Dr. Eileen Callahan, Ph.D.: Testimonials

Testimonials of How a Therapist Changed Their Life

The following are real testimonials of clients who engaged in successfuly theraputic relationships. The names, photos and some of the specifics have been changed for privacy purposes.

Rebecca's story.92572339_woman_smiling_web.jpg (Small 210px)

It took me a long time to realize why I was making so many poor dating choices. It was ruining my life; I wasn’t focused on my career, I was depressed and overeating, and I was a door mat for the men in the my life.

It wasn’t until one day in therapy with Amy that I realized something. I was describing my current undependable boyfriend as “the life of the party”. Amy smiled at me and said “Funny, that’s the exact description you use when talking about your mother, who left your family when you were a teenager.” OK, we’ve all heard girls marry their fathers, but I was replacing my mother!  My jaw dropped and I realized I was searching for a replacement for her…my mother who left home when I was 15.

Once I saw that trend in my choices, I realized I needed to break that habit and not look for the funniest, most social man in the room to date, but step outside of my comfort zone and give other types of men a chance. I soon met a nice accountant, someone I never would have considered before, and am happily married. I credit my therapist, Amy, for this found serenity. It took a few months of discussing me, and I didn’t always enjoy it. But the ah-ha moment was well worth it.


Mark's story.78619918_man_blue_sweater_web.jpg (Small 210px)

Every holiday season, I was grumpy. Isn’t everyone? No, I was told. Some enjoy the holidays. But they didn’t know my life truth; that my father took his own life during the holidays, years ago. Thus ruining the entire month of December for me and my family.

It wasn’t until I got married and had a child that I was faced with having to do something about my December sour face. My wife was tired of placating me and doing all the Santa events with my son by herself. She insisted I go talk to someone professionally. What she didn’t realize, was my inner turmoil was mine and mine alone; I needed to just feel the way I did in December and I felt she should accept that. And she did accept it for a long while, but now it was effecting our family, and our son’s Christmas memories.

I saw Claire for only a few sessions. I had one problem, and it didn’t take a genius to figure it out. What I couldn’t see was how to change it, to give my son a happy December. After discussing the death of my father and the flashbacks I always experienced in December (unearthing details about the death I didn’t even know I remembered) she asked me if I had shared even a little of this with my son. “Of course not!” was my response. She then told me about a child who was brought to a children’s grief support group after her father died by suicide. The child told the group “My father killed himself, but don’t tell my mommy. She thinks it was cancer.” I learned that children need to be told the truth from their parents, because they will get it from somewhere.

After that, I took my son for a walk to look at Christmas lights in neighbors’ yards. I shared with him stories about my father, joyous times I hadn’t thought of in years. He asked me when I lost my father, and how. Luckily, Claire had helped me come up with an age appropriate response. I told my son my father was ill for a long time, didn’t get the help he needed, and died of a mental illness. My son told me he was sorry and wished he had met him. That night, I felt a lightness in me. Sharing the story of my father with my son was what I needed to do, not ignore the man that meant so much to me. I was happy to have his memory resurrected. I can’t say December doesn’t still bring extra stress in my life, but now I can enjoy it. I’m forever grateful.


Sally’s story.126529549_woman_portrait_greif_web.jpg (Small 210px)

9-11 affected the entire world. We all held our children a little tighter in those ensuing days after the towers fell. But my stress didn’t ease. I stopped sleeping; I jumped at every little noise and couldn’t enjoy anything in my life anymore.

What was happening to me? It wasn’t normal. I used to be resilient.  Finally, I decided to call a family counseling center I passed on my way to work every day. A pleasant woman answered the phone, and told me she’d be glad to work an appointment in for me that very week.  I accepted. Then called to cancel the next day. Rinse, repeat; I did this several times before I finally made it to an appointment with a man named Bruce at 6:00pm on a raining, miserable day. It seemed the day to do it.

I really didn’t know what to expect, but I answered a few rudimentary questions from him that first session, and told him basically my problem was I couldn’t get over 9-11. He nodded and said we’d talk about it, once a week for now, and see how it goes.

It took several sessions of me thinking “Ok, here’s the hour of my day when I purge my frustrations, sometimes just complaining about traffic.”  Then somehow a time in my life I thought I had buried long ago came up. Bruce asked me if the strain I was feeling right now, post 9-11, felt familiar in anyway; was there a time in my past that felt similar.  After several (kind of awkward) silent moments, I revealed that yes; I was the victim of date rape in college. I hadn’t thought about it in years. At the time, I didn’t deny it entirely, I told several friends and even reported it to campus police, which led to absolutely nothing because I had no proof; it was a humiliating process and I eventually gave up taking any real action.  The more I talked about it with my close friends, the better I felt, and that was my form of healing I suppose. I also remembered taking some self-defense classes that truly empowered me. Bruce said to draw upon those skills I had all along and get to work. I started journaling when friends got tired of discussing 9-11, I booked extra appointments with Bruce when I felt overwhelmed and yep, I took a self-defense class! I doubt I could take on a terrorist, but the strength the class gave me really helped my well- being. I had had the tools, test driven and proven already. What Bruce helped me realize, was that 9-11 triggered a memory of the long ago rape; I was replicating all the fears I had back then and making 9-11 my personal inner war. I didn’t know the brain was like a computer and could be hacked so easily!

Therapy wasn’t always fun, and often felt useless, but Bruce gave me my life back and I recommend him every chance I get.

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