Gabrielle Union Explains Why Therapy Is So Important

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Gabrielle Union's new memoir We're Going To Need More Wine is a candid look at some of her most personal struggles, namely a rape that occurred when she was 19 and the physical and emotional toll of fertility problems. In a new interview with The New York Times, Union explains that the book came about after years of therapy.

Although Union is a proponent of traditional therapy and counseling, she also emphasizes that day-to-day self care is therapeutic in itself.

"There’s a valve at the bottom of my canister where I can let things out in a healthy productive way," Union told the outlet. "Like Skype sessions with my therapist, with friends, silence, sitting out in nature, time with the kids, with my dogs. Watching This Is Us — that has been quite therapeutic."

Healthy coping mechanisms, like the ones mentioned by Union, are recommended as a key component of treatment for any mental health issue. Hard work takes place inside a therapist's office, but recovery from illnesses like PTSD (which Union has struggled with for years) involves actively using coping strategies like the ones she mentions.

The actress was also candid about how the recent flood of sexual assault allegations in Hollywood and beyond has affected her. Union, whose rapist was sentenced to 33 years in prison as part of a plea deal, spoke out about sexual assault long before Tarana Burke's #MeToo movement turned into a national dialogue. As she told The New York Times, Union's "post-traumatic stress syndrome from the rape," kicked in immediately when she saw the hashtag trending.

"I saw #MeToo and my arm went numb," Union said on Good Morning America in October. "I thought it was all about me and when I realized literally hundreds of thousands of people, men and women, [were] talking about being a part of this unfortunate club...it just rips your heart out."

During her book tour, Union herself provided a therapy of sorts to the women and men who waited in line for hours and shared their own stories of sexual violence with her. She told The New York Times that some of the accounts were so terrible they'd never even be written into fictional narratives, and she sobbed in her hotel room after signings. Therapy is unaffordable for millions of people, so Union's comfort probably meant the world to many.

It's not surprising that, between the constant news of new sexual violence claims and the release of her book, Union is focused on maintaining her mental health. From conventional therapy to quiet time in nature, her message is so important: We all need and deserve to prioritize self-care.

If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

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