May 10, 2022
By Tamara Elliott, MSW, RSW
“I came to the clinic by referral from my doctors, who advised me that I qualify for this program because I had been sexually assaulted. I had reservations because a few years ago I had been referred to a group program in downtown Toronto which turned out to be a really bad experience. The program was run very rigidly and I found myself extracted from participating because I couldn’t attend a specified time frame for an appointment due to a conflict with my work. In the end I was treated like a number to fill a seat without any human compassion for my individual needs and I was simply removed and told I could be placed on another waiting list.
When I came to this clinic last year I was intimidated by that bad experience. I told this to my counsellor, Tamara, who immediately put my mind at ease and reassured me that it would not happen to me with this program. We started the sessions, at first, I was so drained after each session that I simply ended up going to sleep for the remainder of those days. So, we adjusted the frequency of the sessions to give me time to recover my energies.
At first it felt like I was talking a lot and not really knowing where I was going with it all, but it just felt good to talk about things that were happening in real time. Tamara offered invaluable insights into my situations as they were fairly complex – from family issues like my brother who lived in his car, and another one who was homeless for a decade; personal issues with my difficult marriage and the terrible effects on my four now grownup children; professional issues with selfish co-workers at one job and a controlling sexual relationship at my other; and my kids’ friendship issues dealing with best friends committing suicide, being shot and killed and the list goes on. All these situations affected me greatly and I was overwhelmed and not able to function well within my various roles.
I remember hearing my counsellor say that it’s a good thing that I didn’t have any addictions because I would be very unwell given all this on top of my childhood trauma. This was very sobering.
At the end of my cycle through this program, I believe I have a deeper, clearer understanding of myself and why I freeze in certain situations and succumb to other peoples’ desires of me. This knowledge helps me lay down my fears and assert myself more directly in these difficult situations. While I have much more work to do in changing my life, I have hope for a better tomorrow.
Thank you, Tamara, you are an angel walking amongst us with your healing touch!”
– MG, Client of SADVCC
Our Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Care Centre offers free one-to-one counselling to people who have experienced sexual assault, domestic violence or childhood sexual abuse. Our all-female team of counsellors have several years of skilled experience working with trauma survivors. Clients see the same counsellor for all their sessions so that a trusting relationship can be built over the 18 therapy sessions. Our skilled and knowledgeable counsellors provide confidential and compassionate care to help individuals heal.
- All genders and sexual orientations
- Ages 12 and older
- With or without OHIP coverage
- With or without immigration status