CHICAGO—Encouraging her patient to really explore the various annoyances of workplace culture, therapist Dr. Brittany Mendoza, who wrote her doctoral thesis on the long-term effects of trauma on survivors of sex trafficking and has worked with survivors for over a decade, spent almost an hour Wednesday urging client Max Palin to elaborate on how his boss can sometimes be “too curt.” “Your account of this interaction is rather interesting, Max. Would you mind telling me a little more about your feelings when you read your boss’s overly critical emails?” asked Mendoza, whose professional life for years was concerned with the mental health of shell-shocked women who had been enslaved to the Belarusian mob for decades, as she called on her extensive firsthand experience with psychosexual trauma to assist Palin in finding the inner resources to cope with his boss making condescending remarks and failing to notice his hard work. “So, you’re saying his tone is bad? That can be really tough. It’s very, very hard when people are passive-aggressive in a professional environment.” Mendoza recommended Palin try a stress-reducing breathing technique first developed to abate night terrors in the children who survived the Rwandan genocide.
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