It is important now more than ever to embrace and celebrate what connects us: our resilience. This month, we’re shining a spotlight on Gaby Molden-Carlwell, MSW LSW, Resilience Austin Trauma Therapist.
Read our interview with Gaby below.
What inspired or motivated you to work in trauma therapy and with survivors?
What motivated me to work with survivors is the fact that: one, I am a survivor, and two, I’ve seen so many survivors in my community and in my family, and unfortunately we didn’t always have the access to resources and people to help. So I’ve always said, okay, I’m going to help. When I went to school, that was my intention, to go into social work so I can help people. So this was just like icing on the cake really because I never dreamed of a job like this before. I’m grateful to have it.
You’re an Austin Trauma Therapist, and Resilience has been serving survivors in the Austin community for nearly 20 years. Can you speak about the importance of serving clients and providing services in this community?
This is a community that is vibrant and full of culture of all sorts but is very vulnerable. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always have the trust in other facilities or the accessibility to other facilities. I love the fact that Resilience wants somebody who knows the community to work in the community, who can relate to the community and come up with ideas to bring people in so people know that we’re here to help because it is a need. There’s a lot of generational cycles of trauma of all sorts—not just sexual violence but violence in general, and the healing has to start somewhere for the next generation. It’s very important to have somebody who knows the community who can reach out, who has resources within the community that can also help, and is an additional resource.
From your lens, what is the impact of this work in the Austin community, and how is Resilience making a difference?
This is essential. It’s healing the community one client at a time, one group at a time. Knowing that this is right in the heart of the community and it’s accessible and free for those who may not have insurance or money to do a sliding scale is very, very significant. Once we are back in person, I feel like that’s going to be the highlight of everything because I know we’re seeing people everywhere right now, but I feel like once they know that we’re still here and we’re helping it’s going to take off like a rocket. I can’t wait.
As someone who’s working very directly and closely with survivors, is there one thing you wish everyone knew about sexual violence?
Sexual violence doesn’t end once you’ve survived. The trauma, the fear, the questioning, the shame, the guilt—it can carry on, a month, two years, 15 years after. Someone who survived may appear to be okay physically but emotionally, that trauma “bone” is hard to heal and it’s a never-ending journey. I would say if you’ve ever encountered someone or have a family member who’s survived an assault, be patient with them because the healing journey is very, very rocky. There are lots and lots of highs and lows, so just be patient and empathize to the best of your abilities.
What is something you and the Trauma Therapy team are looking forward to in the next year?
We’re excited about our interns. We have a really, really great group who is excited to learn and eager to jump in with groups and individual sessions. We love someone eager who wants to help the community. I’m working with an alternative program right now and trying to start a support group for them virtually. We have tons and tons of great workshops that are coming out, especially during the holiday season, which is really important because that can be a hard time for most people, especially survivors. We have so many great things coming up: I don’t think I could list them all!
What’s one fun fact about you?
One fun fact about me is I am a movie buff and I’m a reality TV junkie.
What do you want people to know that you haven’t been asked about?
Right now we are at the end of Domestic Violence Awareness Month (October), and I don’t think people realize how closely sexual assault and domestic violence mirror one another. But it’s important to reach out, support, and be an advocate for survivors, even if you don’t understand their plight. Know that unity is what’s going to help heal the community, whether it’s in Austin or downtown, or the suburbs. So try to do your part and help to the best of your abilities, even if it’s just donating or giving somebody a hug. Every little bit counts.