There’s a popular gym-chain that has many locations across the nation (they just opened a second one in Fayetteville) that has the tag line “Judgement Free Zone.” I have actually been to that gym, and the one I visited was true to their statement. People of all shapes, all sizes, all experience levels were working out, side by side, with no one making faces or sneers, or worse, taking covert pictures or videos to share on the internet later.
If working out is intimidating, imagine telling your fears, insecurities, hopes, dreams, shames, secrets, and wishes to another human being. Going through grad school, we were taught to know our biases (know what we could not be judgement free about) and treat all with respect and without judgement. So, I was surprised when one of our newest clients came in and, in telling me her story, revealed the following:
Client: “And now that we are almost divorced, I will be losing my insurance, which is why Quaker House was recommended to me. Can you help me find a pattern as to why all three of my ex-husbands have been abusive?”
Client: [Silent for a few minutes.] “You’re the first therapist, well the first person even, that hasn’t made a face when I said that.”
Me: “Said what?”
Client: “That I’ve been married three times and I’m only 28.”
Me: “Hey, there’s no judgement here. Besides, it sounds like those people don’t understand how common it is to get married at a young age in the military.”
Client: “No one understands that! Thank you!”
This is the kind of “judgement free” therapy that happens here. Your backstory, your discharge status, your time in service — no judgement. I’m so pleased that we can offer this alternative to insurance-based therapy, to people like this client. She made the right decision to leave an abusive husband, but loses her insurance in doing so. Quaker House will be a great fit for her.
By Joanna, Quaker House Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Moral Injury Counselor
Published in our Fall 2019 Newsletter, News from the HomeFront