t equal to what he did, and he didn’t do anything, just tell his own opinion!!” and” we can’t forbid anybody to express his own opinion just to talk to sombody, discussing the “problem’.” And expressing sbdys opinion and discussing it is how problem should be resolved and we live in a free country. I was devastated , I feel like I ‘m afraid again and couldn’ stand for myself never more and for other victims too, because I forbid sbdy a right to his own”opinion” and we live in free country etc etc e.tc and in her words its revolution (what i do)not evolution, what she said she does. I mailed to our site ” I love . I dont spank” but I was told that even Alice Miller said that violent people had violent childhood. I assume that she only understand from A.M. books that abusers were abused too, nothing else -that a therapist should not justify a abuser, not at all!!and also it was proved that abuser is maniputative and and very well know what he does to me and also has the great sick satisfaction from it. But she said” she cant’t write it, because it doesn’t resolve the problem and will scare abusers and parents . and” people get angry , getting mad about it, telling “bed about other “parents-but what does it change”? -she asked me. I feel im wrong after that situation, i know when I will meet abuse it will be hard to me to stand up for children right because of that fucking situation. I feel like Iwasn,t right and i dont.t have right to stand up for victim’s right. It . has made such a mess in my mind. I also read a comment on this side below a picter of that “famous person” which was-like :”asshole, bustard”. But She -that psychologis immediately responded” don’t offend anybody in that side”It weakened me so much, i just have such mess , I feel sick with it. In Poland they are not supportive but manipulative and talk whatever they want , they screw up what you want , and screw up victim’s rights, they say what their mothet/father put to his/her head is covinient to them and isn’t true and don’t want to change!!

  20. By: Kylie Posted: 24th January 2013

    MZC & Darlene – Agreed!
    so true…
    Glad you have healed MBZ.
    Would love to hear more about how you did!

    Much Love,

    Kylie

  21. By: MZC Posted: 23rd January 2013

    Yeah, I went to see mental health providers. None of all the therapies helped, until I figured out all by myself what was wrong.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 24th January 2013

      Hi MZC
      We are so convinced that the only way to heal is with ‘therapy’ but I have come to believe that it is through seeing the truth about what happened and learning to fill the voids that were left in us for ourselves, that healing takes place.
      Hugs, Darlene

  22. By: Kylie Posted: 25th September 2012

    Hi Courtenay!

    I am open to connecting with you in this comment thread!

    If it is something more personal the best way is to connect with me on Facebook. 🙂

    Kylie

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 9th October 2012

      Hi Everyone,
      Kylie had some ‘unexpected results’ when she wrote this post 9 months ago ~ even though this post was about her difficulties fining professional help from mental health providers, she was contacted and confronted by 2 of her abusers. Today, Kylie writes the follow up post to this one about what happened, how it shut her down for a bit and then how she overcame it and took her life back!

      Please read the new post ~ there is so much inspiration and insight into how the cycle of abuse works and how it can be overcome and stopped! ~ here is the link; “Breaking Through the fear of Speaking about Child Abuse by Kylie Devi”
      See you there!
      Hugs, Darlene

  23. By: Courtenay Gueta Posted: 25th September 2012

    I would like to get in touch with Kylie — the website link is not working. Do you have any other contact info you can pass along?

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 25th September 2012

      Hi Courtenay
      I will pass this comment along to Kylie.
      Darlene

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