Wishing you and your's a happy holiday filled with rest, relaxation, comfort and love.
I work with a lot of survivors of narcissistic abuse -- those who have become entangled with a toxic individual in work, family or love relationships. As a psychotherapist, I take my work very seriously. Often, survivors present with symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and C-PTSD (Complex- PTSD). Recovery is a long and winding road which requires a strengths-focused approach from a licensed psychotherapist who has been trained in treating trauma recovery.
I am happy to see that more information is available now more than ever on the web about narcissistic abuse and healing. However, I get really concerned when I see individuals hanging their shingle as "life coaches", with absolutely no training on the delicate, complicated clinical nuances of the healing journey. Just because a person is a survivor does not make them qualified to be a life coach, providing support for other survivors. It is great survivors are blogging about their experiences and opening up forums and resources for others. However, recovery from narcissistic abuse falls squarely in the category of psychotherapy...NOT life coaching. Life coaching can be a helpful adjunct to psychotherapy, but it does not replace clinical intervention. Life coaching is meant to assist people who are already feeling well and just want to amplify their wellness by reaching specific goals --
If you are a survivor and need support for healing from narcissistic abuse, please research very carefully the helping professional you are choosing to work with. Find out how they were trained, find out what qualifies them to help YOU through your healing process. If you are experiencing PTSD, C-PTSD, depression or anxiety, you need to see a licensed psychotherapist (LMFT, LCSW, PhD, PsyD) who specializes in trauma recovery and narcissistic abuse healing. Life coaching can be a helpful adjunct, but it does not address these clinical conditions. Any life coach who claims to treat these clinical conditions is practicing illegally and unethically and is out of their scope, unless they are also a licensed psychotherapist trained in these areas of therapeutic intervention. A life coach who "treats" these clinical conditions (who is not a licensed therapist) can cause great harm to survivors. It's like a person hanging a shingle saying they are a doctor when they've had no medical training. Would you go see that person for surgery? I think not... Buyer beware....
In addition, survivor forums can be helpful -- however, I also see a lot of toxicity and perpetuation of bullying and power/control issues on some forums, which further causes harm to survivors. The survivor must be discerning. If he/she feels unsafe emotionally in an online forum, then it's important to remove oneself from that forum. Most often, some of these forums are not moderated by licensed professionals. Some moderators perpetuate the very same abuse online that they claim to help people with...
Furthermore, the holidays can be a time when survivors are feeling particularly raw and vulnerable -- please seek qualified help from a licensed practitioner who can address the intricate healing process of narcissistic abuse recovery.
Please check out my interview with Kristin Sunata Walker of everythingehr.com on narcissism and sex. Follow the interview here
During times of trauma and anxiety, whether stemming from personal life circumstances (loss, abuse, etc) or global trauma (hearing about terrorism, mass shootings, etc), we need to connect with our inner resources of healing and comfort. Art interventions can be very helpful in expressing what is difficult to put into words, thereby releasing trauma. Please see my article, entitle Expressive Arts As a Means to Heal Trauma, published by goodtherapy.org for some tips, suggestions, and resources to help in reducing stress during times of trauma and anxiety. Here is there link.
Andrea Schneider, MSW, LCSW