The surgical technologist revealed past traumas and how therapy has played a role in her journey to healing, on an episode of The Squeeze
Natalie Joy is revealing how therapy has assisted her in working through childhood trauma.
In a new episode of The Squeeze, the surgical technologist joined her fiancé Nick Viall, and hosts Taylor Lautner and his wife Tay Lautner for a vulnerable discussion on her past and the importance of therapy in her life.
As Joy explained during the conversation, she had only recently started therapy, and she is finding it to be immensely valuable to help her overcome parts of her history she hadn't been able to deal with until now.
Previously, she said, she had been putting anything she didn't want to confront into a "box" and pretending it never happened, and though she knew it wasn't healthy, "if I didn't go about it that way — trigger warning — I think I probably would've taken my life," she said.
But then "all of these past traumas resurfaced all at once," she said — including that she was raped at 10 years old. She had tried to discuss it in therapy before, but found it to be too difficult to pursue.
"When I told that therapist this, she was like, 'Well, why do you think he chose you? Why do you think of all the kids he picked you?' " she recalled of that first attempt to discuss it in therapy. "And I was like, 'I don't know' and it terrified me and I was like, 'I don't ever wanna talk to anyone about this ever again.'"
"So now I think, having all this stuff resurface — and it all slap me in the face — which I guess I always knew at some point it would," she said, "I was like, 'I know compartmentalizing and telling myself it's a lie and it never happened — I know this isn't healthy and I know I shouldn't do this but I'm surviving.'"
"But now I'm in a place where I'm able to look at everything that's happened to me, accept it for what it is and acknowledge that I survived and I'm OK," she continued. She gave a look into her experience with eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy (EMDR) and encouraged listeners to journal or seek other means of coping.
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Viall also spoke on his own therapy journey, revealing that he began seeing a therapist in the pandemic, and that the pair started couples therapy around the same time.
"With the things I talk about on my show, mental health, advocating for therapy — I do struggle with anxiety, so I was like, 'Why am I not in it?' It's been really helpful for me," he said.
"It's really and truly been a blessing," Viall added of attending therapy together. "For us, I think, every time we leave, there's like a high. We feel more connected. And I think that's been the biggest benefit for us ... it's one of those things I'm glad we did, because for all the people I talk to in relationships — people wait until you require reconstructive surgery, rather than, therapy's best served when it's used as a safety belt and bicycle helmet."
Viall and Joy now use more "we" and "us" language in conversation, hold hands more frequently and even operate now with the ultimate goal of "staying connected" as a couple, he revealed.
The pair got engaged back in January, and announced the news in a joint Instagram post after Viall proposed to Joy with a custom engagement ring from Brilliant Earth. Viall and Joy were first linked in 2020, but they didn't start sharing their relationship publicly until 2021. At the time, a source told PEOPLE that "she's great for him."
"For the rest of my life, it's you," Viall wrote in the caption of his IG post, which featured a handful of photos from the couple's engagement.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to rainn.org.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.
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