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So much trauma. So much to talk about.

October 9, 2016

My heart goes out to the people of Haiti. Hurricane Matthew has wreaked destruction. Hundreds are dead. Devastation everywhere. The trauma won’t end with the passing of this storm. Next is the trauma of loss of life, shelter, clothing, materials, food, water, scrambling for survival, fighting over precious few resources, let alone scraps of food.

My heart goes out to the Syrian people and all people in war-torn countries. Innocent people are a pawn in geopolitical disputes. There is no shelter from bombs. Not even places of safety such as hospitals are held safe any longer. Aid is barely available.

My heart goes out to people who have endured harm in what should have been the sanctity of their own home. Their place of safety is turned into the place least safe, making their whole world feel insecure. Those who are responsible for their safety are those who create their harm.

My heart goes out to people who have endured harm in their neighborhoods, schools, places of worship and places of employment. While home may feel safe, then venturing forth can be a scary endeavor with not knowing who to trust or by being randomly victimized.

My heart goes out to those who keep us safe, who themselves are placed in harm’s way or who must enter situations horrific to view, the experience of which creates haunting and unrelenting memories.

I work with people who have endured trauma of all kinds including those impacted by natural disasters, war and famine as well as those whose trauma was home grown and/or perpetrated in their communities or the result of helping others. The impact of these experiences can be severe and long lasting, affecting mental health, relationships and life itself.

In any given month or even week, I hear stories of physical abuse, sexual abuse, torturous behavior, neglect, parental alcoholism, drug abuse, rape, genocide, complicated divorce, abandonment, harassment, witnessing horror and more.

Very often, I am the first to hear these stories, told for the first time out loud. I am the first because I ask about such experiences, knowing that unless asked, regardless of how many counseling sessions, people are otherwise loath to tell. People are loath to tell for fear of shame, embarrassment, disbelief or even thinking it would be too much for the therapist to hear.

I ask, I sit, I listen, I bear witness to what is said.

It is amazing what happens when something held hidden and secret finds its way to the light of day.

People are no longer held hostage by the enormity of their feelings. Things can change.

If you are holding on to trauma, please find a way to let it out in a constructive way. It is time to reclaim your life. It is my honor to be of service. Talking can help.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Please check out my services and then call if you need help with a relationship, child behavior issue or upsetting life event.

If you know someone who may benefit from this information, please share this blog with the links below.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

If your relationship is faltering, then set it as your priority.

Read: Marriage Rescue: Overcoming ten deadly sins in failing relationships

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