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What happens here, stays here. That's literally the first and foremost rule of counseling, okay? Unless someone's life (including yours) is in danger, counseling is the most private and confidential exchange you'll ever have. After working in social work, CPS, inpatient facilities, veterans and first responders, and now corrections for the past 15 years, I can't say that nothing will ever surprise me... but I can say that my ability to encompass a massive amount of shame has only increased. So, please... bring it. 

That being said, what never ceases to amaze me is when people try to minimize their pain. There's no sliding scale for trauma. What constitutes trauma is what an event leaves you with. It could be a bad, sucking chest wound that you couldn't stop or a bad break up with someone you were really in love with... Both can leave you with a sense of powerlessness or betrayal. Both are valid. 

What I have also noticed is that how many people try to shield their own therapist from their past as a protective mechanism. As a military family, I've encountered this with my own partner. The thought behind it is often, "I'm already saddled with this, why should someone else be?" And while I can understand this, please... this is literally the safest environment you can have. Therapists are trained on how to deal with trauma; and how to deal with hearing someone else's emotional baggage. I call it The Emotional Garbage Dump. My job is to help you take out the trash.. Then, later, I empty out my own dumpster on my own time. It's a thing. 

And individual session is... well, individualized. But some of the things are pretty constant: safe and non-judgmental, but also structured. We set goals together, so that we will always have something to strive for; we will sit with the uncomfortable so that it can be felt and processed - but also worked through. We will create an environment where you can find new and creative ideas to work through any challenge you're facing. Therapy isn't meant to last forever, but it can go as long as you need it to.  

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