Relationships are tough, especially when they become abusive. It makes you feel hopeless about the situation improving or might make you feel guilty for staying in a relationship despite knowing that it is far from being healthy. Most of the time, the victim partner fails to see the toxic traits that lead to the abuse and hangs on, thinking the situation might become better over time. You do not have to recover from an abusive relationship on your own because it is only seeking help that makes it easier. Given the emotional volatility of an abusive relationship, it is important to approach a therapist who can help you heal by talking through what happened and guiding you on how to proceed from there. Jessica Rebelo, therapist, life coach, and founder of “Unleashed Potential: Life Coaching”, is helping people emerge from their trauma and heal.
Becoming a Force of Change
A victim of an abusive relationship and a domestic violence survivor, Jessica always wanted to help those in similar situations. She completed her education at Stony Brook University, earning a master’s degree in Social Work with a specialization in trauma. She started working with a non-profit for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault for a few years and then moved on to work as a trauma specialist affiliate with several private practices. While working with other clinicians was rewarding, Jessica’s dream was to start her own practice. Along with being a therapist, she is also a life coach and wanted to leverage both of her expertise to bring her own twist to the tale by setting out on her own. Thus, began her journey as an entrepreneur.
Beacon of Hope and Ray of Light
In 2020, Jessica started “Unleashed Potential: Life Coaching”, where she helps clients create a life of fulfillment, joy, and free from the pain of unhealed trauma. She conducts one-on-one and group coaching sessions virtually as she feels that people who want her services are vulnerable and feel more at ease in their homes, keeping their anonymity and privacy intact. She leverages her dual background of being a therapist and life coach to not only help clients heal from residual trauma but also guide them in learning invaluable techniques to identify negative thoughts and strategize to challenge maladaptive behaviors.
A key approach that Jessica uses in her practice is through Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a recall-based therapy modality that helps people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) reduce the impact of traumatic memories on daily functioning. Jessica’s goal is to enable clients to confront their trauma or distressing life experiences and heal from there rather than feeling stuck. Jessica took her personal life experiences in her stride and did not let them bog her down. Her stories are her narrative; she owns them, and they are what have made her who she is today. She likes to call herself a “survivor” rather than a victim and has pulled herself out of terrible situations and made a mark for herself. She also understands the importance of compassion and patience, which she uses with her clients to make them feel comfortable and not lonely. Jessica believes in “turning pain into power”.
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs to Transform Lives
Jessica believes life should not be wasted on unhealthy relationships that add no value and living in pain and trauma brought about by intense emotions. She prides herself on her ability to make the client feel equal with her and not be just another therapist that they have approached to improve their lives. To facilitate the same, she offers out-of-session texting or email communication with her clients (which other similar services do not offer) to build an alliance of trust, compassion, and belief. “Believing in the process, believing in your therapist or coach, and believing in yourself are all pivotal to the process of healing and moving forward besides creating a meaningful relationship between the two entities,” says Jessica, who has helped many clients leave abusive relationships, heal from sexual abuse, break harmful cycles learned from childhood, and grieve the loss of a child.
It is not easy for trauma victims to share their experiences for obvious reasons, and Jessica ensures to create a safe space to encourage them to talk about them. Life coaches focus on remedying the issues at present and working forward, while therapists are trained to focus on the past. Jessica blends both as she feels the past is as important as the present to work for a better future. She gains her clients’ trust first as she understands the fragility of working with trauma. But she also calls a spade a spade and helps them see what’s working or not working for them to guide them effectively.
Turning Pain into Power
Jessica grew up with an amazing support system in her family but worked on her own healing by working with a therapist. She refused to let challenges bring her down, and although it was tough, she worked through the things that she necessarily did not have control over. “A lot of people get comfortable with being content and think it is good enough to get through life. Struggle with self-worth and self-deserving is real. But change is good, necessary, and rewarding. The self-preservation and resilience of working through something that you thought you would never get out of is fantastic. You are reborn, you are a new person, and it is a beautiful experience,” says Jessica.
As a therapist and life coach, Jessica helps transform self-destructive habits, heal, and restore relationships, and work through painful feelings by focusing on past traumas and concerns that inhibit people from leading better lives. She wants to be a force of change and help everyone “unleash their full potential”. For a long time, she considered herself a victim, and that is the story she told herself, but that was before she shifted her focus and life to move forward. Asking for help can be difficult, and Jessica wants to help people looking for that ray of hope in life. People are their greatest gifts, and she wants everyone to feed themselves what they want to give to the world.
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