23 year-old Ashley* sought counseling at House of Ruth’s Domestic Violence Support Center (DVSC) after an incident with her then-boyfriend, an incident which she was having difficulty processing on her own. Ashley had no history of counseling and was, in her own words, “very bad” at emotional language. Ashley struggled with labeling and acknowledging her emotions, an issue which created many problems for her throughout her life, including stunted relationships and poor boundaries with others.
Over the course of her work at the DVSC, Ashley has been able to develop an emotional vocabulary and to recognize and label emotions as she experiences them. Using her new awareness, Ashley has also been able to examine past events and process them more productively.
Most recently, Ashley and her counselor have begun working through some highly traumatic events from her past that Ashley admits have gone unacknowledged in any meaningful way until this point in her life. She has formed a strong working bond with her DVSC counselor and attends her weekly sessions devotedly, despite acknowledging that she finds the process challenging and uncomfortable.
*Name has been changed.