- N. N. Light
Prayed Upon: Breaking Free from Therapist Abuse by @Amy_Nordhues is a BHW pick #memoir #metoo
Title: Prayed Upon: Breaking Free from Therapist Abuse
Author: Amy Nordhues
Publisher: Three E Publishing
Prayed Upon is the story of one woman’s escape from the abuse of a respected, church-going psychiatrist. Amy reaches out to Dr. Dolion for help with depression, but instead of providing healing, he leads her down a path of deception and betrayal. His office, which initially feels like a sanctuary, becomes a psychological prison, one from which Amy will have to fight to free herself.
Prayed Upon, a true story depicts Amy’s journey from victim to thriving child of God. Her brutal honesty provides an inside look at the warped beliefs that early abuse instills, beliefs that make adult victims vulnerable to sexual predators. Her story shines a light on the under-reported sexual abuse of adults and ultimately the way victims can gain freedom from the bondage of shame that abuse leaves behind.
I couldn’t believe I was back in his office. After seven long years. The blinds were drawn, as they had been before, creating a cocoon-like feel. Was it comforting or frightening? Maybe a little of both. The big leather sofa along the back wall was gone, so I sat down in what I assumed was my seat, an oversized walnut-colored leather chair with an ottoman.
I scanned the walls for the pencil sketch. Good, it’s not here. During my sessions a decade ago, I would stare at the sketch from my spot on the sofa and wonder what that girl’s story was, if she’d found healing here and where she was now. Was I as sick as that poor girl had looked in the drawing? Had I made a mistake in returning? Surely, I wasn’t that bad off, or maybe I was in denial? The girl in the sketch had looked so sad and so broken, haunted almost. But by what?
I still remembered the doctor’s words the day he caught me studying it.
“She is very damaged. In fact, she has over one hundred distinct personalities.”
“Yes. She had horrible things done to her, things too awful to repeat, things involving ritual abuse, and well, things I won’t burden you with,” he’d said. He glanced over at the drawing and seemed to take a second to honor her. “Anyway, where were we?”
Shuddering at the memory, I welcomed the secretary’s sweet drawl drifting through the doorway. “You know he is completely booked up right now,” she said. Guilt. I had just waltzed in here without so much as a phone call. A friend of mine had an appointment she didn’t need and offered it to me. Maybe he took me because I’d been here before, so technically I wasn’t a new patient. But still.
I inhaled deeply. The girl in the sketch was probably better now. To my left, bookshelves lined an entire wall. The hundreds of books suggested an intellectual type, and as it had the first time, the thought put me a little more at ease. I’m in good hands. He knows what he’s doing.
A random assortment of trinkets and mementos were scattered amongst the books, offering little bursts of color against the sterile browns and grays. Collected from his travels or maybe gifts he had received from clients he had worked with over the years? Probably the latter. Everyone in the community seemed to love him. My friends raved about him. And I enjoyed thinking that some of his clients were so special to him that he remembered them with a small display on his shelf. It was sweet.
I looked behind me. The black-and-white photo of the doctor playing on the college golf team was still there. I scanned the room for family photos but again didn’t find any.
The office screamed scholarly, sentimental, and quirky, just like I remembered him. Quirky was an understatement.
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Amy Nordhues is a survivor of both childhood sexual abuse and sexual abuse as an adult at the hands of a mental health professional. She is a passionate Christ-follower and expert on the healing God provides. She has a BA in psychology with minors in sociology and criminology. Her devotions have been published in The Secret Place (Judson Press) devotional series. Her essay, Give Me a Sign, won 2nd place at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference Foundation Awards. Her memoir, Prayed Upon, won the Inspire Christian Writers’ “Great Openings” contest for non-fiction. She blogs at www.amynordhues.com. A married mother of three, she enjoys spending time with family, writing, reading, photography, and all things comedy.
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