How many of you have experienced some type of trauma? Perhaps you were abused as a child, or survived an abusive relationship that took its toll on you. Almost every single person I have encountered has his or her story to tell. And that's the key - the story must be told. Once the story (or stories) are exposed then they lose their power.
Let me share mine. I have my doctorate in Psychology, and am completing my postdoctoral hours under the supervision of an absolutely wonderful, positive, and enthusiastic supervisor,
Dr. Chris Marrero-Howieson. We are located in Santa Monica and work with many types of clients.
My story began when I was working at Warner Bros. in Burbank, California in the late 1990's. I was walking to my car from the local mall one beautiful day in April. There was not a cloud in the sky and my life was going well. I looked ahead of me and there was a car coming toward me. It stopped as I was unlocking the driver's side door of my vehicle. I thought they needed my parking space. I waved to them, indicating I was leaving. As I unlocked my car door, the driver's side door opened of the car (I thought) was waiting for me, and the passenger held up a sawed-off shotgun and told me to "drop my purse." I slid my purse off of my shoulder, and the driver of the vehicle got out of their car and grabbed my purse. I froze. I kept looking at the passenger of the vehicle, with his finger on the trigger aimed right at me. The sun was in my eyes, which made the experience surreal to me.
As the driver retrieved my purse from the ground next to me, a truck pulled up in front of my vehicle. He realized what was happening and told me to "jump into the back of his truck." I did so. As I looked up toward the sky, lying on my back in the bed of the truck, the two perpetrators drove off with my purse. The experience changed my life forever.
Within minutes, the sheriff from inside the mall was outside with us making a call to the California Highway Police. People gathered around and gave the license plate of the perpetrators, to the sheriff and made sure I was safe. I will always be grateful for those who helped me during this time.
The perpetrators were chased down by the CHP and crashed their vehicle off the Antelope Valley freeway near Santa Clarita. The two of them were charged with attempted murder and armed robbery. I did not attend their arraignment, for they both plead guilty of the charges. The fifteen year-old was sentenced to ten years in a juvenile facility, and the seventeen year- old (who held the gun) was tried as adult, and sentenced to seven years in the state penitentiary.
I knew immediately that something had changed within me. I felt something drastic had happened in my whole being - the trauma affected me viscerally. I knew I needed help. I had never been to therapy before this experience, but I chose to call my primary physician the following day and immediately made an appointment to be seen. He referred me to Victims of Crime, and I made an appointment to see the local representative there as soon as I could.
It was there I found the help I needed, and I was referred to a therapist who specialized in trauma. I have been attending therapy since that first initial session, and it was through the therapist I was able to participate in life again. I left the studio and decided to return to college. For the next fifteen years I studied psychology, and have now come full circle. I now want to help Survivors of Crime the way I was helped years ago.
Though I treat many other clients with differing diagnoses, I find most all have experienced some level of trauma in their life. I find it deeply gratifying to help others in the same way I've been helped.
I would love to hear back from any who suffer from trauma on any level. You, too, can become a "survivor of trauma," instead of a victim. We are here to help you on your "road to recovery." Feel free to call (661-210-3884) or email at any time.
Virginia O'Neill Green, Ph.D.
Dr. Chris Marrero-Howieson