Testimonies: Healing Experiences
Testimony from C.T.G( 23, Female)
I usually start with:
Hey my name is x,y and z.
But truthfully who is x,y and z?
Why, how, when, and where?
There were moments and even longer then a moment where I felt that way.
X,y, and z is just a young girl in her 20’s.
A young girl who’s been through life( the rough kind)
A young girl who’s put herself through life
(The self destructive kind)
Felt lost and lonely
(The sad kind)
Had nothing and lost hope
(The dead kind)
And saw the light
(The right kind)
I needed help for a long time.
I’ve been sent for help, and even sought for it on my own.
Just like many of you out there it didn’t help.
I just haven’t met the right Person, until I met Sambra.
(I finally met my person)
I was referred to her by my sister.
And truth be told I wasn’t exited about it.
I gathered any bit of strength and courage and started my journey.
From that day anytime I met someone in need, I felt like it’s unfair to keep Sambra from them.
I felt and still feel so lucky that god lead Sambra in to my life.
I started working with Sambra a while ago.
She took me in when I was all different kinds of me.
She held my hand when I was a mess.
She held my hand when I was strong
She held my hand when I felt like I lost my identity.
Sambra saw me. she felt me. Even when it was difficult to communicate.
For the first time in my life I had a safe place.
A safe place that was real and authentic.
There was so much I wanted to figure out and work on.
 But I needed guidance not just space.
I’m so thankful that I got the whole package.
Sambra knows when I need a push.
She also knows exactly when to be harsh.
She knows when I need a hug, and she knows when I need my space.
Even when I can’t put it in to words.
She just knows! Because she’s just that good!
My head can get complicated, but Sambra helps me make sense out of it.
That was me being specific, but there’s also some always.
Sambra is always kind and always patient.
And most of all she’s forever real.
I come from a religious background, and it takes a part in my package.
I wasn’t sure there would be room for that. I was wrong tho!
There’s so much room. For all of me and my story.
They say that people like us have to do self work for life.
I know how scary that sounds.
But today I can say with confidence that I believe!
I sought help and was given an opportunity to work with the most beautiful person who’s been guiding me through “LIFE DEPOT”
Helping me pick out the right tools and teaching me how to use them.
So that forever I can heal my beautiful broken heart and soul.
I’m lucky that I chose to make room for healing, and even more so thankful that Sambra is walking me through it.
I thank god I thank Sambra and I thank me...
A young woman who’s exited to create the rest of her story...
Testimony from L.B. (27 , Female)

Testimonial from: M.D.(35, female):"I met Sambra through pure luck and was told by another “she could cure me”. I laughed and told her that I was a lot to handle and had numerous relationship issues, conflicts in my family, depression, anxiety, low self esteem, among other things. I have been to many therapists throughout the years dating all the way back as a teenager. I could tell within a minute of meeting Sambra that she was different. I knew instantly she had a beautiful, giving, and kind soul.

Sambra had an approach to therapy that I was not familiar with but I was desperate for professional help. We then scheduled our first session. From the minute I walked in, I felt at ease with Sambra and felt like I was safe for once to be totally open and honest and would not be judged. Throughout numerous sessions, Sambra asked all the questions I had never wanted to deal with from my past which in turn helped me with my current situations. Throughout my sessions with Sambra, she was always gentle and kind. She never pushed me past anywhere that I was comfortable. I had never experienced “EMDR” therapy or “body work” therapy however I can now testify to anyone that would ever ask or want my opinion on the “EMDR” approach or “body work” approach, that it works. There were days that I would walk in crying immediately, and there were days that I felt happy and calm. She immediately knew how to guide my session so that I would always leave with peace and calmness within myself. She empowered me to have a voice.

In addition, through Sambra, I was able to have joint sessions with the people that I was having presenting issues with and to confront any problems head on. She was fantastic in validating others fears and concerns and my own fears and concerns and was excellent in facilitating those sessions. Those relationships are now healing and I honestly do not think they would be a year ago. I never thought I would say, that I would be in this happy peaceful place in my life without the help of Sambra.

As my husband told me on my way to see Sambra one morning “Please thank Sambra, I can really tell a difference in you as a person”. As my mom recently said “Sambra has really changed the way you respond to situations in the sense that you no longer respond or react out of fear or anger. I can really tell a difference in your maturity and recognizing situations”.

In conclusion, as I am sitting here typing this testimonial, happy tears are streaming down my face just knowing what a special person Sambra is and her extensive knowledge, experience, and her ability to really care and help her patients. I have tried to consolidate all of the success, knowledge, and tools she has given to me as a person; however sometimes there are never be enough words. I am so blessed that we happened to meet on that day, she has changed my life for the better and I will forever be grateful to her."

Testimonial from C.L.(40, female)
 I decided to join the "
Crossing the Jordan" recovery group for victims of childhood sexual trauma in order to figure out why I found it so difficult to develop close, intimate relationships with others. My abuse happened over 30 years ago and while I thought I was doing a fantastic job of forgetting about it, through this group I realized that I needed to actually do something with it, not ignore it.  For the first time, I was able to share the experiences with other survivors who had equally tragic and compelling stories.  Being in a group with complete disclosure and transparency made me feel so less "alone" and helped to create a community of caring and healing.  The shame that I had carried for so many years started to subside and I was able to look back at my little-girl self and see her with more compassion than I had ever been able to give myself for so long.  I realized that while there were many adults who failed to protect that little girl when she most desperately needed it, it was not too late for me to protect her while she learned and matured in her ability to make good, healthy relationship decisions.
>> The amount of growth that happened in just twelve weeks was both amazing and a bit terrifying.  Letting go of a lifetime of living with a faulty relationship filter and unhealthy expectations about relationships was daunting but we could see each other blossom and that made the hard work worthwhile.
>> Before this journey, I believe others saw me as a very in-control, confident high achiever.  That perception may still be there but the difference is that previously, I often simply acted the part so as to overcome my inner feelings of worthlessness and powerlessness. Those negative self-perceptions are fading.  One huge change I see is that I no longer feel like I must prove my competence to others by over-achieving or volunteering to take on tasks that others can complete.  I am mindfully focusing on my own needs and desires and feeling comfortable in my own skin.
>> The biggest growth I see is that before this group, I had never really discussed my experience with anyone.  It felt like a scarlet letter that meant I was stained and broken.  Being able to share with others has made me see it as a badge of courage and strength, a testimony to all I have overcome. I want to share all I have experienced and learned with others in the hopes of bringing healing to other survivors and preventing future victims.
>> “
Crossing the Jordan” authored and led by Sambra Zaoui is an amazing healing curriculum for women survivors of childhood sexual trauma. Set up as an intensive twelve week small group, members of the group are able to dig to the source of their individual damaged narratives, examine the devastating effects of those experiences and come out on the other side having re-written our narrative from a sense of power and confidence rather than weakness or fear.  I am forever thankful to Sambra for preparing and leading this difficult study and for the ladies of the group for being brave enough to do the hard work.

Testimonial from C.S(23, female)

When I came to Miami in the summer of 2015, to say that “I was a wreck” would be an understatement. I had an eating disorder, a shameful sexual history that I had never told anyone, unprecedented paranoia and anxiety levels, as well as anger and frustration against my own family. I couldn’t look anyone in the eye, had trust issues against the people that had shown me nothing but unconditional love, and had a low self-esteem that would have eventually been a threat to my life if Sambra hadn’t come into my life.

            I actually never expected someone like her to come into my life to help me begin to overcome my problems, but looking back, I can’t imagine anyone else. I was so relieved to know that she worked with young ladies with my type of issues, and ecstatic when I realized how similar our stories were. The fact that she put herself on an equal footing with me did two things: it allowed me to be more open and transparent with her, and it gave me the reassurance if she made it out the way she did, there was still hope for me.

            She helped me to become more honest, to communicate my feelings better, to let go of a traumatizing past, and to really give myself a second chance. Usually what happened before is that I would try to forget what had happened (and never facing it), try to open up but always shut myself up again, and would always try to be better and would always give up again. What Sambra allowed to happen through talking to her as well as the mind-body work, the impossible happened: I was able to let go and really have a fresh start.

            Yes, my history is shameful, but I have accepted it and maybe even love it, because it has led to the transformation I am seeing today. I have overcome my binge eating, and have lost twenty pounds on my own, for the first time. For the first time in a year or so, education has become a priority and I have returned to becoming an “A” student. I am communicating with my family and with others in a transparent way for the first time. My anxiety is practically gone, and I am actually at peace. There are still things that need to be done, but for the first time in years, I am at peace. And I could not have done this without the guidance and counseling of Sambra Zaoui.

Testimonial from K.L.(25, female)

My name is K. L., and I am a 25 year old survivor of incest and childhood sexual abuse. My father led a small religious sex cult in the early 1990’s. He constructed a prayer closet in the basement of our Georgia home, and in that small, dark chamber draped on all sides by red velvet curtains, many heinous crimes occurred. His perversion extended beyond me, as my mother was forced to move into the guest bedroom while he invited other women to live and sleep in their bed.  Luckily my mother escaped the cult, bringing only my sister and I, important documents, and other necessities like clothing and blankets out of that hell and into the glorious safe haven which Florida will always represent for me. My father murdered me in many ways. My sense of self, spirituality, sexuality, sense of trust, stability, identity, and relationships with men, all suffered incredible repercussions.  I endured so many bodily malfunctions and anxieties in early childhood which left doctors not only confused, but paved the grounds for the infamous diagnosis of “hypochondriac”. I couldn’t explain to medical professionals how much my body in fact afflicted me. Toilets, showers, swimming pools, closets, hallways, and many other seemingly bizarre settings all stirred up intense and maddening fear. I could not urinate for distress of my intestines falling out, which most children in early elementary school should not fear. And now, I have learned that by avoiding those emotions, I only transferred the stress into a physical realm of feeling, which thus resulted in hyper arousal. 

I always possessed some vague awareness that I was different, that I was shameful, that I did not deserve love or affection, because for the last 20 years of living prior to meeting Sambra Zaoui on a weekly basis, my mental reserves were exhausted on constant internal conflict, in which I fought tirelessly against the ever-alluring prospects of suicide. I believed that people who looked, acted, or seemed “happy”, were simply feigning this disposition so as to avoid their own turmoil. I couldn’t comprehend how I felt so much and nobody around me seemed to feel anything.

I see now that the word “survivor” is far more fitting than “victim”, because prior to working with Sambra, the effects of childhood sexual trauma wreaked so much havoc on my emotional state, that the allure of committing suicide, and then resisting those temptations, reigned supreme in my internal dialogue. This repetitive encouragement to self-destruct only deepened my pervading sense of isolation, dissociation, and loneliness as I knew that I could never share the reality of my thoughts with others. I made every conscious effort to avoid myself. I just knew that people around me had no idea how much I was hurting, and even if they had, I was convinced that my death would relieve them of some sort of burden. Every single day I struggled to exist, even the most menial tasks like showering or maintaining basic hygiene presented immense difficulties for me, as they (unbeknownst to me), often triggered implicit memory responses. Surviving oneself through so much profound self-loathing takes incredible determination. I realize that I was, and still am, a survivor.  The overwhelming floodgate of misery caused by sexual trauma cannot even compare to just how integral the act betrays against one’s identity in society,  family, friendships, jobs, school, relationships, members of the opposite sex, etc.  Trauma takes its own identity, often overpowering the real person who you are and who you are capable of becoming. I spent 20 years surviving crippling shame, resisting all the violent fantasies and punishments I believed I deserved.

From early on in life, my physical existence simply served as a reminder of what I had to deal with, rather than what I had to work with—and through body work with Sambra Zaoui, I have physically come to understand that my body is not a source of shame at all, but my perpetrator is. Separating these two identities which were so deeply engrained in my soul would not have been possible without body work. Sambra has shared her knowledge so generously with me. She has guided me through this painful, yet ever-rewarding transition toward light and healing.  Body work has opened new channels for me, shed so much insight on my behavior, and allowed me to finally relate and connect with others, which also aided in healing the wounds of debilitating isolation.  By learning to separate myself from that harrowing, yet familiar darkness of alienation, I learned that hypochondria and somatic illness were not my body turning against me, but the abuse manifesting in physical forms-- which is precisely what body work targets, and is such a poignant piece of healing from sexual trauma. Often what we are ashamed to communicate verbally, body work resolves. Learning to identify pains and perceived ailments as implicit physical memories takes tremendous courage and trust, for both healer and client. Sambra guided me by returning to the core of the issue, and as horrible as revisiting those scenes were, I can now talk about the trauma as an event in my past and not as a shameful secret that hinders my full potential. I believe that without Sambra’s understanding and dedication, in combination with her strong intuitive powers,  I may not have lasted much longer. She awakened awareness in me. She diligently helped me break old and harmful psychological patterns such as dissociation, depersonalization, hyper arousal, and many others just to name a few. We integrated my inner child that I despised, yet comprised so much of my identity, by introducing and familiarizing her to the woman that I am today. Until our therapy, I was so disconnected that I was often described as “spacey”, though I suppose no one had realized the context of such detachment. I was surviving. Sambra did not back away from this challenge, and I know that it has not been easy for either of us, but it has changed my entire life. I can state with absolute certainty that Sambra Zaoui has not only taught me the necessary tools for survival, but enabled me to appreciate my own beauty and strength. She has revealed a new vision to me, one that is powerful and empathetic, courageous and intuitive, loving and beautiful-- no longer withered, defeated, or afraid. She has taught me how to cherish myself. I now feel motivated to nurture my mind, body, and soul because I am a child of God before I was ever a child of my perpetrator.  And more importantly, I am a woman.  The little self within who cried and struggled for decades, has finally stopped robbing me of joy. Sambra has seen my potential and encouraged it to grow, advised me to share my own insight with other survivors, because you never know how instrumental your own healing can be for another’s journey. She has shared pearls of wisdom that I will carry on forever, and for this I am eternally grateful.

Testimonial from N.H.( a mom's perspective)

As we go through life we experience stress, pressures, deal with health issues, (whether our own or a loved one) suffer trauma and even traumatic loss. My daughter felt all of these while going through the difficulties of adolescence. She must've felt she had no one to turn to and had begun self harming. As a mother I knew right away that I alone did not have the tools to deal with what was obviously beyond teenage drama. Of course, she wasn't open right away to meeting with a trained specialist and was even less receptive after meeting with the first specialist didn't go well. Upon her first meeting with Sambra Zaoui, however, she felt at ease and open.

Ms. Zaoui helped point out the important issues: she heard things and understood patterns that as a mother I did not hear or see, therefore immediately reducing some of the stress. She aided my daughter in developing strategies and techniques to resolve and process intrusive thoughts that led to negative behaviors. My daughter is stronger and more confident today thanks to the time she had with Ms. Zaoui.

Testimonial from L.Z. (26, female)

My first impression on the first day I met Sambra for therapy was that she had a very warm, welcoming, safe energy.   I instantly felt at ease knowing that she would be someone that I could trust with my story.  Now, this is coming from a young woman who had shared her story with the wrong, (definitely untrained) people in the past (friends, some family members) and learned to become very guarded after being burned by them.  That was not the case with Sambra.  She proved to me to be very understanding, trained, and educated on sex trafficking.  I think each session I had with her gave me a new insight and meaning to my experience that I would have not otherwise gained so quickly.   It was refreshing sharing with someone who could actually challenge my self image to become a healthier one, too.  She was and is genuinely interested in my personal growth, development, and now faith.  I'd say she brought me to a point where I could transcend my experience and grow from it.   I couldn't have asked for a better therapist.