Childhood Abuse and Secular & Christian Counseling

By Sherri L. Board

My name is Sherri L. Board. I am an author, Christian, and student of Christian Counseling. Some of my passions in this life are travel (I have been on all seven continents, including Antarctica) photography, and advocating for adult survivors of childhood abuse. Indeed, while I could continue to list for you other titles that I have held, other interests, my greatest edification is my continued recovery from childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.

The moment I understood that I could not recover by myself, I sought help. Although I spent years in therapy with psychologists, they were not helping me. I didn’t know why.  All I knew was I had to keep searching for someone who would offer me some relief.  Because of my sexual molestation by several men in my young life, I refused to go to a male therapist.

As the saying goes, the Lord works in mysterious ways and He certainly did (and still does) with me. The female therapist I was seeing at the time convinced me to go see her friend, a male psychologist, Dr. Dominic Bronell.

I can’t tell you that I trusted Dr. Bronell at first. I didn’t. I simply was desperate and willing to give him a chance. He possessed attributes I wasn’t used to: he was kind, greeted me always with a smile, honored my boundaries when I finally opened up and shared them with him, and he was reluctant to talk about himself, unless asked. But what else did Dr. Bronell offer me that the other psychologists did not? God.

Indeed, it wasn’t until Dominic and I started talking about God that I finally felt as though someone was going to talk about healing all of me, not only my soul, not only my mind, will, and emotions but my spirit which had been crushed so many years ago.

Ever since I was very young (I am fifty-six now) one of my favorite passages from Scripture has always been Proverbs 18:14 which tells us, “A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?” ESV. The secular doctors of psychology that I had seen before Dr. Bronell who did not suggest to me God’s love as a healing instrument, kept me bound to the idea that there was no hope for my spirit. But we must draw healing strength from God because the human spirit cannot nurse this pain without Him. And with a strengthened spirit one has the fortitude and courage to look at all the therapeutic tools available to humankind, both secular and spiritual.