RECENTLY DIVORCED, Erin Hearts admits she has a tendency to seek emotionally unavailable romantic partners. When the 39-year-old decided it was finally time to ask for help with breaking her unhealthy patterns, she called O life coach Martha Beck. In their first conversation, Hearts revealed a long-held secret: Between the ages of 5 and 13, she experienced sexual abuse from a girl her age. “She’d touch me or touch herself in front of me,” said Hearts, who confided that although she was ashamed at the time, she also enjoyed the attention because she felt ignored and lonely at home. Beck gently encouraged her client to have compassion for the vulnerable little girl she’d been and told her she deserves help from a therapist specializing in treating adults who were sexually abused as children. Relieved, Hearts said she was ready for that next step: “It just feels so good to be taken seriously.” To see how she’s doing, let’s listen in on their second session.
Martha Beck: Erin, how are you?
Erin Hearts: Lately I’ve been a little sick—I couldn’t even talk for a couple of days, but now I’m getting over it.
MB: I’m glad you’re feeling better. What’s happened since we last met?
EH: Well, I got a therapist.
MB: Good for you!