Westborough Emotional Abuse Counseling

Love Should Not Feel This Way—Counseling and Therapy for Emotional Abuse in Westborough, MA

In elementary school, children may respond to an insult by saying, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Even as children, however, people know that words can cause significant harm. When a person tries to control another through manipulative words, those words may even be emotional abuse.

“It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” ― Aisha Mirza

Emotional abuse can occur within a marriage, between friends, among intimate partners, from a parent to a child, at work, within a spiritual setting, and more. Although abusers frequently claim to love their victims, emotional abuse is not loving, and in certain cases, it may be illegal.

If you think that you may be in an emotionally abusive relationship, know that many resources are available to you. One of the best is counseling. Skilled therapists have helped many victims of emotional abuse find safety and restore their self-worth.

The emotional abuse counselors at Thriveworks Counseling in Westborough understand what it takes to recover from emotional abuse. We love seeing our clients empowered to pursue their own safety and healing.

Defining Emotional Abuse

Disagreements and heated, respectful arguments within a relationship are normal, even healthy to a degree, but emotional abuse is very different than a one-time harsh word. Emotional abuse is a pattern of manipulative behavior wherein one person tries to exert dominance over another. Defining it is tricky because it is not always obvious, even though the harm it causes is powerful.

The patterns that emotional abuse can take are endless. The following are examples of emotionally abusive behaviors that can be used to control another person…

  1. Denying any personal responsibility for their behaviors.
  2. Humiliating, embarrassing, mocking, criticizing, or name-calling, especially when done in public.
  3. Separating a person from their loved ones.
  4. Denying affection or love to control another (When you… I will…)
  5. Disregarding or minimizing another person’s feelings and thoughts. (“You’re just sensitive.”)
  6. Intentionally and falsely blaming.
  7. Objectifying people.
  8. Blocking someone’s access to money, food, transportation, medical care, or other vital resources.
  9. Intimidating, guilting, or threatening people.
  10. Destroying, Harming or disposing of someone’s personal possessions without authorization.
  11. Outbursts of anger and unforeseeable moodiness.
  12. Engaging in extreme jealous or possessive behaviors.
  13. Gaslighting.

The actions on this list often begin subtly. In fact, they are rarely overt or egregious so that victims have a hard time understanding what has occurred. This means that emotional abuse can happen to anyone—male, female, old, young, poor, wealthy, and any ethnicity. Control often begins over something small so that victims become desensitized as the abuse worsens.

An example of that pattern is gaslighting. The term has grown in popularity in recent years, but it dates back to a movie from the 1940s called, “Gaslight.” It stars Ingrid Bergman whose character is emotionally abused. In one scene, the gaslights flicker—diming and brightening. Bergman’s character acknowledges the flicker, but her emotionally abusive husband pretends he did not see anything. He convinces her that the flicker was in her imagination. Through many similar manipulations, the husband convinces his wife that she is going crazy, and he is able to gain more and more control over her.

Toxic relationships center around control, whereas people who are in healthy relationships respect each other’s autonomy. Emotional abuse erodes a person’s sense of self and can cause severe harm. Victims often struggle with fear, anxiety, hyper-vigilance, depression, psychosomatic pain, suicidal idealization, substance abuse, and more.

A victim of emotional abuse may feel…

  • Scared of the perpetrator.
  • As if nothing they do is good or right.
  • Helpless.
  • As if their life does not matter.
  • Anxiety about expressing their true thoughts and feelings.
  • Depressed.
  • As if they deserve the emotional abuse.
  • Like they are walking on egg shells.
  • Crazy.

Recovering from Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse collects a severe toll, but people can recover from its toxic effects. Healing takes time and usually the help of a mental health professional. Therapy may help people who have experienced emotional abuse see how…

  • No one deserves to be abused.
  • The abuser is responsible for his/her decision to harm.
  • The hurt is real.
  • Trauma recovery is a difficult but possible path.
  • It is important to prioritize one’s emotional and physical safety.
  • Grief is a normal part of healing.
  • Relationships can be built on love and trust.

Emotional Abuse Counseling at Thriveworks in Westborough

If you are in or are coming out of an emotionally abusive relationship, the therapists at Thriveworks Westborough want you to know that you deserve respect, kindness, and love. We understand the personal hell you are living in or have survived, and we want each of our clients to reclaim their dreams, value, and identity.

If you call our office for therapy, know that most new clients are able to see their therapist within 24 hours. Weekend and evening appointments are available, and we work with most insurance providers.

We want each client to feel supported throughout their care. Call Thriveworks Counseling in Westborough today to get started.

Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

People Love Our Providers!

Overall Rating: 5★★★★★ based on 39 5 1 39 reviews. See all reviews
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Donna hayes

★★★★★
Hello all, I just want to tell everyone at thriveworks in Westboro mass office and future customers that I have had the pleasure of a 5 star counselor in donna hayes. Donna helped me when I was at the lowest point in my life. A law enforcement life, with lots of issues. She has helped me immensely. God bless you donna. Hopefully I will see you in fall when I return home. Thanks for your help and sorry for quitting exit today on my last appointment. Best regards always. Brian
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

I’ve had a wonderful experience.

★★★★★
I’ve had a wonderful experience. The staff is punctual and kind.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

My therapist is very supportive and communicative.

★★★★★
Thriveworks has been wonderful so far. My therapist is very supportive and communicative. The appointment reminders are very helpful, too.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

I love my therapist

★★★★★
I love my therapist and feel better about my life knowing that I have guidance and direction in my life
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

My therapist is thoughtful

★★★★★
My therapist is thoughtful, compassionate, incisive in a good way, understands complex trauma, and is full of good humor.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Attentive, note-taking, observant

★★★★★
For a first visit, this place set a very good example for what is ahead. Attentive, note-taking, observant I am pleased with the initial visit.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Just met Greg today so far everything went well.

★★★★★
Just met Greg today so far everything went well.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Good chat with Stephanie

★★★★★
Good chat with Stephanie
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

I’m so grateful to have found this practice.

★★★★★
I’m so grateful to have found this practice. This is the first person that I felt truly confident in their ability to help me.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Stephanie was great!

★★★★★
Stephanie was great! AJ seemed very comfortable talking to her. Thank you!
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

I really enjoyed speaking to Ayala

★★★★★
I really enjoyed speaking to Ayala and I’m looking forward to future appointments.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Counseling

★★★★★
My husband and I were having great difficulties in our marriage and seeing Ayala was the last thing we were willing to try before divorce. Ayala helped save our marriage! Not only did she listen and offer support and guidance, she was not judgmental and did not take a side. Ayala was amazing and I would recommend her to any couple who is experiencing marital difficulties.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

I had my first visit with Stephanie

★★★★★
I had my first visit with Stephanie the other day and I instantly felt very comfortable with talking to her. She was so nice and was ready to accommodate for my 15 month old son in case he needed to stay during my appointment (and for future appointments) as well!
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

I had a great experience!

★★★★★
I had a great experience! I was really nervous and anxious going into it, but I felt comfortable as soon as I got there.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

I loved meeting Vivian.

★★★★★
I loved meeting Vivian. She seemed to really understand where I was coming from and what my goals are. So warm, engaging and smart. Really looking forward to working with her.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Great experience!

★★★★★
Great experience!
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Excellent, very welcoming.

★★★★★
Excellent, very welcoming. Looking forward to continuing to work with thrive works
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Vivian

★★★★★
Vivian is an exceptional therapist. Our family sessions with her have been an investment in our family's health. We get to the issues quickly and sort out what needs addressing. Vivian validates how we are feeling and helps us to process solutions. It feels like a team effort, and Vivian treats us with the type of care one receives from a family member. She combines her professional skills with a compassion that is rarely found in a therapist. We leave each session with much accomplished and strategies to help us reach our family goals. She greets each session with great enthusiasm, so even the beginning of the session feels like we will get the answers we are seeking.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Vivian

★★★★★
Since this past summer, I found myself having to deal with residual anxiety, PTSD, depression and (what I felt like, was life changing psychosis) that came after the death of my very best friend in a horrific car accident. Long story short, I thought I’d never be normal again, I was sure I’d carry the weight of my problems around with me forever. Not to mention I had all of these issues AND the undeniable pressure of trying to be a college student and working full time. I stumbled into Vivian’s office not long after I realized I was falling apart. Over the course of about six or seven weeks of visiting Vivian, my life has changed completely. I’m a healthy and happy person, planning to move to Worcester at the end of this summer. It’s hard to think that just a few months ago, I had to move home from college to be under the supervision of doctors and my parents. There are not many people in a lifetime that help you dissect the truth of who you are as a person and how you can embrace it. Vivian is an amazing woman with truth and insight beyond what I could achieve on my own. She has an awesome way of saying really intellectual concepts very simply, which helps me to think about myself in a different, more positive way. Vivian went far past just helping me develop strategies to deal with my panic and trauma; she went to the verity of what was making me feel this way. It’s impossible for me to explain the growth and strides I’ve made since going to thrive works. Vivian has made me feel proud, brave and sure of my ability to overcome anything in my life with a new understanding of myself and who I am.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Vivian Sockol

★★★★★
My family and I have been with Vivian for years now. She is an amazing person and goes above and beyond for her clients.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Greg is a Svengali (In a good way)

★★★★★
After only one year of seeing Greg I have transformed my personal and professional life. Battling substance abuse, a marriage on life support, despondent children, unable to hold down a job, financial ruin and depression was what I gave Greg to work with. Undaunted, he listened and did something I did not expect. He never asked me about my Mom or upbringing as a way to lay blame or explain my condition, instead he focused on giving me the tools and encouragement to reverse the cycle and put me on a positive path to rebuild my life. He is a master of individual and couples therapy because of his decades of experience but his approach is less clinical and more conversational. I look forward to my sessions because I always leave feeling energized and motivated to make up for lost time. Thank You Thriveworks for staffing such a high quality individual in Westborough.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Insightful

★★★★☆
Only had 2 appointments, but so far we feel Stephanie is very knowledgeable & insightful!
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Excellent therapist

★★★★★
Excellent therapist
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Great first meeting

★★★★★
Great first meeting. Greg is awesome and I'm looking forward to my next appointment.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Thoughtful and direct

★★★★★
Our counselor was thoughtful and direct...after one session I feel very motivated to work towards our goals.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Vivian is wonderful

★★★★★
Vivian has such warmth about her that you feel right at home in her office. She has no judgements but a helpful ear that has made me have what I call "dawning moments". She has helped in a way that has felt empowering to me. I always look forward to our appointments because I know I will always leave feeling as if I have accomplished something substantial. Thank you Vivian!
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Excellent experience

★★★★★
Stephanie is a great listener and is very good at getting right to the issues that matter. We've seen others previously who seem to drag out the process, and never want to get involved. Stepanie is the opposite - She is extremely skilled at zooming in on the key issue, unbelievably helpful. Highly recommended!
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Great Referral

★★★★★
I have referred several people in our organization to Greg. The feedback is consistently positive with comments like "helped me figure out the next steps I needed to take", "he walked me through a really tough time" and "very kind."
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Patient focused help

★★★★☆
I have been a client of Greg Handel for about a month and I have already put into practice many of his suggestions to help me. I have been to a few other therapists who continually ask "how does that make you feel", and Greg really guides our conversations into points that will not only benefit me moving forward, but assist me in understanding how I got into the challenges in the first place.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Review

★★★★★
Outstanding environment and very professional staff. Decor of waiting room very conducive to wholeness and well being. Very accessible location and appointment availability is prompt
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Greg is awesome

★★★★★
Amazing ..beyond words ..in only a short time he helped me realize ..that I was standing in my own way ..by letting me figure things out and advising me ..nit pushing me or making me see his viewpoint ..lime more therapist do...Everyone that dees his is very fortunate and blessed to have chosen him...thank you Greg ..you ate a true blessing .. Trish Silva
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Constructive guidance

★★★★★
Thriveworks, Westborough has been both a place of solace and a source of empowerment for me. After being urged to talk with a professional by my family, Iheduled an appointment with Greg Handel. Greg has dispelled the stereotype of what I assumed a therapist to be. Instead of being distant and abstruse, Greg has been relational and engaged, empathetic and pragmatic. The tools that Greg has provided have helped me take steps toward greater confidence and well-being. The combination of reliable competence and patient-focused support has made my experience at positive.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Should’ve done this sooner

★★★★★
Dr. Greg Handel has been fantastic. Although our journey is just beginning its as if I've known him my whole life. really makes it easy to trust and open up. Anyone going through hard times or even just looking to work on themselves should definitely check out this practice..
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Greg is excellent

★★★★★
From my first session with Greg I knew I would make progress quickly in resolving my anger and depression issues. Greg was highly skilled at getting to my root causes immediately, practical with his suggestions and compassionate. I recommend Greg and (a really nice, professional welcoming environment) to all.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Trustworthy Care

★★★★★
Over the past few years, I have referred some clients to Greg Handel. He has been exceptional in handling delicate situations and providing quality counseling services.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Review

★★★★★
I am very happy and thankful that I found Thriveworks. Greg Handel has been great in helping me overcome many obstacles. I look forward to every session.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Understanding with compassion

★★★★★
I have known Greg for a few years and he is always ready to listen and act. He understands complicated situations and handles with grace and tact (a difficult combination). He is always accessible and willing to step in and be resourceful.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

friend

★★★★☆
Greg is immediately engaging with a warm smile and uplifting personality. He has great insight about people and situations, showing genuine concern and desire to help people be the best they can be.
Thriveworks Counseling Westborough

Maybe a great place but yearly fee turned me off

★☆☆☆☆
So I was referred to Thriveworks from a different therapist who was not able to work with me. So I called Thriveworks, desperate for help, and as I talked to a support staff, who was very nice, and thought I found the right place for me. When I was informed that I’d have to pay $80-100 for the year in addition to my co-payments and insurance being billed, I was taken aback. I have the money to pay it, that is not the issue. What about others who may not? Yes I know it’s because there are “support staff” on call or whatever the fee was for, but this deterred me from following up for services, as I have never heard of any counseling office doing this and I work in the mental health field. So Thriveworks, you seem like a great office, but your yearly fee for “supports” or whatever it is for, that you may or may not utilize, doesn’t make sense.
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Thriveworks Counseling

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  • 5 E Main St Suite 3,
    Westborough, MA 01581

  • Mon-Fri:7AM-12AM
    Saturday:7AM-6PM
    Sunday:8AM-5PM

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