Letters from a Christian, Slavic Therapist
You are here because you’ve set out on a journey to find peace, healing, and freedom. This journey is not an easy one but you’re not alone. I was in your shoes once and because of the grace of our Lord, I am now able to share my experiences with hearts like yours. So thank you for being here and joining me for the ride. You may wonder how I got here, let me tell you my story. I hope that it will give you hope and that one day you can share yours as well.
My family came to America from Ukraine as religious refugees due to experiencing persecution. I was three years old.
Growing up, our family looked really good on the outside, I even thought it was perfect. We served in church, always entertained guests, and read the Bible on weeknights.
I’m not sure what changed but the next part of the story is where the nightmares began.
…When I was 12 years old, I remember my father beating my brother for a reckless choice he made as a teenager. That day haunted me for years.
My perception of perfection was shattered.
The beatings continued through the years with my other brothers, only to fuel the fear, rage and confusion inside of me.
I asked myself, how did my father, who called himself a Christian use merciless corporal punishment on his beloved children? What happened to the man who used to be so loving? Why did my mom just stand around and watch without protecting them-without protecting us?
These questions set me on a life-changing journey to discover why people did what they did and where those desires to inflict pain came from…
Fast forward 8 years and I am sitting in my Psychology 101 class. That is when I first heard the word “abuse” being spoken about. It was defined as, “Treating a person with violence repeatedly.” That is exactly what I experienced for almost two decades.
I later discovered that it wasn’t just physical violence that I had endured and witnessed, it was also emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological pain that both of my parents inflicted on us that would leave their destructive scars all over our lives…
Hearing that definition opened Pandora’s box of questions and ultimately led me to seek my first therapist. I remember the chaos taking place in my mind and knew that I couldn’t handle it on my own. It wasn’t until I got engaged and was to be married that I realized that if I didn’t tell someone about the feelings and experiences I carried inside, I would kill myself.
Yes, you read that correctly. The cost of the emotional turmoil and trauma inside made me come to the point of wanting to end my life because the pain had gotten unbearable.
I went to the counseling office, all the while, struggling to accept my reality.
I booked my first session.
My thoughts tried going back and forth, deciding if this was really for me and if I was really “that broken” to seek help from someone other than a pastor.
Weeks later, there I was. Sitting across from a woman who asked me about my family history and a waterfall of tears broke through. It felt relieving to finally tell someone about the horror I experienced, it also hurt because I realized just how much I still had left to share.
Three sessions in, I understood that being a therapist is what I wanted to do with my future. I wanted to be the person that not only learned about the “whys” of behavior and thought patterns but also sat with individuals in their pain and helped them process and heal from it.
Fast forward three years, and God called me to do just that. I was accepted into a Master’s program for Marriage and Family Therapy and set out on a mission to help as many people as I could. God opened doors I couldn’t imagine which was to go back to my own Slavic people and work to destigmatize the topic of therapy, and help clients heal from abuse and trauma, one client at a time.
It has been a beautiful journey of healing since. I transitioned to my second therapist when my husband and I moved to Idaho where we now reside and the restoration continues…
This story is not in its entirety and maybe one day I’ll be able to write more about it. I pray that my God would use it to continue to soothe and heal the wounds of all those that have experienced the pain of abuse and were told to stay quiet about it and can’t anymore.
I tell my story for you dear reader, to encourage you to not only become aware of the resources available to you through therapy, but also share hope that there is a God that sees your tears, hears your cries, and will one day use your pain to receive praise.
If you are feeling broken, alone, rejected, confused, angry, and hopeless about your life, know that you are not alone. I have been there, sometimes the enemy still tries to take me there, but there is a God that is bigger than our past, bigger than our abusers, and bigger than the voice that says, “It will always be this way, you will never be free.”
Now I am not only free, I am CHOSEN, NOT FORSAKEN-I AM WHO HE SAYS I AM. If He can heal and restore me, He can heal you too.
Continue to follow my journey here on the blog and I will equip you with skills and tools to strengthen you and give you hope. And if you desire more intensive support, just reach out to me, and let’s start working together!