Q. I'm eager to know if I'm correct in the way I'm attempting
to help my fiancé. I am a licensed therapist specializing in post
traumatic stress disorder and worry about my objectivity in this situation.
A. Here is the list of the things you are doing to help
her that I gleaned from your letter:
Introducing her to the new world as an open place
Accepting her intellect
Explaining her perpetrators behavior.
Encouraging her self-esteem
Liking her for the person she is
Being really emotionally involved with her
Valuing her well-being.
Feeling and expressing anger toward her perpetrator.
Being cautious about her triggers.
Looking at your situation with this list in hand, you
are doing a magnificent job of being a friend, lover and support person.
I don’t see anything much more that you could do. The people I have
met that needed no counseling after a trauma all had people like you
in their lives.
It is obvious from your letter that you love your fiancé.
And love is very healing for everyone.
Don’t worry about your objectivity. You are not
supposed to be objective with the person you love. Many well meaning
psychology minded people make this mistake.
What takes place is a therapist office is supposed to
take place in an office. It doesn’t translate to any other relationships.
Objectivity is important as a therapist in a clinical
relationship. It is not helpful in personal relationships. In fact,
objectivity can get in the way of intimacy, putting relationships
About triggers, I write a lot about this subject as
healthy and part of the healing process. Consequently, while you want
to continue your sensitivity to her process, you do not want to live
a life of avoidance.
You didn’t mention if she is participating in psychotherapy
for her PTSD. If not, I would highly recommend it. This would certainly
relieve you of the burden of feeling like a therapist when you are
with her. Then you’d be free to be her fiancé and enjoy the obviously
healthy relationship you have described.