Healing Stories: From Rape to Forgiveness

For the past 27 years, as a counselor and a master life coach, number one best-selling author, I’ve experienced so many incredible healing’s in my work. I’ve seen incredible transformations of people going from the caterpillar to the butterfly. It is amazing.

And nothing may be more amazing than the story of healing I’m about to share with you here.

A number of years ago a woman came to me, nine years after being brutally raped and left for dead. They never caught the rapist. So for nine straight years she lived in terror… Agoraphobic, she never left her house… She was on multiple medications for anxiety, depression, and a sleep disorder.

When she walked into the office and sat down she was a nervous wreck, as expected. Here she was sitting in front of a male counselor, the first male counselor she had ever worked with, trying to talk about an event that had traumatized her deeply nine years prior.

After working with a number of other counselors, and still not seeing the success she wanted, I was her final hope. I didn’t know that at the time but I was about to find out that this could be one of the greatest challenges I had ever faced in my years of doing the work as a counselor and coach.

I asked during the first session if any of the previous counselors had worked with her in something that we call “desensitization therapy”.

In other words had they helped her to process the experience from the beginning to the end of what happened on that terrible night in order to bring that experience down in regards to our emotional response.

With this type of work, we have to move extremely slowly. Any form of PTSD from near drowning’s, to being beaten in relationships, raped, returning from war, recovering from an auto accident, needs to be done in a very patient and slow way.

So after a few weeks I gave her the first assignment, with a loving voice, that I would like her to begin to recall the rape experience in writing. I gave her detailed instructions to try to take some of the pressure off but at the same time letting her know that I would be here with her as many days as she needed me walking through this experience together.
She would never be alone in her healing.

While she was hesitant at first she did catch on and started to write on a daily basis about the experience.

When she would come in week after week I would ask her to read what she had written and of course at first it was a terrifying experience for her. But in the safety of my office, and with an open heart, I gently nudged her and told her that in the world of desensitization, what were trying to do is take a horrific experience from the past and to write about it so many times that it simply becomes a fact of life. When we get to that level we can move forward in life never forgetting the trauma from the past but being able to now finally deal with it in a way that is respectful, releasing, and healing all at the same time.

We were together for approximately one year. Halfway through the experience she was talking about that fateful night with a tone that would be equivalent to someone talking about what they ate for dinner the night before. We had reached a huge level of success. She was absolutely shocked at the progress she had made in just a simple six months.

By the eighth month she was moving off of all of her medication, along with her doctors understanding, she was starting to take smaller and smaller dosages of her antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and sleep pharmaceuticals. At the end of the year she was totally free of all medications! We had gone through a written process of desensitization even into an area she never thought she would reach… The forgiveness of her rapist .

When I tell this story to audiences people are absolutely shocked that individuals can move forward after an extreme PTSD experience like this into a place of health and happiness.
But the healing isn’t done by me. I am simply the facilitator, asking questions and giving assignments.

My clients must be willing to go into the discomfort… Into the pain… To release it. This brave woman did everything I asked of her and at the end of our time together she was a radically different person.

As they say on television commercials I wouldn’t recommend that anyone try to do this by themselves at home. If you have experienced an incredibly stressful or traumatic event even from 50 years ago reach out and ask for a counselor to take you through the steps necessary to reach your own level of healing.

It’s easy to make mistakes in these type of exercises so rely on someone else to take you through it.

Here are a few things to think about if you have faced trauma in your past or even in your present experience:

Number one. Millions of people before you have made the choice to do the hard work to heal. It’s not easy. I don’t want anyone to think that you can just make up your mind to forgive someone and it will happen. It really does take a full commitment.

Number two. Be patient with yourself. Let me repeat this. Be extremely patient with your own healing. To take 12 months of counseling to heal from something so traumatic is not unusual. As a matter of fact I worked with another woman a number of years ago with an extreme trauma in her past and it took us two years to reach the same level of freedom. Be patient.

You deserve the life you desire. I am so proud of the client that I’m talking about today, her persistence, perseverance, resilience, that led to her being completely free from the past. She’s a walking miracle and you can be too.

David Essel is a number one best-selling author, counselor, master life coach and inspirational speaker. If you would like help in overcoming any challenge you’re currently facing in life, simply visit www.davidessel.com