What made you pursue career as a psychologist at Anger Therapy London in anger management counselling and domestic violence?
I was in my early 20s when I became preoccupied with anger management issues as an already a qualified paediatric and psychiatric nurse with developing passion in psychology but it was a domestic violence incident that I was a target of as 21 years old that probably directed my career.
Can you describe the domestic violence incident that played role in your anger management counselling career?
A guy that I dated turned out to be eight months into the relationship controlling and pathologically jealous. He would order me to look on the floor on the street because by looking straight, he was convinced, I flirted with other men. I felt clueless about resolving the situation. He ended it because of his jealousy and it was the right thing to do because I felt suffocated by him. Three months after our break-up we met up in his flat because I wanted to collect £400 I lent him. A mutual friend of ours revealed to him that I went night-clubbing and danced with a man a two weeks prior to that. My ex confronted me, this triggered jealousy and aggression in him and he hit me so hard that I fell down on the floor. He then started kicking my body like I was a man and without any mercy. He dragged me against my will into the bedroom, ordered me to take my clothes off whilst I tried to seize an opportunity to jump out of a window but I failed. He kept me hostage for seven hours from midnight, holding my hands with one hand and beating me with the other. He spat on me, strangled me, threatened to kill me and scar my face, so no man would look at me again. During this seven hours ordeal, I went into a high stress and I no longer felt any pain and I kept thinking: ‘I never knew this is how I would die’. In the early hours of the morning, he started crying and saying that I will never ever forgive him for this. He appeared vulnerable, so I took my clothes and trying to reassure him, I run out of the door. That was the last time I saw him. I was temporarily left with severe black-blue bruises under my eyes and my neck and swelling, my head was covered in painful bumps and I suffered from a longer-term confidence and trust issues but time was the best healer.
That is horrendous. Did you call police?
I was too afraid to call police and domestic violence at that time was a taboo. I begged my friend not to call police as I was convinced that he would kill me. If it happened now and my partner would refuse to take anger management counselling, I would call police now, I grew into a confident woman.
Have you ever met the guy since?
I found him on facebook a few years ago. He now works as a professor at one London based university. I do hope that the students are safe in his hands but should I find that their academic studies or safety are compromised, I would without hesitation give a witness statement one day against him.
In what way does this experience help you as psychologist providing support to men or women who are targets or victims of domestic violence?
Having been the target of domestic violence by perpetrator with anger management issues I experienced what it is to be the target, the emotional trauma it involves and the support one may need. I studied the theoretical aspect of trauma and PTSD recovery but this personal experiential lesson is helpful to me as a therapist .
Do you think that this experience could make you prejudiced against men and your clients with anger management issues?
I have been pragmatic and humanist since I was a child and I wanted to understand what makes some of us unfortunate to become criminals with anger management issues and how could this be solved. To generalise one incident to all men makes it statistically impossible. We all make mistakes and stigmatizing men with anger management issues is unhelpful. What matters is the will to change. A more encouraging strategy is giving someone a chance to change and express negative feelings including anger in more constructive way. This might be a better long-term strategy addressing the domestic violence. If you have been affected by domestic violence or have anger management issues, please do not hesitate to contact Leona Sears to schedule an appointment either on 0203 0155 255 or 07 505 124 933.