Dr. Timi Oyebode: I was sexually abused by my uncle from age 7
Dr. Timi Oyebode is the Founder/ Head Counselor at Attitude Development International, an Organisation focused on promoting Professional Counseling & Counseling Education in Africa. A seasoned, passionate and certified Professional counselor, with over sixteen (16) years’ experience working with individuals, couples, and families, Timi is the provost ADI Counselling School Lagos.
Her focus is on Emotional Wellness, Self-Discovery, Trauma, Abuse, Addiction and Sex Recovery Therapy, which had made her connect with various persons at different levels of need. She runs a yearly retreat for couples, emotional empowerment sessions for women, mentorship forums, counseling outreaches to prisons, IDP/refugee, rehab camps and a vibrant counseling clinic. Oyebode has a Ph.D., M.A and PGDE in Counselling, with a Master Practitioner Certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) and Trauma Recovery Therapy. She is a chartered Mediator & Conciliator with Institute of Charter Mediators & Conciliators (ICMN), member of International Association of Counselling(IAC), Member Counselling Association of Nigeria (CASSON), Member Association of Christian Counselors in Nigeria and President, African Network of Professional Counselors. She shares her inspiring journey in this interview.
Yes, there are so many things in my childhood that prepared me for what I do now, including being a victim of trauma and child sexual abuse. Today, as a survivor, I just want to see others live life free and fulfilled. I am the eldest of three and only girl of my parents. I grew up in Ibadan Oyo State and had all the security of an ideal family until tragedy struck first with sexual abuse and then the death of my father when I was 9 years old.
Actually the earliest memory of my sexual abuse was at age seven with one of my uncles; this continued even after my dad’s death to include rape, abuse and sexual violation from other relatives and spiritual leaders as well. I was traumatised, depressed and suicidal, although my immediate family members weren’t aware of many of my struggles as a young girl with low self-esteem, battered mindset and oppressive nightmares. At some point, I started struggling with sexual choices like porn, masturbation, homosexuality etc. I knew I needed help but was lost on where and how to get it.
In October 2000, I had an encounter and my journey to healing, restoration and recovery began. In 2003, I was in for my first trial at therapy and I knew I needed to make this happen for some other hurting souls. Emotional wellness and healing is our rights. So after my first degree in English language, I went for a 2nd degree and PhD in Counselling.
Inspiration Behind ADI Nigeria
After working with Real Woman Foundation (Pst. Nike Adeyemi) for over seven years as Head Counselor, I knew that there is a huge gap to the availability of professional mental/emotional helpers and counselors in Nigeria. Hence, the burden was laid on my heart to fill that void.
ADI was birthed to aid the availability and promotions of therapeutic help, professional counseling and counseling education in Nigeria and Africa at large. To enable those who desire to acquire training but have little or no access to the western world where this is readily available. The hope of bringing therapeutic help (as a means to deal with emotional and mental problems) closer to Africans was the paramount inspiration.
Being An Emotional Wellness, Trauma And Self- Discovery Expert, With 16 Years Experience
Though it had been quite a huge task to make our people accept and appreciate professional counseling, I can still say boldly, the journey had been engaging and fulfilling. The ability to stand in the gap for many, bring healing, hope and restoration to victims (families, couples, individuals) of trauma, abuse and addiction had indeed been worthwhile.
Also, having to see and hear the testimonies of many trained and professional counselors from ADI who are being able to confidently meet the emotional and mental needs of people in their communities while fulfilling their own dreams and desire, is incomparable. Counting the number of clients including victims of Depression, Trauma, Divorce, Suicidal Tendency, Anger, Addiction, Anxiety etc, who daily comes into our counseling centre and leaves with smiles on their faces, makes the journey indeed worthwhile.
Being A Member Of Several Organisations, The Roles I Play And How Has It Impacted Me Positively
I am a registered member of various counseling bodies both home and abroad; including Counseling Association of Nigeria (CASSON), Association of Christian Counselors in Nigeria (ACCNIG), Christian Counselling Educational Foundation (CCEF), International Association of Counselling (IAC), Institute of Chartered Mediators & Conciliators (ICMC) and African Network of Professional Counsellors (ANEPCO). I am involved in all the associations, volunteering and actively serving in varying capacities.
I am the present President of Africa Network of Professional Counsellors, an organisation that focuses on empowering counselors and psychotherapists across Africa, or working with Africans. Our primary goal is to be a rallying point and voice of reasoning/ professionalism for Psychotherapists & Counsellors across Africa
Why Oppressed And Damaged People Sometimes Do Same To Others
There are so many damaged, wounded or traumatised people in our world. Trauma means ‘wound’ – an inner/emotional wounds that plaques an individual, often due to an earlier or childhood abuse, oppression or damages. While there are various symptoms exhibited by victims of trauma, Dr. Cranes gave us about nine responses or reactions associated with victims, amongst which is trauma pleasuring.
Trauma pleasuring- a response, which shows a victim of trauma taking pleasure in the pain caused to them and even seeing the pain in others gives them pleasure or momentary ease from their own pain. Hence, it seems as if the initial victim is enjoying the pain or enjoys seeing others go through the same pain he/she went through. This is also known as sadistic personality disorder (SPD) in which, an individual display cruel behavior and enjoys inflicting pain on other. In other words, the suffering of others gives pleasure and observing that suffering feels good.
It is a form of mental illness often traceable to childhood trauma and those who exhibit this character are better perceived as ‘unwell’ rather than ‘wicked’ and should be encouraged to seek trauma therapy to aid their recovery.
Wellness Nuggets For Women Who Don’t Know When To Take A Break And Detox
Keeping our emotional well-being balanced is no easy task, especially for women. Pressures and life demands can sometimes make it all hard to figure out. However, being able to manage your emotions and have healthy relationships with others is vital to your emotional wellness.
Advice To Every Woman Out There, Struggling To Keep It All Together
Know yourself; know your thoughts and be able to identify your emotions and feelings. Take time to identify your triggers and know when to take a break. Get to know your emotional-self better; a visit to a counselor or use of self-help personality/temperament assessment online and even journaling of daily thoughts can help you.
Be positive. While we all get in a bad mood once in a while and there is nothing abnormal about that, constantly maintaining a negative attitude will only eat away at your internal happiness. If you keep this mind-frame long enough, nothing will ever seem like a good situation when you only focus on the bad. Noticing how often you think or say negative things is the first step towards having a positive attitude.
Then, work on limiting the amount of negative thoughts and speech you use every day. If you need help with this, try keeping a journal or asking a friend or family member to point out when you are being a “Negative Nacy.”
Ask for Help. If you are suffering from emotional distress, it’s okay to ask for help. There are no prizes handed out for who can bury their emotions the most. It doesn’t make you stoic or strong to keep the emotional turmoil all to yourself. Talking to someone you trust can be enough to ease the negative emotions brought on by a bad day. If more help is needed, seeking the advice of a mental health professional doesn’t mean you are weak, it means you are strong enough to to take care of your mental health. And if you aren’t sure of where to find them, contact us at ADI Counselling.
Keeping Boundaries. Establishing boundaries with people in your life will contribute to your mental well-being. While it’s best to be nice to others in your life, there will be times when they cross the line and it’s up to you to tell them what is and isn’t acceptable for you. For example, it doesn’t make you a bad person to tell your neighbors that they should give you a call or a text instead of coming over unannounced. Advocating for yourself and your emotional needs will keep you from feeling overwhelmed by other people’s expectations and behaviors.
Self-Acceptance. Sometimes the expectations you set for yourself are more than the expectations others have for you. It’s okay to give yourself a break and let the self-judgment and self-doubt go. You won’t ever feel at ease in the world or with yourself if you are constantly talking negatively about yourself. If you wouldn’t let a stranger call you “stupid”, “ugly” or “not good enough” then you shouldn’t let yourself say those things. Just like with negative thoughts in general, becoming aware and then learning how to manage negative self-talk is key to learning how to accept yourself.
The major challenge we had over the years is getting government approval and local accreditation, as the various government ministries claim their scope doesn’t cover what we do. After five years of requesting, we finally got Lagos State to give an approval. It had also been challenging to make people view counseling as a career and that these professionals need to be paid for their services. People struggles to accept the need to pay for therapy; they feel it should be free. Another challenge is access to resources and materials to aid and support our African professional counsellors.
Being A Woman Of Rubies And More
I am a survivor, a pillar of strength, a conqueror and a woman on assignment. My life goal is simply; to bring others out of the dungeon of pain and trauma to living life free, full and fulfilled.
For Those Who Just Walked Out Of Abusive Relationships
You are a survivor, the person who misused you never knew your worth as one of the best humans life could offer. So, it’s not your loss but his/her. Engage is some good self-love routine, find purpose and commit yourself to it. Go into therapy and begin your journey into recovery.
The journey to healing may take a while and often better not walked alone, so be patient with yourself, get support and life would smile on you soonest.
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