Healing Relationship Wounds in Therapy

“We are born in relationship, we are wounded in relationship, and we can be healed in relationship. – Dr. Harville Hendrix”

We have all experienced feeling hurt by someone we trusted or cared for. This hurt may have been due to being disappointed, betrayed or abandoned by someone. Attending counseling can be an avenue to help heal and restore trust and openness after a relationship rupture has occurred. In therapy, you will develop a therapeutic relationship with your counselor. Choosing a therapist you can feel comfortable and open with is critical. Many research studies indicate that the relationship between the counselor and client is paramount in having positive therapeutic outcomes.

Selecting new relationships, including with a professional relationship with a counselor, is influenced by your past experiences. Sometimes those who have experienced trauma may avoid relationships which remind them of their abusive partner, parent, or former friend. It would be understandable, for example, that a person who has been mistreated by men be hesitant to enter a therapeutic relationship with male therapist, given concerns another man may either inflict further mistreatment or remind them of past trauma. This is where the therapeutic relationship differs from the casual relationship. It is by entering into a therapeutic relationship with someone who may resemble a past source of mistreatment, that an emotionally healing experience of their trauma can occur. I have observed the apprehension of an injured person, meeting me for the first time with skepticism in their eyes. With time, they were able to create a supportive and safe relationship with their therapist. The initial hesitation was replaced by the corrective experience of therapy resulting from a trusting and nurturing relationship one may have never had with certain significant people in their lives.

Those who experience anxiety, depression, trauma, identity development concerns, or low self-esteem can often relate to some life experiences which they are seeking to overcome. Such experiences often involve relationships, some with obvious trauma, and some whose effects are more subtle. Therapists pay particular attention to the relational dynamics of those who have been injured in relationships, and, by demonstrating trust, acceptance, and an ability to understand the depth of such an individual, the therapist provides a different, more adaptive and healthy emotional experience. A female therapist can correct the trauma inflicted by an abusive or authoritarian mother, and such can happen with male therapists treating those who have experienced trauma from their father, a male romantic partner, or a male who enacted violence towards them. This type of depth therapy is particularly restorative across gender identities and sexual orientations to address the judgement and mistreatment such individuals often experience from cis gendered, heterosexual, or members of oppressive groups.

To be emotionally held, nurtured, accepted, supported, encouraged, understood, and to truly be known by your therapist is what one can expect in therapy. These are often the exact areas many are avoiding and the source of one’s hesitation to begin therapy. I encourage you to face that struggle and learn to grow with the corrective emotional experience your therapist offers. Another avenue for healing relationships is through group therapy. Read more about group here.

At Sage Wellness we provide individual, couples and group therapy for Gainesville, Florida and via telehealth with Florida residents. Contact us today to schedule your first appointment and continue on your path of more meaningful, healthy relationships.

Written by Dr. Blair German, Psychologist at Sage Wellness.

Call Us Text Us