47-year-old Anna* first came to the House of Ruth Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) for help separating from a long-term abusive intimate partner. While she was able to separate from him within a few months, her subsequent work in therapy has focused on building up her sense of self after experiencing years of abuse.
Midway through the therapy work, however, the COVID-19 crisis hit and DVSC staff began working remotely. Despite this major challenge, Anna and her therapist didn’t miss a single therapy session, transitioning immediately to telehealth sessions and continuing their work. Interestingly, Anna has begun working on issues that she previously avoided discussing, such as anxiety in dating relationships, emotional regulation, childhood experiences, and her wishes to have a family of her own. As a result, she often remarks that she is no longer overwhelmed by her feelings like she used to be. Instead, she can experience feelings for what they are and let them inform her, rather than avoiding or suppressing them.
Anna often expressed surprise at the kind of therapy offered at the DVSC. In Anna’s own words: “I’m thankful for this kind of therapy…I initially thought this would be just action-oriented where you’d tell me what to do to get out of my relationship and that would be it. I had no idea I’d come out of it having a better sense of where I came from with the family stuff and also know how to deal with my emotions better. People I tell about this are always surprised!”
*Name has been changed.