* It will run twice a month - the 2nd & 4th Wednesday's of the month
*It will become a closed support group for 6 session blocks
Time: 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm
Next Intake: dates TBA Feb 2017
Venue: Harte Felt Centre - Level 1, 16A Toorak Rd South Yarra
People who have had a traumatic or life threatening event or who have experienced a threat to their integrity (physical, sexual, psychological) can be left feeling isolated and overwhelmed with a range of unprocessed emotions, often accompanied by flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, heightened anxiety, sleep problems, depression and more. Traumatic experiences may include a major car accident, assault, war, childhood trauma/abuse, sexual abuse/assault, death of a family member, surviving a bushfire or having been a victim of crime, etc. Trauma can threaten our core beliefs, prevent us from continuing with aspects of our daily lives and enjoyment of our world, and may also impact intimate and family relationships.
However despite the pain and distress, many people also report great psychological and spiritual growth, and other positive outcomes from the recovery journey. 'Posttraumatic Growth' is defined as the experience of positive psychological changes that occur after a trauma and the ensuing struggle to come to terms with the event (Dekel, Mandl & Solomon, 2011). These psychological changes can include the perception of improved interpersonal relationships, enhanced personal strength, new possibilities, spiritual growth and an increased appreciation of life (Tedeschi & Calhoun, 2004).
Social support is just one of the many benefits of attending a support group. This structured support group can provide people with a safe comfortable place to connect with others in an authentic way who have similar experiences and feel validated and ‘normal,’ share mutual support and understanding, strategies for recovery and encouragement along the journey. Group members can communicate their needs and feelings, enhance social networks, gain perspective and hope from others, increase empowerment and motivation, and learn and grow together.
This support group will only be open to new members at the beginning of each 6 week block to create deeper safety and trust within the group, and will have an emotional focused, creative, experiential approach also exploring the concept of post traumatic growth. Please note that this group follows a self-help support model and is not a treatment or therapy group.
There will be a focus on emotional safety and interactive self help workshops to explore and process emotions and thoughts left as a result of trauma. Previous guest presenters include Professor Glen Bates, (Clinical Psychologist and Deputy Dean at Swinburne University) who presented on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Traumatic Growth; and Amanda Scott, (art therapist/experienced facilitator currently running workshops and camps supporting young people in child protection), who facilitated an interactive experiential process of mandala making - art can offer a powerful non-verbal processing of painful emotions and experiences, making the invisible, visible, whilst also being soothing, relaxing, and self esteem enhancing (No artistic talent required). Ideally one guest speaker or workshop facilitator is scheduled per 6 week block. At times scheduling conflicts may preclude the booking of an external speaker or facilitator - Please contact the office on 9830 0533 to confirm this block’s speaker.
What is the structure of the group?
The group is structured in two 40-minute parts with a 10-minute break. Generally the first half of the group is dedicated to sharing experiences and, if desired from sharers, feedback from group members – how they themselves were able to navigate such experiences in the past.
The second half of the group generally involves an activity conducted by the group facilitators. These include activities and experiential exercises around topics of self-care, mindfulness, available treatments or post-traumatic growth.
What can I expect of sharing?
The nature and content of sharing depends on member’s experiences at the time. These experiences vary widely and do not always revolve around symptoms of trauma. Sharing discussions can include how we experience challenges and how we have overcome them, including topics around intimate relationships, friendships, assertiveness, isolation, mood difficulties and trauma symptoms.
In order to maintain the safety of the group, we ask that apart from naming the type of trauma you have experienced, no explicit details of the trauma be shared within the group, as these can be traumatising to the sharer and may vicariously trigger painful reactions for group members.
What to expect in the first group:
The aim of the first meeting is to create a safe space where group members can take the time to get to know each other and build trust. This can be an emotionally charged experience for first time members. As such, the topics of sharing centre around what people hope to gain from this group, as well as their own interests and suggestions for group activities, with a view to start sharing and feedback of individual experiences in the second meeting. The co-facilitators will also share and discuss available group activities for this cycle. Members will also have the opportunity to rank these activities in order of interest, and co-facilitators will schedule in the most preferred activities for the remainder of the cycle.
We understand that this is the time where members can really get a sense for how the group will run, what’s on offer, and whether it is the right fit for them given their current circumstances. At this stage, if you feel the group is not the right fit for you, we are happy to refund your participation fee.