A means to reprocessing and embodiment

“Louise often feels like part of her is acting. At the same time, “there is another part ‘inside’ that is not connecting with the me that is talking to you,” she says. When the depersonalization is at its most intense, she feels like she just doesn’t exist. These experiences leave her confused about who she really is, and quite often, she feels like an actress or simply, a fake.”~ Daphne Simeon, Feeling Unreal: Depersonalization Disorder and the Loss of the Self

Often folks who reach out to me for complex trauma treatment describe feeling unreal and disembodied. Sometimes they refer…


We need to know we matter

The scars you can’t see are the hardest to heal. ~ Astrid Alauda

Lately, I find myself relating to the plight of a young female therapy client who presents with complex trauma, coupled with an intermittent explosive disorder.

Perhaps it’s because the origin of her rage resonates with what I’ve grappled with throughout my life that she is in the forefront of my consciousness at the moment. Her emotional volatility highlights for me how destructive and infuriating it is to be on the receiving end of incessant feigned oblivion and disregard.

This is especially unbearable when the antagonists are one’s…


So far the ‘jury’ is still out on this one

After thirty years of conducting therapy sessions in the public sector of the addiction and mental health fields as well as in private practice, an unforeseen pandemic hit. Lockdown measures ensued. This unfortunate trajectory led to nine months of paying for unused commercial office space in Manhattan’s Times Square. It was simply financially untenable to keep holding on for that ambiguous day when normalcy would resume. So I closed my doors.

It’s been over a year now since being catapulted into conducting trauma therapy sessions from my home. The rapid influx of referrals quickly maxed out my practice, making it…


In other words, my inner masculine is taking a break

In Whitman’s Song of Myself the great poet beautifully conveys the complexity of our shared humanity and the depth of our spiritual communion with the Universe. Similarly, the concept of Self is interpreted by father of depth psychology Carl Jung as consisting of the personal and the trans- personal, ego-consciousness and unconsciousness. Like Whitman, Jung concurs, “I am large, I contain multitudes.

Comprising these multitudes are Archetypes. Emanating from our shared collective unconscious archetypes comprise intrinsic components of the Self. They are universal innate themes and images that influence our values and our behavior. …


What is mass-vaxxing with no accountability about?

It’s akin to sedition to question anything these days about the covid crisis and the vaccination campaign. Even medical professionals who are not necessarily in opposition, but have science-based concerns about the drug are mocked, vilified, or simply ‘canceled’. While the majority of my psychotherapy therapy clients are relieved to have access to a vaccine and the hope of returning to a state of greater ease and agency, there are those who remain, for a variety of credible reasons, ambivalent. In the confidential safety of sessions, these folks have the freedom to voice their trepidation. …


A controversial and daunting topic

Every week for over a month I’d dread the therapy sessions with the quasi-celebrity sex offender who was mandated into treatment with me. Leading up to each meeting, I’d berate myself for agreeing to take on that high-profile case.

I worked in drug treatment facilities with a forensic population. I was not a stranger to providing therapy to convicted criminals, even sex offenders, but this was different. This guy left me feeling physically ill after each session. He lacked humanity. He couldn’t bring himself to tell the truth, even when the minute details of his case were in the newspaper…


A source of respite for abused children and traumatized adults

Topo Gigio was an adorable and lovable Italian mouse puppet featured on the Ed Sullivan Show. He was also one of my few beloved toys. In the midst of a bleak childhood steeped in malnutrition, looming eviction notices and the terror of my parent’s madness, Topo offered a thread of innocence and whimsy. For brief moments I could leave behind the horror of abuse and just be a child with her precious toy.

Topo for me was a transitional object, a term coined by British pediatrician and psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott. This means it was a valued object imbued with properties…


From etiology to stigma to treatment and trafficking

The lovely brightly colored poppy flower, known by Sumerians as the flower of joy, is the source of a tragic opioid addiction epidemic in the United States. To a great degree, this jarring reality is an outcome of prevailing neoliberal economic policies and the overriding supremacy of the profit margin.

This economic landscape has contributed to the collapse of fundamental traditions and community-based values, along with a broken infrastructure, unaffordable healthcare, the lack of subsidized housing, the dismantling of social services and vast economic disparity, along with dramatic spikes in unemployment and poverty. Furthermore, the blight of lockdown measures due…


Leaving loved ones who can’t be ‘saved’

Staking a claim for one’s inherent right to procure basic dignity and peace of mind is fraught with complexity for survivors of traumatic familial abuse. A distressing complication concerns leaving those behind who are plagued by mental illness themselves and yet persist in maneuvering to keep their progeny, spouse and sundry companions locked into destructive roles.

It is an unavoidable fate that befalls complex trauma survivors. As survivors begin to heal and grow they are destined to grapple with the personal feelings of loss, guilt and disillusionment that accompany severing ties with loved ones who are intent on sabotaging their…


A travesty of justice and morality that apparently happens all the time

There are injustices in life that shake one’s faith in humanity. Witnessing a mother’s efforts to beseech family court to save her toddler-age daughter from a pedophile father defines that description. Irrespective of credible forensic evidence and testimonies by medical doctors and therapists, the horror of child sexual abuse and domestic violence is simply disregarded. The mother is deemed problematic. The father somehow has become the hapless victim of parental alienation.

When a mother is characterized as insidiously maneuvering to undermine and damage the child’s relationship with the father by falsely accusing the father of child abuse, this is known…

Rev. Sheri Heller, LCSW

NYC Therapist & Author. Complex Trauma & Addiction. Dual citizen, traveler, lover of art and nature. I appreciate the absurd. Sheritherapist.com

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