Trust in therapy only happens at step one, with the client's willingness to admit that there is a problem and by having the courage to consciously work on it. The ‘HOW’ in therapy are indeed HONESTY, OPENNESS and WILLINGNESS!

As the client begins to open themselves up in the therapeutic process their history is revealed. In turn, I am able to discover how they arrived where they are. As movement through the abyss begins, the patient realizes that there are things that lurk within the corridors of the abyss that can make them lose their way and cause them to defocus; things such as painful memories, fear, forgotten memories, shame, guilt, and grief. In my experience, as the therapeutic journey comes closer to uncovering the problem, hurt, anger, rejection and abandonment are usually at the core. In many cases these are the things most feared by clients and often kept them trapped in pain. In 24 years of therapy I often uncover abusive relationships of some type; often there are deviant or peculiar sexual escapades or drug and alcohol abuse. These, in turn, lead to feelings of rejection, abandonment and hopelessness. Often patients feel unlovable and unworthy.

With time the patient begins to see a circle of light. The light is any ray of hope that they recognize that allows them to become conscious that they have worth, are of value and still living regardless of the predicament they may be perceive, whether real or imagined.

For the patient, this ray of light is similar to imagining that there is another positive person that happens to also be them. This ‘other self’ is youthful, vibrant, positive and full of hope. They get to meet this ‘other self’ who is wrapped in a ball of light in the center of the dark void they are going through. This young-at-heart, vital ‘other self’ is reaching out to them with often small, trusting hands and asking them to take hold and embrace the new person while letting go of the old negative self.

When this happens in therapy, a slow acceptance begins. The patient realizes that they can help them self by holding onto those small, encouraging hands without delay. I remind the client that they are not alone because no one has always made the right decision or done the right thing consistently. This allows the client to remember that they are human and capable of blunder and miscalculation and also capable of being healed.

Perhaps there was a time you experienced this feeling, if you have then you know what atonement and acceptance is. It is how you feel about yourself and it is the process of valuing yourself. It is also a reminder that no one who lives long enough gets through life unscathed (without pain); some more than others!

As the patient proceeds further through the tunnel, they can begin to see the light at the end. The abyss begins to fill with light. The light is hope and chances to really live not just exist. As the patient moves closer to the light at the end of the tunnel I speak less and less because the patient begins to see things differently and begins to9 realize that everyone needs help from time-to-time. They begin to look around and see that there are other individuals just like them who may also be afraid. They begin to understand their plight and to seek solutions to their problems. The therapeutic experience reminds the patient that there is help for them and that it is okay to ask for help when and if it is needed.

Change for the client begins without warning. It just begins, and it starts with the first step of identifying that there is a problem. As the patient faces the bright light near the tunnel’s end they begin to realize there are more tunnels in their life, as there is in everyone’s life; however, they are now armed and can continue to explore many of these unknown avenues with the experience and knowledge that they do not have to travel these corridors alone.

Therapy is bedrock of hope for many people. It slackens the pains of hopelessness for those who do it honestly, openly and willingly!(How?)

Author's Bio: 

Dr Sheafe has over 24 years of clinical experience in marriage counseling & family therapy. She specializes in: substance abuse treatment, drug addiction, sex therapy and couples counseling. She can assist with recovery from emotional, verbal, physical and drug abuse. Dr Sheafe is considered an expert on domestic violence and issues related to childhood trauma and porn addiction. She has worked with thousands of clients throughout the United States & Europe. She States, “I offer solid, down-to-earth guidance!” She is called upon by litigators as an ‘Expert Witness’ for issues related to sexual trauma. She offers phone counseling or in-person visits for those living in South East Virginia. For complete information please visit: or email her at
Sadie@Dr Most Insurance accepted.

Dr Sheafe is a Board Certified Clinical Sexologist, American Board of Sexology Diplomate, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker.
She is certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Currently, she serves as the Chairman, Virginia Legislative Committee: National Association Social Work, (NASW) and Virginia, Regional Representative for Hampton Roads, Virginia; Member, American Board of Clinical Sexologists and the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT). She has been appointed to the Mental Health Advisory Council Board for the city of Portsmouth, Virginia and was elected to the State Board of Directors for NASW. She is currently the Chairman of the Department of Veterans Affairs Social Work Professional Standards Board, Virgina and an Adjunct Professor at Norfolk State University in the Doctoral and Masters Degree Programs for Social Work.