When I was in graduate school we would talk about how as helping professionals after you (metaphorically) pull people out of the river enough times you start wondering what or who is throwing them in up-stream. This is an analogy that is becoming very vivid in my work these days. I see so many people in this area with similar diagnosis. I keep wondering what is it that gives them these common diagnosis's.
I can't for sure say that there is more sexual abuse and violence here than other parts of the country of course, but there is a lot of it. I knew this would be the case due to the poverty and powerlessness of many in this rural mountainous area. I knew that hurt people hurt people but I am now seeing up close families with three or four generations of sexual abuse, trauma, violence, anger issues.
I work with clients who are from age 4 to 18 years old. Some days I sit in front of a client while he describes blacking out when angry and realizing later he has beat someone's head in, or a client who talks about how she has coped with her multiple rapes from family and non-family with addictions and violence and I think -- How is this person going to find healing? Because their parents and their grandparents and probably their great grandparents had similar issues. Plus there is a culture that you don't talk about these things, even though that is the very thing that needs to happen.
What is throwing these people in up-river? How is it possible that humans can hurt children this bad? Children are innocent. It's all so overwhelming.
Not to wax spiritual or anything but I do sense something evil sometimes has been invited into some of these families. And I know for sure that no amount of training is going to prepare me to ever fix any family. I can give them some tools and copings skills. But, like they say: "No one ever changes, a counselors job is just to help people accept who they are and be the best 'them' they can be." Of course that means seeing oneself and one's family fully including all the pain and gunk and goriness. And that.... that is not easy.