Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Public Sector Counseling at DSS

Two women, a counselor and her client, taking about public sector counseling at DSS


I see a counselor at the Department of Social Services. Normally I use Tricare to find the help I need, but I wanted to branch out. I thought that the DSS had absolutely no reason to color their counseling with my husband in mind. The Army cared about its stellar soldier, but the county didn’t care about my abuser at all.


She has been wonderful! I’ve been to her three times, and each time she was able to point out a valuable issue for me to examine. Issues that are MINE, not his. She’s teaching me to think about myself, what I want, and what I see for myself in the future.

At the last meeting, she asked me if I wanted to stay or leave. I told her that I THOUGHT I wanted to leave, but I was wavering. She said the most relieving thing ever. She said, “It’s okay. You’re not ready. You can decide at any time, you’re just not ready yet.” She let me know that just because I wasn’t leaving RIGHT NOW, there was still hope, still help.


Definitely, positively, find someone who knows about domestic violence to talk with you. I don’t mean someone in your same situation – I’m not suggesting commiseration!

The two counselors I’ve talked to face-to-face have benefited me. I don’t know if the counselor who benefits you the most will be a *free one at the Department of Social Services. You may have to do some searching to find a counselor knowledgeable about domestic violence with whom you can create a trusting environment and rapport. Finding that person is well worth your effort.

If your abuser is completely controlling of your time, or if you feel you have absolutely no way to pay for counseling, then you can start by calling a hotline. The trained volunteers on the hotlines can help you make a plan to get some sort of counseling from a person qualified to help you.

Remember that movie with Julia Roberts in which her husband was so controlling that he moved her out onto an island because he knew she was afraid of water? She made an excuse to go into town a couple of times a week; but instead of doing what she had told him, she went to the YWCA and took swimming lessons.

During a boat ride with her husband, she “fell” into the water, faked her death, and escaped him. For a while, anyway. Your plan may not be THAT dramatic, although it may FEEL that dramatic when you put it into action.

I want you to know that my counselors have opened my eyes to possibilities I couldn’t see before I broke the silence and began talking about my abuse. It can happen for you, too.

Find a counselor.

*In reference to the “free” counseling at the DSS, I want to thank all of the taxpayers who make this service possible. I really, truly would be lost without this resource, and I KNOW I’m not the only one who feels this way. Thank you.

Featured photo by James Coleman