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That First Call for Help


By Nina Laltrello - Posted on 08 May 2012

The demand for my services for the treatment of sexual addiction has grown over the past several years. Even with the increased frequency of phone contact, I do not think the pain I sense in the clients first call will ever lose its impact on my heart.  For the person whose life has been plagued by secret shame and finally has the courage to make the call for help, the pain is palpable.  For the spouse who has stumbled upon information of a secret life kept hidden by their partner and now questions the reality of an entire relationship, the level of pain has profound impact on this therapist. 

I have heard Patrick Carnes, PhD. speak about “the calls” we would rather not get in life.  We all have calls we would rather not answer when you think of it.  Yet, within the trials of the call, exists the fertile ground for growth and transformation.  Many times we avoid the calls and ultimately we cannot outrun them.  The fact that transformation is possible is beyond comprehension in those very early moments of discovery or the revealing a secret life of shame. 

As a therapist that sits with that early pain, I wish I could play a video of the future for the person to see. I wish I could show this client their future selves if they would heed the call and do the very hard work they are being called in to discover.  The journey is formidable and seems overwhelming at that moment.  I wish people could know the rewards of an answered call for the invitation into recovery are even greater.