While I was still in the M.A. Counseling program at Franciscan University of Steubenville, I was barely surviving. I was in counseling and had been for the previous 16 years and to no avail. I had been misdiagnosed and that left my PTSD symptoms unaddressed. I was to the point where I did not feel that in good conscience I could become a counselor, because I did not believe it worked. I was profoundly anxious and simply did not feel I could go on like this any longer. I thought I had tried everything.

Finally, I went through trauma treatment according to the ITR model in the intensive format in which it was designed to be used. At the end of treatment I knew that something radical had been accomplished and that I had been equipped with the tools I needed to make those changes lasting and the growth ever-increasing. I knew that I could become a therapist and could not imagine practicing anything other than this profoundly effective method, so that those who were suffering as I had could find a way out, as well.

But, the truth is that this method did not just help me. As I was still a student doing practicum, I saw those going through this treatment benefiting in much the same way that I had. At that point, I was sold. What I had always feared was that treatment did not work for me, but perhaps it worked for everyone else. Perhaps it didn’t work for me because there was something wrong with me. When I saw the benefit experienced by a wide array of people of different ages and with varying traumas, I knew that this was truly solid and not just a benefit I had experienced by chance.

It is because of this that we can with conviction and confidence tell you that there is hope and there is healing for you. Peace is not just something for others to experience. You are worth it.

Margaret Mary Vasquez, MA, LPCC, CTT, CITTI

Margaret is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in the state of Ohio, Certified Trauma Therapist, and Certified Intensive Trauma Therapy Instructor. A native of Brunswick, GA, she earned her Master of Arts in Counseling from Franciscan University of Steubenville in OH. She was recognized by Stark County Mental Health Board for outstanding work in the field of trauma. She founded and directed Thrive Trauma Recovery before partnering with Christian Children’s Home of Ohio to bring the Thrive program to its family of ministries.

WATCH: Personal Perspective

Thrive Director Margaret Vasquez speaks about the hope and freedom that she found on the other side of severe anxiety, homelessness and suicidal depression. Her inspiring personal story shows that trauma symptoms don’t have to be a death sentence, and that peace is not just something for others to experience.