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Psychologist and couples therapist Sophie Buch

Meet my (one) dog Koda, who is enjoying the sun on the balcony. Koda is a street dog from Spain and came to Denmark to live with his brother with my (Spanish) boyfriend and me. The unconditional love that now fills our home is indescribably healing. 

My story

As you may have sensed, I could write for a long time about how passionate I am about the therapeutic work I do. But it is important to me that you also see a little of who I am. So here I will tell you my story and how I fought my way back to a dignified life in balance after psychological abuse and depression.

In a terraced house right next to the forest, I live in Brabrand with my small family (partner and dogs). Nature is very important to me, and I love to go on long walks and soak up all the impressions. I still remember how a few years ago, after a heavy and gloomy depression, I suddenly saw all the colors of nature so clearly. For me, it felt like the first time, ever, that I truly noticed all that nature is. 

Overwhelmed and in awe, I walked through Risskov and took everything in, listening to the rustling of the leaves, the singing of the birds, the rustle of the small animals, smelling the sharp scent of the ram bulbs, the warmth of the spring wind, seeing for the first time the many shades of colors. This was a turning point for me and since then, I have practiced presence and mindfulness, because life had been gray and dark for a long time. 

My perception of reality had been thrown out of whack and my self-esteem shattered. 

Some time ago I went through a relationship where I completely fell apart. The relationship was bound together by an unhealthy and at times psychologically abusive dynamic that was so hidden from me that I completely undermined myself. I lost my understanding of myself, and was confronted with the fact that I had probably never really learned to set boundaries. It has taken me many years to build myself up again, to rediscover the inner weight that keeps one in place in stormy weather.

The way back to a life in balance

When you have lived with psychological violence, it is not certain that you are aware of what actually happened. In most psychologically violent relationships, narratives, stories, stories about reality are built up, which become overshadowing. Therefore, you can also come to overlook your own boundaries, adapt, apologize and explain things away, and do things you don't feel like doing, because the story of love must be maintained. For a long time I denied myself and my giant knot in my stomach that was all my violated boundaries. It can feel shameful to have let others overstep your boundaries, which can make it almost impossible to talk about. Therefore, you often go about your experiences all alone for far too long, this also means that you can actually have difficulty finding the right words for what you have experienced.

It is largely my own personal history that drives my work on the subject. I have felt firsthand what self-destruction through another feels like, and I understand how incredibly difficult it is to navigate. I find that my personal experience makes a huge difference to the clients I have who have been exposed for violence. In my own way back to life, I also went to a lot of therapy myself - with several different psychologists. In addition, I have used writing an incredible amount, as well as being part of a writing group for women exposed to violence. It is enormously affirming to hear other people's stories, because most often when it comes to particularly psychological violence, the stories will have a lot in common. 

For many people, a caring and curious meeting with themselves is completely foreign.

De er vant til at dømme sig selv, skælde ud på kroppen for dens udseende og reaktioner, ignorere smertefulde følelser, undertrykke grænser og behov.

Sådan har jeg også selv levet, i en endeløs jagt på accept, kærlighed og omsorg fra andre, men uden evnen til at give dette til mig selv. For nogle bunder dette mønster i et selvværd, der defineres af andre, og en grundlæggende angst for at blive forladt. Lader man denne angst styre ens handlinger, er grænsesætning svær. Man skal lige så stille lære, at man er værdig og har ret til at kræve noget af verden og sine medmennesker. Dette er på mange måder, som at lære sig selv at kende på ny og med nye, kærlige øjne. 

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